Sunday, January 31, 2016

Memento Mori and Bedlam

It was a fairly quiet week at work as I was assessing student submissions for their mount-making module and meeting with our External Examiner for the first time, the rather excellent Tim Carson, AKA Timothy Information Ltd. In addition to genuinely useful ideas about taking the course forward, we discussed Crass (band), the violin playing talents of Felieke van der Leest, cakes and much more!

The BA Jewellery and Related Projects team were continuing with their "flash" one-week projects, this time "The Big Issue", where they had to make a piece of work about some contemporary issue. Some of the results were really impressive and they produced in one week many more thoughtful outcomes than I've seen as completed submissions for graduate shows...

The Big Issue - 1 - Lois Wiseman

The Big Issue - 2 - Lois Wiseman
Lois Wiseman

The Big Issue - 3 - Tianyu Zhao

The Big Issue - 5 - Tianyu Zhao

The Big Issue - 4 - Tianyu Zhao
Tianyu Zhao

The Big Issue - 6 - Cara Budd

The Big Issue - 7 - Cara Budd
Cara Budd

The Big Issue - 8 - Danielle Laurent

The Big Issue - 9 - Danielle Laurent
Danielle Laurent
Next week is smart materials, robotics and new technology, which should be very exciting. Expect video!


Saturday was spent in London with friend and colleague, Rachael Colley. We started off at the British Museum to see the work of our mutual friend, Heidi Hinder which is featured in the "Money" galleries and which looks at new ideas about payment.

Money No Object - 1

Money No Object - 2

After this we headed off to Kent - south London, really, to met with Anastasia Young and Paul Wells and to visit the Bethelm Museum of the Mind, a museum in what used to be known as "Bedlam" dedicated to art by people with mental health issues as well as to the history and treatment of mental health problems. I'm pleased to say that in a turnaround from the Victorian visiting policy, it is housed in a working psychiatric hospital and some of the patients work there.

Bethelm Museum of the Mind - 3

Bethelm Museum of the Mind - 1

I particularly liked the Rorschach Test wallpaper. Perhaps an inspiration for my new house?!

Bethelm Museum of the Mind - 2

There is a big retrospective of the work of Richard Dadd on at the museum at the moment, and we thought that we were going to a talk about his work but instead it turned out to be a completely unrelated talk about how popular media portrays psychiatrists and psychiatric disorders, given by Jackie Hopson. It was one of those brilliant times when something unexpected proves to be fascinating and engaging and Jackie listed with humour - and a little anger - the appalling tropes of mental illness with which most of us engage unthinkingly on a daily basis.

You will recall that in December, I posted about meeting with Anastasia and about her partner Paul Wells' collection of memento mori, which had been filmed as "The Death Collector". Rachael and I were thrilled to be able to actually view some of the collection for ourselves!

Memento Mori - 2

Memento Mori - 3

Memento Mori - 7

An absolute pleasure.

The rest of the weekend has been bunged up drains and other work on the house. The bunged up drains are unbunged now and my greenhouse has been built:

New Greenhouse - 1

It's all getting to the stage of selecting paint...

And I'm finding myself drawn to Kandinsky-inspired colour combinations.

Just because it kind of fits in with the weekend in London, I was reminded of one of my favourite animations by the Quay Brothers, In Absentia, a piece about a mentally-ill patient who wrote endless letters to her departed husband. The music is by another of my favourites, Karlheinz Stockhausen.