The Wonderful World of Christoph Niemann

I love the work of Christoph Niemann. He’s moving on from his blog for the New York Times to write more regularly for their Sunday paper. His work is so refreshingly intelligent and witty – the kind of work that makes you happy to be alive. It also demonstrates how any material or any real-life encounter can spawn a medley of creative ideas


Miranda July’s ‘The Future’

As I eagerly await the arrival of the new Miranda July film, The Future, I am struck by two things – the importance of unshaking confidence in an idea and how incredibly multiskilled one individual can be. I like Miranda July because she is liked and loathed in equal measure and yet, stripping away any ego or any curly haircut, we are left with a strikingly sharp mind who leaves us with the most humorous, thought provoking and yet tender words and visions. Best of all she’s playful and encouraging…two of the best qualities I think someone can have.

A quote from July:
“We haunt ourselves. Googling our own name, perpetually clicking on search…because if we’re always searching then we never have to notice that we’ve found it, we’re there, this is really it”

I’m not sure what Miranda July’s ‘Future’ will look like but I’d like to see it and experience it for myself…soon.

Reading out loud

Have you ever read anything out loud? How should it be done?

Should you look at the audience above your shaking script, peer through the spotlight at them?
Should you expect applause?
Should you pretend you are someone else for 5 minutes, transpose your body into the remembered body of a confident speaker?
Should you attempt a smile?*

I lecture for a living and so I’m very used to speaking in front of an audience though last night I found it wholly different to read out my creative writing – the nerves are quite wonderful – to give a little more of yourself than you normally would…wonderful. Give it a go and enjoy the ‘thump’, ‘thump’, ‘thump’ in your heart.


David Nash at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The other day I went to visit the work of David Nash at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. His work is so wonderful – large wooden sculptures roughly carved that are so monumental you can’t help but be moved. What I really like is the way he documents the progression of his work and the wonderful maps he draws, providing an overview of his shifting styles and materials.

Perhaps what struck me most though about the exhibition is the need to simplify, to stay true to a simple vision. In his early work there were too many variables and he appeared frustrated with his material. His mastery with wood is so apparent now and this is due in part to his decision to focus, to narrow his remit to three themes about wood: origin, material, process.

An added bonus is the lovely chain of connections that occur when flitting between art events. Nash’s Wooden Boulder (a project that documented the natural journey of a wooden boulder in the landscape over a period of over 20 years – surprisingly moving) was referenced in a poetry reading last year. Alec Finlay’s mesostic poetry grew from plant pots in a green house in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, only to re-appear in a medicine cabinet in Leeds City Art Gallery in the same week. Either the artworld is too small or I’m on the right path!