kiss me quick - it's the way i tell 'em

Kiss Me Quick - A four day contemporary art exhibition. The theme is on the experience of the beach as a holiday maker and also referencing the historic role of Margate as a main destination for working people on vacation.

from an early stage, my work was going to respond to this article i read on the guardian website back in february. a piece of work that is site and subject specific.

the seaside is inextricably linked with music hall entertainment and in particular the stand up comedian who would keep thousands of holiday makers amused and entertained for weeks on end - probably telling the same jokes, but generating laughter, merriment and a good time from a willing audience.

finding out that margate was a town in decline, i originally wanted to explore the idea of laughter in the face of adversity, and to use the joke shop as a backdrop for a film of locals telling jokes.

 Following on from the this way, that way film which looked at the way people give directions, i was interested in looking at how people look when they tell jokes.

In the intervening 3 1/2 months between reading the guardian article and arriving at the Arlington Square arcade, the joke shop had moved - the arcade slated for demolition - bought by tesco and soon to be demolished to make way for a new 24 hour superstore and car park.

This inevitably had an effect on my planned work - i'd planned to use the steady stream of joke shop shoppers as my interviewees and joke tellers - but now, with only one shop left open in the arcade - dave's hamburgers - i was faced with a shortage in raw material.

I decided i'd carry out the interviews anyway - standing on the street and asking passersby to come into the arcade to tell their joke in front of the closed-down joke shop. as well as asking for the jokes, i sort of automatically started to ask people what their thoughts were about the impending tesco, as i started to realise that the work was going to end up being about the similarity with the abc cinema/tesco replacement in Stoke.

it's interesting that the interviews didn't really work in the way i'd initially planned either, as i found those people who accepted the offer to tell me a joke ( i asked about 100 people in the course of the 6 hours i was there, with about 20 positive responses - mostly the reaction was "no, no way" or "I would , but now that you've asked, I can't remember any" were by and large shy and reticent about it.

It quickly became apparent that this was the wrong methodology for what I wanted to achieve. I think that I would have to give people advance notice - to canvass people in advance and to film them in more controlled circumstances, if i really wanted to achieve that fine scrutiny of a particular human response.


stay - the walk

12.1 miles
10 guest houses
6 hours 15minutes
4 dead ends
2 conversations about photography
1 abusive shout
places and spaces of my home city i'd never seen before - i lost count



Star Hotel, Marsh Street, Stoke-on-Trent

Verdon Hotel, Birch Street, Stoke-on-Trent

Flower Pot Hotel, Snow Hill, Stoke-on-Trent

Kenwood Bed and Breakfast, Stoke Road, Stoke-on-Trent

Trajector Art Fair

As part of the Trajector art fair ( a the artist-led-adjunct to the Brussells Art Fair), I'm producing a series of studies of Stoke-on-Trent guest houses. The commission is a collaboration with PITT project space's side project Motel Kandinsky.

PITT project space will be presenting the work of five artists and one collaborative project called Motel Kandinski. The presentation in Hotel Bloom! Is entitled Motel Kandinski / Kiosk pavilion, this forms part III in a series of interludes, interventions and one nightstands. Motel Kandinski collects curators. Motel Kandinski never uses the same venue twice. It is a mythical real construct curated using the physical spaces of a motel and notions of synesthesia associated with suprematism and the Russian avant-garde. Experience small sculptural installations by Various Artist, texts from the PITT and films and performance by Airspace gallery making up this episode in the Motel Kandinski series.
Represented artists include: Ellie Harrison, Sam Curtis, Saulius Leonavicius, John M Robinson and Rod Dickinson (tbc.)
Curated by Nathaniel Pitt and Various Artist/Motel Kandinski – David Bethell, Andrew Branscombe, Anna Francis and Glen Stoker.

My work will present  topographic representations of 10 Stoke-on-Trent b&b/guest houses in the dual advertising form of commemorative matchboxes and postcards, both of which will be presented as part of a room service performance by AirSpace artist Anna Francis.


walk 24 | unfinished | 12:00

the 24th and final walk. i didn't know how i'd feel but as it turned out it was a mixture of elation, relief and emptiness. more than anything, i felt a sense of bewilderment and confusion as to what it was all for and what any of it has meant. it's probably too close to try to analyse.

robert harrison, in his essay incompleteness, (Francis Alys, Seven Walks) talks about the joy to be had in the unfinished.  what happens when a piece of work is completed?  it's packed away and you're on to the next project. that notion of anti-climax can be seen for example in the detective story - the set-up may be tense and exciting, but the denouement often never lives up to this. Harrison refers to the jigsaw puzzle, where all the interest is in the striving to complete and the actual joy felt upon completion is a fleeting and quickly forgotten feeling.

so maybe this project has been so large in scope as to remain unfinished - a state which will allow the joy and other emotions ive felt over its course to linger and to be left open to