Friday, November 30, 2012

The miracle of apps!

Student Katie Joyce introduced me to photo synth a free app that stitches pix together.
Here she is in front of a magnificent wall mural she made for an exhibition in Delta Studios, Larbert along with two friends.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Keep Dancing

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n
Our Keep Dancing group at the macrobert arts centre, Stirling, challenging stereotyped images of older people.

Our dance group Keep Dancing, run by the macrobert, has grown legs. Literally. A group of us have formed a tap dancing class. See video of Anne Aiken who leads our group.

This month see the launch of Luminate
 the first festival on ageing in Scotland.

Stirling contribution is a new theatre performance by dance artist Natasha Gilmore, Ultra Violet, an intergenerational event that will be premiered at the end of the month.

Unfortunately I had to pull out because of
other commitments  but it looks like a very exciting project.

Meanwhile I have just finished – oh what a relief! - another book on Wales.

So I am going to have a welcome break from writing and I have resumed my visual artwork again.

After all, I do have a solo exhibition coming up early next year…time to get back to the drawing –board, or in my case Ipad.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Storytelling in Tate Modern

Inside Tate Modern's Turbine Hall

I am sitting on the floor of the Tate Turbine Hall, as you do, when strangers came up and told me highly personal stories about their lives:  the young Chinese man now a reformed liar, a Caribbean woman with recurring dreams of carrying a heavy load on her back up a steep hill and a Sri Lankan woman who could decide at 38 years of age whether to have children or not.

These are storytellers, part of Tino Sehgal’s installation. He says the work is about what it means to belong to a group.

One thing they had not expected is that members of the public would join in, not with the storytelling though I am sure there must have been some frustrated actors there who decided to join in too but with all the walking, running and sitting.

At one stage I too joined in. It was a theatrical experience, which at times bordered on the quasi-religious: dozens of people standing absolutely still chanting and singing with lights on and off.

Did it work? Yes. I forgot about the other exhibitions I had come to see and spent most of my time in the Turbine Hall and the Tank Rooms paying only a cursory glance at some of the other galleries.

For we have reached a stage in the visual world where seeing a work, however important in the canon of art no longer does it for us in the 21st century. We want more from it than the passive viewing of something hanging on the wall.

And this can only come about by the blurring of edges between all the arts, helped by the interface with technology: the artist and the viewer become inter-changeable, like the writer and the reader.

We want to engage with it, interact with it, to become part of it even if only for a few minutes and this you could do with Sehgal’s work.
This is the first time the Tate have used the Turbine Hall for live performance installation.
Hopefully we will see more in the future.

Although the event has some loose choreography, lights dim,singing and chanting at regular intervals, running, walking, it gives the impression of an organic whole: a mass of total strangers interacting and moving as one.

What the artist did not expect is that total strangers would join with the storytellers in walking around the floor of the Turbine hall.
This is interactive immersive collaborative art of the 21st century, reflecting the zeitgeist of our time.

Yet the piece also had a strange sense of deja vu.  I witnessed a similar scene over ten years ago while a student The School of the Art Institute in Chicago where art, technology and performance came together in one student performance.

Oh dear! a video I made of the storytellers has been deleted from Youtube - breach of copyright!
yet we were sharing stories.....

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Why do we open our studios to the public?

Ann Shaw | Image | Artists talking | a-n

What do people expect from Open Studios?

We have just had the results from our survey from our third Forth Valley Open Studios and they have thrown up some surprising results.

Visitor’s expectations and those of artists are wildly different.

Less than 10 per cent go expecting to buy work.
They go for the experience of meeting an artist in situ, many for the first time, and to seek information and education about art and the creative process of that particular artist.

"After the Storm" Digital painting from my online photographic

This is in stark contrast with the way it is viewed by many artists who regard Open Studios as a commercial     opportunity.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Hope for Bad Writers: Prizes Awarded for Lousy Writing

New Hope for Bad Writers: Prizes Awarded for Lousy Writing

This is hilarious!

Are Artists Really Best Equipped to Blaze Trails in the Enhanced E-Book Market? Are Publishers?

Are Artists Really Best Equipped to Blaze Trails in the Enhanced E-Book Market? Are Publishers

Read this article this morning. And it strikes me thisnisnreally the future for books: giving readers an enhanced multi media experience.
I am working on Sully, a book set in Wales, which I will publish as an e-book incorporating blog, video, links as well as the main

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Section of 110 metre mural "Freedom Versions" in the yard of Stirling jail created by a group of artists working with the newly formed Creative company. Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What happened to visitors to my studio?

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

People coming to my studio during the recent Forth Valley Open Studios 9 day event expecting to buy “stuff”  were in for a surprise.

They found themselves immersed in an interactive artwork with themselves as the “star”.

And did it work? Yes.

So what was it? Well research shows that we are hard wired for optimist - “The Optimism Bias” – Tali Sharot) and a visiting psychologist to my studio from Stirling University confirmed it too saying there are numerous other papers on the subject).

So I asked people to smile. This was then emailed to them on my iPhone – they did this themselves thus avoiding any chance of errors-. In return they got a pic of themselves and I got a photo for my giant photomontage “Smile”.

Simple yet very effective.

 Now I discover Yoko Ono has a similar project in the Serpentine gallery, London.

And the Park gallery in Falkirk has an exhibition called “Smile”.

All I can say is that there is an awful lot of smiling going on despite the economic doom and gloom and promise of euro meltdown.

But then we are hard-wired for optimism.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Forth Valley Open Studios- final preparations

(caption)Angie McLaren, '"Stop Ignoring Me"', Screenprinting, 8 May 2012. Photo: Ann Shaw. Angie, a lecturer at Forth Valley college, was among our group taking part in a screenprinting workshop organised by the Changing Room gallery, Stirling. Plans are well under way for these years Forth Valley Open Studios and publicity is beginning to kick in. Our local newspaper The Stirling Observer is featuring an artist a week in the run up to the event in June. I am very aware now of the need to tailor press coverage to different platforms. Gone are the days when you could have a scatter gun approach and send out information to newspapers and hope that some paper it a sympathetic reporter interested in the arts would give your event the oxygen of publicity. Now it’s the full works using social networks like Facebook and Twitter along with local freesheets. Once we would have turned our noses up at publicity in these papers but they now have an important role in the community especially as the big morning papers in Scotland – the Herald and Scotsman in our case rarely give coverage to events such as ours. The first year we did get some but that was because we had a novelty element. That’s no longer the case. We are now embedded as part of the cultural scene in the central belt of Scotland, and like other events, have to work hard to generate publicity for it. Because of the shortage of staff on local newspapers it is becoming relatively easy to get arts coverage providing you give them the copy and photos ready to go. What they don’t like is having to dig the stories out for themselves because they are up against such tight deadlines and very limited, not to mention inexperienced staff, most of whom will never have heard of the concept of Open Studios so it is a steep learning exercise for them. The easier we make their job the more likely we are to get publicity.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Virtual reality,performance and music

Twice I have been into virtual reality – once at the University of Illinois,Chicsago and again at the Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Both occasion were startling to say the least. So I was particularly interested to see this exhibition in Liverpool where virtual technology and reality meet. Check out: Virtual reality Title: Where Virtual Technology And Reality Intersect
(Ipad image-Ann Shaw) Salads are not just for eating. Check out this performance piece: Title: Salad As Performance Art (This Is Not Metaphorical) Conductors have a reputation of going on for ever- or until they fall off their perch. In this case literally when 84 year old conductor Kurt Masur fell off the podium while conducting a concert in Paris. Check out: the fall from podium Title: Conductor Kurt Masur Falls Off Podium In Paris During Concert

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to make it in the art world: New Rules

I love this spoof column in the online Arts Journal on the new rules for making it in todays art world:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Art of the future?

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Joe Hall, founder of speaking at a recent "First Friday" event. This new enterprise aims to showcase the best of local talent.

The great modernist artist  Man Ray, (1890-1976)  said you could not imagine what art would be like in 50 years time.

 “And even if you saw it,” he said, “you wouldn’t be able to understand it.”

I thought of that when I read this article:

Title: What's The Great Art Of The Future? Data Visualization

It makes Damien Hirst at the Tate seem old fashioned.  It’s just like a retrospective, which of course it is.

This raises the question:  what is the purpose of art? If one is to reflect the world around us, a world that is increasingly complex, and to portray issues in a simplified manner that we can not only understand but also appreciate the beauty of our changing environment then that maybe is one very important role for art today.
As we move into what scientists call the “post human” age this will become even more so as technology and biology merge.
What is human? Will not be an easy answer in 50 years time when we have bits of computers embedded in us.

And our art?  Will computers be making it?
Glasgow School of Art have introduced a degree in Digital Culture and one of the first tasks for students is to learn to write computing code.