Archive for the Articles Category

Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern

Posted in 260MC, 261MC, Articles, Photographs with tags , , on November 25, 2010 by Mick Le Mare


I had some spare time in London on Monday after the Russell Tribunal Press conference so I decided to take the opportunity to see a few exhibitions. Ever since the Ai Weiwei opened I have been longing to visit but ever so sadly I was left hugely disappointed. Having watched BBC’s Imagine on the artist I was already prepared for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to touch or interact with the work because of the porcelain dust fears but I still thought the piece may have some impact.

Unfortunately a piece of art that from the very start was always intended to be interactive can never work when the interactivity is taken away, you cannot get near the seeds so unfortunately the floor of the Turbine hall ends up looking like it’s covered in gravel. I envy hugely the people who were able to take part in scenes such as these:

Every seed was individually hand painted by the women of a village near Beijing and each is absolutely beautiful, photographs such as this one show the gorgeous juxtaposition between the delicately hand crafted seeds and the powerful steel girders;

It is always nice to visit the Tate, I only wish my most recent visit could have been earlier in the month!

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The demise of the Quality Newspaper

Posted in 260MC, 261MC, Articles with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

We have been asked to pick an issue or debate that we feel strongly about. I have read so many articles in Newspapers and on the internet in the last few months about the demise of the quality printed press that I feel really moved to choose this as a subject for my next piece of work.

I read today in this article on the BBC that sales have fallen yet again and The Guardian, The Times and The Daily telegraph all suffered a drop in circulation of over 10% this past year. I find it so depressing that the newspaper as we know it is in decline. The tabloid papers, that are much cheaper, are in a lot less trouble, they sell millions of copies and although sales are dipping slightly they show no sign of being overly concerned. The high quality, well respected broadsheets however are struggling to stay afloat.

As you will read in the article I linked to above The Independent are being particularly innovative in their fight, releasing a 20p edition and considering a move to being a free paper, whilst I am all for it taking the moves it can to stay afloat I can’t help but feel that it may lose quality. The other broadsheets appear to be sticking to their guns for now whilst developing their internet provision for news and cultural commentary using devices such as iPads to push their online material. It is, of course, fantastic that material from the same writers is available but there really is nothing like holding a freshly pressed newspaper, this is the topic I would like to explore, reflect on and hopefully make something worthwhile about.

Interview with my Granddad

Posted in 260MC, 261MC, Articles with tags , , on October 24, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

We were set the task this week of interviewing someone on the topic of inequality. I wasn’t able to make the filming that my group did so I decided to take an excellent opportunity this weekend. My Granddad, a Professor of African Literature and a Second World War veteran was visiting my home in Bristol from Italy where he lives. He has led an extremely interesting life, fighting in the War, graduating from Cambridge and living and working in Nigeria, Uganda and Hong Kong to name but a few.

I decided to take a camera home with me and ask if he minded being filmed whilst talking about his life. He was only too pleased to help so I set up the camera, poured him a glass of wine and set the tape rolling. He talked for over half an hour about his life and in particular the War, it was so fascinating.

There are some issues with the filming I am unhappy with but I shall learn from the mistakes. I am not totally happy with the framing of the shots, sometimes I am too far away, sometimes too close although I am happy with the focus. The lighting isn’t totally right, it looks a little over exposed and the colour a bit washed out but I have taken notes on the settings I applied and am currently reading up on making sure lighting is correct. I knew the sound wouldn’t be perfect because I didn’t use a particularly good microphone but overall I am happy with that (apart from when the house phone rings…stupid mistake!). I am also annoyed about my positioning, I framed the shot so my Granddad would be to the left of shot and then proceeded to sit to the left of the camera, this makes it look a little strange. If I had sat on the right and he spoke across the shot I am sure it would have looked much better.

The clip below is just a few seconds from the half an hour talk we had so you can get a flavour of the work I have done and understand my frustrations with the errors made.

Street Art at the Herbert Gallery

Posted in 260MC, 261MC, Articles with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

Today I visited the Street Art exhibition at the Herbert Gallery for the second time. I find myself caught between two stalls when it comes to street art, most of it leaves me cold but when I see some that I like it tends to really inspire me and I grow to love it, this is one of my favourite pieces of all time –

I am from Bristol which is known to be a key city in the street art movement and is of course the home town of Banksy. I am surrounded by street art when I am in Bristol and much of it is protected by the council due to the importance it has in the city’s culture and recent history. Although the art, much of which is anti-esablishment, was meant to be rebellious, was meant to make a stand, was intended to be temporary and was created outside of the law it has now been given an accepted place in society. This brings me on to street art in galleries such as the Herbert. For the last four or five years street art has been finding its way into huge auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Bonhams, especially the likes of Banksy, Blek Le Rat, MBW, and D*Face, and all of these artists have held exhibitions at prestigious London galleries and around the world.

Should galleries like the Herbert be showcasing street art? Well I actually argue whether the art displayed there is even street art at all. All the works are either screen prints or originals on canvas in the same way you would find more conventional art work. This I think renders street art an artistic style rather than an artform practised on the street. Miro’s famous sculptures on Las Ramblas and in New York and Anish Kapoors dramatic works in Chicago are all art on the street in an Urban environment but have never been referred to as ‘street art’.

Anish Kapoor, Chicago


Joan Miro, New York


Joan Miro, Las Ramblas


Anish Kapoor, Chicago

I therefore feel that street art as a style is totally worth its place in galleries and auction houses and artists who work to that end should not be damned for creating work for spaces such as that.

Banksy creates Simpsons title sequence

Posted in Articles, Films with tags , , , , , on October 12, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

World famous street artist Banksy, who I have written about many times on this blog, has made his own title sequence for The Simpsons.

What is extraordinary about the piece is the fact it will actually be broadcast as part of a Simpsons episode. As ever with Banksy this piece of work has caused lots of controversy, the depiction of a South Korean sweatshop producing Simpsons merchandise and animation cells being the key issue. The work is said inspired by reports that the animation studio for The Simpsons has been outsourcing some of the animation leg-work to South Korea. On agreeing to show the sequence before the episode called MoneyBart the producers came under intense pressure from broadcast standards officials and their own animation department, who threatened a walkout. Having overcome these problems the episode aired in the US on Sunday and will appear in the UK.

In the last few years especially Banksy has branched out his work to include stunts such as this latest piece, making a film and taking over Bristol Museum. I am currently working on a project about street art and its place in society. Banksy is such an interesting case study, his work has moved from the back streets of Bedminster to the very biggest of international stages, does this mean he is no longer a street artist? Does it mean he should be shunned by the urban art world? Or does it mean he has brought exposure and great worth to a fantastic artform? I shall be answering these questions over the next fortnight in my work, all of which will be posted on here.

In the meantime check out the Banksy episode of the Simpsons which will be broadcast on The 21st October.

Coventry Conversation: Nick Owen

Posted in Articles, Coventry Conversations with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

Today I attended my first of the New season of Coventry Conversations. For those of you unaware of Coventry Conversations they are a series of guest lectures given at Coventry University, many exciting people come in to talk and pass on thier experiences and knowledge.

This week Nick Owen, the number 1 presenter on Midlands Today came in to talk mainly about his career but also to comment and reflect on the changes that have happened and are going to happen in the television industry.

It was fascinating listening to Mr Owen talk about the peaks of his career. As it was before my time I was unaware before I heard from the man himself that he had hosted the 1988 Olympics for ITV and Italia ’90 for the same channel. It was particularly interesting listening to him talking about the skills needed to perform such a job. During last academic year I was part of a group of students who produced an ‘as live’ television show and have since been fascinated by the adaptability and speed of thought required by presenters of live shows especially. Mr Owen spoke about the need to be affable and relaxed on the outside whilst listening to the endless stream of information from the gallery being fed to him via his earpiece.

On the subject of coming across in the right way to his viewers he talked about the techniques he uses to detach himself from the fact he is talking to millions and millions of people. The one that sticks in the mind is his trick of always imagining he is talking to his friend. A personable and approachable persona is so important to a presenter, people become so familiar with your face, your mannerisms and your on screen personality that you have a responsibility to be consistent. As a presenter you can’t have a grumpy day or appear different to usual, this must be hard.

I really enjoyed Nick Owen’s talk. Later this week Paul Abbot, the writer of Shameless, will be talking about the success of Shameless and about it’s future American debut.

Banksy Film London Premiere

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by Mick Le Mare

As you will have previously seen on here Banksy premiered his new film Exit Through The Gift Shop at Sundance Festival in Utah. The film has now come home and will be screened in London and Bristol before going nationwide shortly after.

Banksy has used the same tunnel that he infamously created into the worlds biggest graffiti festival two summers ago and transformed it into a 150 seat outdoor urban cinema with graffitied red carpet, some Banksy installations (including a couple from his huge summer exhibition in Bristol) and a battered old ice cream van for a bar. I am going to the Bristol screening at the Watershed on the weekend and I absolutely cannot wait.

Here is an article from prolific Banksy bloggers banksyprints.com and a few photos from their site.