Wednesday, 26 May 2010
When I got here the plan was to make 100 sheets of paper a day until I'd made 1000 sheets. That's all very well and good but I am in another city. So in the meantime I've also been doing my best to embrace my enviornment. Meeting artists in the factory, drinking vodka, smoking too many rollies (indoors), going to Prisma, eating Kalev, having Youtube parties, having Eurovision parties, hand washing clothes cos the washing machine is bust, making tea, documenting Smell City, I mean there's just no time.
Before I got here I started reading a Jaan Kross book The Czar's Madman and somehow one day I started to make little people (affectionately known as poopman). I introduced Poopman to the people of Tallinn at a story telling open mic night at Von Crawl Theatre and he's been hanging out at the factory since.
On Saturday we had a pin hole photography workshop and poop man got himself in a fight about art. He thinks he's a proper good artist cos he does perform ace and he's at all the cool parties. But is he a real artist if he's just made of paper.
Paper is boring. There's no real guts in that. It's not controversial. It's not expensive enough to be art. You don't even have to have a concept to make a sheet of paper. But still poopman fights on. Stickin to his guns (or shield as the case may be). So is their any point in making 1000 sheets of paper?
Friday, 21 May 2010
So there's an old wood block printers here and today there was a workshop on so I met Uda briefly.
The story goes when times were tough they were going to sell off all the machinery for scrap metal but they had a contract with the art gallery in Tallinn and the media got together to keep the print shop going. They moved here to Polymer and it's still in use. I'm hoping to put together a text based image to make a print. i better get my skates on cos I've not got long left.
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Well I've been busy. Spending a lot of time with the other artists here, still making 100 sheets of paper a day and people are coming to me with ideas for collaborative work. Yesterday Sandra took my blood to use in the paper. Damaso, who's a photojournalist was here and took some pictures. Actually they are rather good and not for the faint hearted. I haven't decided if I should distribute them publicly.
The Factory here has defiantly got it's unique style and way of working and it has effected my work. The work produced here challenges our morals, what we think of art ourselves and life. I've been open to these ideas and it's seeped into my work. To a point where I'm not sure if the people who know me will recognise me. I feel positive about this development but also concerned as it looks like a big leap.
Since I got here I have been working all day everyday. Spending time with other people here too discussing their work how they approach it and how things work here in Estonia. I've been told 'Estonian believe in nothing' and that's why a group of these artists were asked by Insurance brokers to put on a performance which included naked artists with raw meat on them, branding, and writing Xmas cards in human blood. At first I was shocked but then I thought well it's great that people support artists work on a holiday where it's usually all about shopping and drinking and eating as much as you can.
In the meantime I've chugged along with making 100 sheets of paper a day and when bloodletting was suggested I thought well why not, my blood sweat and tears go into my work why not show it.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Friday, 7 May 2010
Then we went to the art club, where you have to apply for membership. Luckily Ernest had a swipe card that let us it. We met Linda and Maria there. They make jewelery in a studio south of the city.
Tomorrow we have made plans to go to the statue cemetary. Tonight is Uber Bling a club next door to the factory that I can hear from from room. But it's ok I'm home safe.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Today I woke up a year older. It took me a while to motivate myself to roll out of my comfy bed out into the cold. Flashes of last night’s conversations came to mind. It was the house dinner which lasted about 7 hours. There was the traditional marinated raw fish and onions, lots of cabbage, eggs and pickles, and of course vodka.
We were in the ceramic room because it's the warmest and biggest room in the factory. We talked a lot about our journeys to this point, our experiences, ways of living, projects we'd stuff we wanted to do, hairiness (male and female), boob jobs, sex maniacs, aura photography, loneliness of cities, maths, cats, mice... All the important stuff!
So today when I'd got myself together I went for a walk to the old town. I made some postcards and took pictures and did the tourist thing. I found the train station where I got a hot pizza for about 50p - it was heaven after all the cabbage!
Didn't really do any work today. I'd started editing some footage from a few months ago. I think I'll get on with that this evening and start on the paper tomorrow. In the meantime here are some pics from today.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Jaanika (who's the administrator at Polymer) met me at the airport. On Monday morning we dragged my bags up the stairs to my new home for the next month.
I spent the rest of Monday getting lost in the outskirts of Tallinn and eating cabbage based foods. Today is my second day and things are starting to settle a little. In the back of the factory there is an old, but working wood block printers run by a lady called Uda. I haven't met her yet but I've been taking care of her waste paper. I've spent hours tearing it up and it's in a big bucket soaking in water now til 2moro.
At lunch I took my break in the bar area where some students were doing some performance art. It involved candles, paper, blood, cotton wool, flour, water and soap and was thoroughly entertaining. And I did feel a bit sick too!
Tonight there will be a house meal and I will hopefully get the chance to meet the rest of the artists here. So far I've met Sandra and artist/curator who runs Art Container, Telin who makes mechanical objects for performance, Hanz who's a musician, Leho who gave me the password for the Internet, Ernest who lives here and runs the residencies and Eric who teaches the students mentioned above.
Right, must go, time for tea!