Thursday, March 20, 2014

Film producer- Monta Burge

I had a meeting today with Monta Burge from CreativeStirling regarding the Pecha Kucha night next month.

Monta, from Latvia, is a final year film student at Stirling University and her ambition is to be a film producer.

She loves organising people- especially creative types –“It’s a challenge,” she says.

Some would regard it more like trying to herd cats.

And her skills will be challenged when they start filming a male Glasgow Burlesque dancer in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Preparing for Pecha Kucha

I have been asked by Creative Stirling to take part in a Pecha Kucha event next month and it got me thinking about my working process.

Pecha Kucha is a Japanese style happening started in 2003 and now franchised worldwide which allow artists, designers and makers to show their work in an informal atmosphere.

It follows a simple but very rigid structure: you show 20 slides and talk for 20 seconds about each one.

This is designed to make you focus on what is essential.

And it made me realise that so much of my work involves working with algorithms- 50 per cent my input and 50 per cent input from software.

Take todays blip pic. This started life as a photograph of a rose I had grown in my patio.

Once inside the computer it morphed into a digital painting of a fictitious landscape.

There is a problem with this kind of work though. Folk are resistant to buying it.
One potential buyer said to me:” I would buy it if it was an original.”

But there is no such thing as “original” once its digital. You simply press a button and get as many copies as you like.
Of course you can construct some artificial claim to a “limited edition” but that is very dubious and as far as I am concerned fraudulent territory.

As for giclee prints, nothing more than a fancy name for high quality photo-copying on expensive paper.

You may disagree… 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TB: Return of the White Death- memories of Craig-y-nos

I wonder if you saw the shocking documentary last night TB: Return of the Plague? ( BBC4 )

Probably not unless you had a particular interest in medicine or Africa.

But it brought back memories of my own childhood in Wales where I spent four years in Craig-y-nos Castle, a children’s sanatorium in the Swansea Valley. ( I later wrote a book about it co-authored with medical historian Dr Carole Reeves “The Children of Craig-y-nos”).

I lived out on an open balcony (left in photo) summer and winter and it was not unusual to wake up in the morning to find our beds covered in snow. We were provided with sheets of green tarpaulins to protect us.

So much of the African story from Swaziland,  apart from the weather, resonated with my own experience – the dreadful food, the physical isolation from home, family and friends, the boredom, the daily tough treatment of injections medicine and drugs which went on for months, even years.

And the tragedy of those who did not respond to treatment and were sent home to die.

But what for me is a distant memory still goes on for thousands in Africa everyday only worse because of the strain of superbugs resistant to drugs.