This is the latest episode of Round the Counter, in which John, Scott and myself talk about the role of the documentary maker.
The Art Exchange in Nottingham are showing two excellent exhibitions this weekend. The first is Fighting Walls – Street Art in Egypt and Iran, which explores how urban art is used to challenge the perceptions of the people of these authoritarian cities. “Tehran and Cairo are largely dominated by state ideological narratives,” though in recent years “a new generation of politically engaged graffiti artists have started a relentless battle for reclaiming ownership of the street.”
The images are striking and provoking, both in the context of the streets that they have been painted, but also in the context of the gallery space, where they are shown simply as photographic prints that are pasted to the concrete walls of the exhibition room, taking away that feeling of separation that normally accompanies art-works on a gallery wall.
The second exhibition is the work of Jimmy Cauty, and consists of a full-size storage container that is fitted with peep-holes, enabling the visitor to find out what is inside. The Aftermath Dislocation Principle consists of a post-riot scene in which police officers in fluorescent jackets are the only remaining people. The views that the peep-holes give us are selective views of a model that represents an urban British cityscape in the midst of civil unrest and a violent meltdown.
The views that the peep-holes give us are selective views of a model that represents an urban British cityscape in the midst of civil unrest and a violent meltdown. The riot has moved on, and its effects are felt and recorded in the miniature scenes being played out.
It’s an interesting dynamic between the two sets of work. On the one hand, the street art depicts a series of provocative interventions into a reality that is defined in stone and concrete walls, while on the other hand, The Aftermath depicts only the traces of the riot and its signs, showing only the traces of the act and not the act itself.
Both works are literally fascinating as they test the viewer to accommodate the shifts and changes in perception that they represent. Jimmy Cauty gave a talk about the origins of the piece and how the process of collaboration has been incorporated into its production.
Both are invigorating, catch them when you can.
This is a short overview of the topics to be covered in the fifth lecture for TECH3022 Advanced Social Media Production.
It’s been an interesting week overall. After getting back from the Community Media Association conference on Saturday I had a nice lazy day at home on Sunday. It’s always good to take it easy and chill out before the working week starts on Monday. As I hadn’t been able to go for a run on Saturday due to the rain in Birmingham, I went for a run around Braunstone Park and was surprised by my pace. I can’t pin it down to the beer I drank on Saturday night, but a run s a good way to get through a mild hangover.
Monday was a working day, my aim for the week was to research and write two exams. One for TECH1002 Social Media & Technology, and the other for TECH3022 Advanced Social Media production. I always try and block-book some time before term starts so that I can get my exams written. The benefit is that I don’t have to panic later in the autumn to meet the deadlines, and I then have a template and a set of notes that I can use for teaching.
An exam is a good route-map for learners reading, as it focusses attention on the specific chapters that I’ve based the questions around. I think its still really important that we use exams as a way of testing comprehension and understanding of the issues that we will be discussing in the modules. I try to pitch the exams to my students as being similar to sitting and writing a letter to a friend about something that they are interested in.
The challenge is to encourage learners to be reading the books on the reading list early on. I’ve set four main books, and the exam questions are based around all four books. Any head-start that learners can secure before the start of the year, and then get the reading done early, will give them a major advantage. And you never know that they might find them interesting as well. Follow the links above if you want to look at the reading lists. A little tip – the reading suggestions with [E] are what the exam questions are based on.
On Monday evening it was the Podcast Club at the Coffee Counter on Bowling Green Street in Leicester. I’m experimenting with a regular, weekly podcast to try and find a more social way of developing content that is interesting to discuss between a small group of people. There is no great plan or expectation about it, just a bit of informal chat and some random music. The idea is to meet each week and to talk about how it is we are social these days, especially when we have so much access to social media.
Talking of which, on Thursday I went to the latest Bike Lounge, which is a social occasion for people who are interested in all things cycling. This week the guest speaker was Mike from Bone-Shaker Magazine, who talked about how the magazine started and what topics they cover. It was really cool to hear about the Bristol vibe that gave birth to the magazine, and how it has grown into something of a publishing phenomenon.
Bike Lounge takes place at 96 Degrees Cafe on Braunstone Gate in Leicester. My only wish is that they are open in the evening more often, as it was really nice to sit in a cafe for the evening and just socialise. I’m looking forward to the next event that Dave Weight organises, perhaps we can record it as a podcast and share it with people wider afield as well.
On Wednesday I went to an address by the DMU Vice Chancellor, which took place in the new Art & Design building. It’s pretty impressive inside, and with a cracking view of the Queens Building, which has gained a new lease of life by being cleaned-up and opened-up. I might be looking out for a niche in the new building to sit and work rather than sitting in the office!
So I got to Friday and achieved my goal of writing my exams, so I took a break on Friday evening and just watched a movie. Then this morning I’ve been into BBC Leicester to do the newspaper review. Luckily I’m an early-bird, so I went for a run at 6am and got to BBC Leicester for 8am to read the papers. Now I can relax and drink coffee because I’ve not got anything else planned for the day. Hurray!!