Afternoon Dust

Northern Art Prize 2011-12

Richard Rigg, Some Rest on Six Occasions (February View) (2010)

On a miserably wet day in Leeds I found myself at the Leeds City Art Gallery for an exhibition of work by artists shortlisted for the Northern Art Prize 2011-12. The award, now in its fifth year, is given to a contemporary visual artist of any age or nationality living and working in the North of England. Of the four nominees exhibiting this year, two surprised and delighted me, while the remaining two made less of an impact.

Of Roads and Rollerskates

“There is an imaginary that if you move near the road life will be better.”

In between a couple of shows in Utrecht last weekend, I dropped by the BAK gallery and came across a little gem of a contemporary road movie by Patty Chang and David Kelley. Their three-channel video installation, entitled Route 3, tells the story of the construction of one of the first highways in Laos and the changes it is bringing to communities along its path. As the narrative unfolds across its roughly half-hour duration we hear about an opening ceremony conducted by an ambiguous president figure, a border town leased to the Chinese, and efforts to reform agriculture in order to boost tax revenues.

Analogue Fever: Towards a Low-Fidelity Future


The stronger the current pushes in one direction, the harder one swims against it. The invention of the printing press almost certainly resulted in an immediate increase in the market value of handwritten manuscripts. Shellac purists were quick to denounce new-fangled vinyl records as soulless and inauthentic. But no – authenticity is a recent invention. What matters, always, is fidelity. But fidelity to what?

offthesky's "Hiding Nature"

Offthesky, Hiding Nature

With what do we hide nature? With Nature.

The humming of wings, the shuffle of leaves. Things happen when I’m not expecting them, as they would in the wild. Things change suddenly and without warning – a break, snapping twig, movement. Getting louder, tailing off. Echoing among the trees.

I give a name to what I see and hear, what I sense. A bird is a space left for a birdlike event that just so happens to fit the space exactly. If I leave enough space then the whole world will happen. Space left between notes, between fractured sounds. The fracturing is intentional. I speak of Nature, but what sense do I give to this word? What shape is the space made by this – this intentional sound. That sense expands to fill.

Forest, Trees: Jan Martens' 'Sweat Baby Sweat'

Sweat Zucchini

As long as you’re here I am too.

You think this is a love story, but it is not.

It is what it appears to be.

Not accumulating enough weight to leave a mark. Not gathering enough speed to break orbit. Almost saying a lot. Not saying anything. A word on the tip of the tongue, never quite tipping over into sound.

I can’t see the forest for the trees (but

what is a forest but trees?)

In A Place Of Such Graceful Shapes

Christmas Field

Sound is a line, one thing after the other; vision is a field presenting the whole in an instant. So thought the painter Gauguin. To focus on a detail is to lose sight of the whole. A black stump sticking out from the snow. A world, empty. Appearing. Disorientate, field of white on white, surround. Seeing everything, no thing. But





Ice cracked, abstracted, jaundice yellow grass. All-overness. Everything happens at once, silently.

Between Tides: Marcus Fischer's Monocoastal

Whitstable Beach

“…coastline length turns out to be an elusive notion that slips between the fingers of those who want to grasp it.”
Benoît B. Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature
“It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”
John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez

A zone that shifts and slides, cumulates and disperses. Things break apart, and come back together in new configurations. Ebbing and flowing, ebbing and flowing. Dynamics: temperatures, salinities, levels of exposure, levels of immersion. All patterns are provisional, change the only constant. And yet there is repetition: waves breaking over and over again.

Linehan And Rosengren Are Dead (Maybe)

bring your own chair


When was the first time you saw Daniel Linehan and Salka Ardal Rosengren?

At the end of the performance, a split second before the lights went out.

You did not see them before then?


What were they doing when you saw them?

Linehan had just grabbed Rosengren by the arm and turned her to face him.

He had just done that, or he was in the process of doing it?

He — he was in the process of doing it, I think.