This & That Mail Art Swap

Welcome to This & That


I’m pleased to announce a new curatorial project, This & That, an invitational mail art swap among international artists. Initiated in July 2009, This & That is a grassroots exchange by artists for artists.

32 artists/collaboratives are from 7 countries are participating:

Poklong Anading (Manila)
Chris Bell (Austrailia/San Francisco)
Simon Blackmore (Manchester)
Simon & Tom Bloor (Birmingham/London)
Jon Brumit (Chicago)
Michelle Carollo (NYC)
Mike Chavez-Dawson (Manchester)
Susan Chen (San Francisco)
Joshua Churchill (San Francisco)
Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson (Berlin/Manchester)
N. Sean Glover (Pittsburg, Penn., USA)
Mary Griffiths (Manchester)
Antony Hall (Manchester)
Taro Hattori (Oakland, Calif., USA)
Eric Hongisto (San Francisco)
Sarah Kabot (Ohio, USA)
Scot Kaplan (Ohio, USA)
Verity-Jane Keefe (London)
Yuen Fong Ling (Manchester)
Ivy Ma (Hong Kong)
David Moises (Vienna)
Ali Naschke-Messing (San Francisco)
Scott Oliver (Oakland, Calif., USA)
Susan O’Malley (San Francisco)
Laurence Payot (Liverpool)
Pest (Rebecca Chesney, Robina Llewellyn & Elaine Speight) (Preston, Lancs, UK)
Anthony Ryan (San Francisco)
David Sherry (Glasgow)
Daniel Staincliffe (Manchester)
Tattfoo Tan (NYC)
Jenifer K. Wofford (Oakland/Prague)
MM Yu (Manila)

Submissions will be exhibited in “Socially, Involved,” an exhibition at curated by Michelle Blade, at Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, California, USA from August 7–September 6, 2009.

See the entries at exhibition, or at the opening reception — Friday, August 7, 7-10 pm — or check

Art & Development, Travelogue

Antony Hall lecture at Cornerhouse

Antony Hall demonstrates the m-Log in front of a projection of a deliriously rhizomatic interface

Antony Hall demonstrates the m-Log (a sensor-driven noise-making interface, housed in a real log) in front of a projection of a deliriously rhizomatic interface

Antony Hall wants to have it both ways. He is disappointed if his science-based projects (which span interspecies communications and fluid mechanics, like creating vortexes in coffee cups) aren’t regarded as serious experiments. On the other hand, seems to be in disbelief that he performs as a experimental sound artist at art events. But when the public wants to acquire his handmade musical instruments, he prefers instead to lead D.I.Y. workshops, acknowledging the (social) aesthetics at work.

The science experiments are smart and interesting. I haven’t had a chance to try the chamber for interfacing with a fish currently in the Interspecies exhibition at Cornerhouse, but the idea and interface are lovely.

The music projects’ low-meets-hi-tech is endearingly ironic. What started out as an elaborate joke (Hall and a friend, whose name I can’t recall, thought it would be funny to make music from a homemade analog interface housed in a log, called iLog, rather than a laptop) has turned into the Owl Project. It’s a grouping of preposterous inventions: the iLog, the m-Log (sort of like the Owl version of an iPod, but with only sensors and no harddrive, I think), and the Sound Lathe (It’s a lathe! It’s an instrument! And it’s pedal-powered!).

Art & Development, Travelogue

breathe begins

ready-made fluorescent-ink printed paper, die-cut in flashes

I’ve just started the Breathe Residency at Chinese Art Centre in Manchester, UK, and it’s quite an honor.

I arrived in the UK yesterday morning, and the residency program manager, David Hancock, has generously lent his past two days to get me situated in the studio and introduce me to Manchester’s resources and galleries. I visited Manchester briefly in 2007, but it is like day and night compared to having a local point the way.

Chinese Art Centre’s staff have been very welcoming, forthcoming and professional. The signage is up, the spaces are clean, and a manual with pretty much everything I need to know is in hand. They’ve allowed me lots of space: a 20 x 15′ gallery with high ceilings and an attached utility room/tool closet, a private bathroom and marginally shared kitchen, a sleeping loft, and access to the CAC’s library, which is stocked with books and catalogs. The staff has been really sweet, and very considerate of my privacy. Though I’m technically inhabiting a live/work studio in an art center, it feels more like having an apartment adjacent to the art center. This, along with David’s generous assistance, has truly underscored the privilege of being an artist in residence here.

I’m excited about what’s nearby:
–two art supply shops
–very cool bars (don’t think pubs, think lounges)
–the gigantic Arndale mall, which is replete with anything I could possibly need, from the dollar store (“Poundland”) to fast-food pasties (Gregg) to fresh shark (!) steak at a seafood market.
–just on the other side of the mall is Tesco, the supermarket, which will be a key to living inexpensively in England. The lower end of the price range is bafflingly cheap: £1.18 ($1.66), loaf of flax/soy bread. £0.86 ($1.21), quart of milk. £3 ($4.22), 4-pack of 330ml ciders. I’m curious about why the cost of food is so high in the U.S., even with all of our subsidies.
–a wonderful little shop named Clark Brothers, which stocks old signs and fake decorations. There’s a display of flower garlands that looks like a Wofford/Mail Order Brides dream set. But the other side of the room is lined with shelves full of fluorescent two-tone store signs. The signs are printed, but the text is just idiosyncratic enough to signal hand-lettering. It’s like a wall of ready-made Ruschas or something. I can’t get enough of it.

While I’m looking forward to diminishing my sense of disorientation, I’m also savoring the prickliness of the linguistic textures I’m hearing. It’s peculiar to be speaking the same language as everyone here, but not at all in the same way. When people speak, I have to listen hard, and I have to ask people to repeat themselves much more often than I’d like. Even when I do make out the words, I also find myself hung up on slang — pondering the etymologies of skally and chav, or just mulling over the wondrous glottal stop in grotty. Then there’s the getting used to the nearly ubiquitous “All right?”, a greeting that sounds to me like a question, but is typically answered with another “All right?” And I’m getting accustomed to the slightly emphatic, sing-song “‘Bye!,” which is neutral here, but reminiscent of a sarcastic American Valley Girl’s “‘Bye!”

The next three months are like a blank slate, but I’m confident that there is lots of time to develop and experiment. I got here; now I think the art process will take care of itself. And there are a few constellations that are already forming for the near future:
–a trip to Liverpool. I missed it on my last visit, but it’s close to Manchester and bursting with culture, like the Tate Liverpool and Anton Gormley’s installation at Crosby Beach.
–tomorrow’s lecture by Dinu Li at the Manchester Art Gallery
–a lecture by Antony Hall at Cornerhouse. Hall contributed a provocative installation featuring a soundproof booth for communicating electronically with a live fish in Interspecies, Cornerhouse’s current exhibition.
–artists’ salon-type events, which David mentioned he’d organize soon.
–Manuel Saiz’s “Private Party. Keep Out” exhibition at Castlefield Gallery.
–the opening of “Subversive Spaces: Surrealism And Contemporary Art” at The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester. It’s a great space and it looks like it’s going to be a great show. I’m so excited.