Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Decoding Art

Decoding Art: Selective Memory

Tuesday 31 January 2006, 12.45-1.30pm. Free. Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Weston Link, National Gallery of Scotland.

Writer and lecturer Kirstie Skinner (Edinburgh College of Art) suggests ways of 'decoding' the challenging new work in Selective Memory, originally shown in the Scottish pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale, now shown at the Gallery of Modern Art.

Selective Memory: Venice Biennale

Location: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Dates: Wednesday, 7 December, 2005 - Sunday, 5 March, 2006

Admission: Free

Venice Biennale Exhibition comes to Scotland gave an opportunity to view the Scottish national presentation at the 51st Venice Biennale (12 June – 6 November 2005) in Edinburgh.

The Venice Biennale is the world’s most prestigious showcase for contemporary visual arts, with 60 participating countries. Scotland’s presentation has been undertaken by three partners in 2005: the Scottish Arts Council, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council.

A concept behind the exhibition is to explore how artists work, and in particular the process of researching and creating work.

The artists selected to represent Scotland at previous year’s Biennale were Cathy Wilkes, Alex Pollard, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan.

Cathy Wilkes

Alex Pollard

Joanne Tatham

Tom O’Sullivan

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Bus Ride With Flowers In Her Hair

Student Awards For Scotland 7th December 2005

Edinburgh College of Arts swept the boards on the night, comming top in all three major categories. In Animation, Asaf Agranat took the prize for her short "A Bus Ride With Flowers In Her Hair." Norwegian born Gunhild Enger stole the show, however, taking home awards for her semi-autobiographical "Waiting for Happiness", which won Best Factual, and her off-beat drama "Bargain", that look Best Non-Factual.

Also Highly commended were an eclectic mix of entries from institutions such as Napier University, Aberdeen College and the University of Sterling.
The evening was rounded-off by a delicious buffet and drinks reception, where the young talent had the opportunity to network with some top industry professionals.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

EMPS Golden Video Awards 2006

Saturday, 28 Jan

Edinburgh Movie Production Society Golden Video Awards 2006, 7:30PM - 12:00PM, UKP 2 members, UKP3 non-members

Location: Teviot Row House - Teviot Place, Edinburgh, Scotland (UK), Scotland

Contact: Edinburgh Movie Production Society, webmaster@emps.tk, +447940992218, http://www.emps.tk

The Golden Video Awards is an annual short film screening, celebrating the work of new members of Edinburgh Movie Production Society, and will take place on the evening of Saturday 28th January in Teviot Row House, just off Bristo Square in Edinburgh.

Prizes will be awarded for the likes of best film and actor, as voted for by the audience and the EMPS committee at the screening.

The event will be starting at 7:30pm in the Terrace Bar (follow the signs), although the screening of the films won't start until about 8ish, but do arrive early to get good seats and grab a drink or two before it gets busy!

Tickets cost 3 pounds and are available on the door. Dress is smart (black tie optional).

Me and my friends from EMPS have made a short movie ourselves, called 'Culture Shock', in which I play the lead character 'John', a banker.

Synopsis of our short film, 'Culture Shock':

An International renowned Banker, called John, is on his way through Edinburgh to attend a conference in London. He is already running late and then it so happens that the train has been cancelled. For once, John has to rely on 'other' people to make it to his destination. A destination he would never have imagined that day in Edinburgh.

Look at "Favorite Movies" in the left hand column of this blog to see a preview of the EMPS movies. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Behind the scenes pictures in gratitude of J. Daniel Pacey (EMPS committee member and our Driving Force !):

Crew and Cast setting up, with in the center; Chris Brooks - Director/Scriptwriter

Sandy Wang, camera

Vivian Hu, sound

Cast end Crew climbing uphill

Left to Right: Joe Williamson (director), David Helliwell (as 'Ned'), Douglas ... (as 'Drunk'), Willem van Heemstra (as 'John')

Close-up: Willem van Heemstra (as 'John') and Nelly Fernandez (as 'Ronnie')


Interview after showing 'Culture Shock, the movie'

Joe Williamson and Chris Brooks, our Directors

Nelly Fernandez (acting as Ronnie) and Sandy Wang (Cinematographer)

Not All of Us; left-to-right Willem van Heemstra, Joe Williamson, Chris Brooks, J. Daniel Pacey, ladies in front Sandy Wang and Nelly Fernandez

Unfortunately, we did not get any of the prizes... (although the audience loved us ;o)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Progress Report - Term One [Block 2]

The jury at the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) has judged my performance and works from September 2005 onwards and has come to the following scores:


Block 2 of 2
SubjectWork (subset)CommentsGrade
Core Drawing for Design, Cathy Stafford
Card House
Willem has very interesting ideas and approaches his work in an intelligent and sophisticated manner. Willem understands that he needs to work on his drawings and practice his analytical drawing in order to communicate his ideas. Willem's ability to thoroughly explore his ideas and solve problems put him at the high end of a C.C = the work is of a GOOD standard

Animation, Rachel Everitt


Willem is a thoughtful student who is anxious to get his work right. He worked hard throughout the block producing some interesting ideas and shows potential and stamina to develop these further.B = the work is of a HIGH standard
Painting, Iain Patterson

Without any previous experience in painting, Willem has struggled in direction, interpretation and with the technical demands of his source material. However, in the limited time available he has been hardworking and responsive and progress has been made.No Grade Available = more work in progress
Sculpture, Natalie Taylor

clay head

cardboard head
Willem really worked at this project to gain not only control over the materials, but also to translate what he gradually came to see truthfully in front of him into three dimensions. I was really pleased with his portrait as he had struggled, but finally it had a great sense of mass and liveliness. The skull displayed similar strong forms and the cardboard, strictly following his own rules had a lovely open style whilst describing form well. A great group well done!B = the work is of a HIGH standard

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Home is My Castle

Have I been silent on the Blog for quite a while I realize. Apologies to all of my readers!

It goes without saying that a lot of work has been under development and I am about to share my progress with you.

Tuning in on the Sculpture assignment on "Protect and Survive", here is the status:

First, I have thought through the forming of the (rechargeable) batteries. There would be a circle of them 'protecting' the inner part.

Concept of the sculpture assignment

How to make such big batteries and not - be lying - about what they are made of? I mean to say, the spectator will obviously see that if I make batteries by hand, they are not 'real' batteries. Therefore, the sculpture is unbelievable and fails in its attempt to 'amaze' !

Look at this, a translation of the word 'battery' (or actually 'spark') in French.

Bougie \Bou*gie"\, n. [F. bougie wax candle, bougie, fr. Bougie, Bugia, a town of North Africa, from which these candles were first imported into Europe.]

This has brought me to the idea of portraying the batteries as 'Candles'! Candles are so appropriate; they give energy, they become weaker over time (hence, survive) and the wires that are to stick out of them mimic their string of lighting rope.

Moreover, to underline their responsibility (i.e. to protect) I will melt de candle and mold it in the shape of a 'Castle'.

See next pictures taken from my Research & Development phase.

I found - after a long search within the non-beach community of Edinburgh - a Sand Bucket in the shape of a Castle. Well, a castle is of course a central theme in Edinburgh (burgh-> castle). In addition, I bought white candles at... Pound Savers!

Sand bucket and candle

In our shared kitchen I dared to melt the candle(s) on our electric heater - in a left-behind pan. Wouldn't want to poison myself ;o) By the way, don't do as I do! It can be quite dangerous.

Candle melting

Lastly, I had the bucket upside down in the sink (filled with water, to minimize the chance of the plastic melting) and inside the bucket was some olive oil to ease the release of the candle wax later on.

Me pouring the HOT candle wax in the Castle bucket. Slowly does it. Mind you, I layed a cage from our fridge on top of the bucket to keep it down in the sink.

Tadatata !! My first home-cooked Castle.

Cooled off castle, needed 2 candles to fill it up to the edge. Witnessed by two white fire ropes that were left in the pan.

And this is my new Home ;o)

Next I will include some 'electronics' within this home.. being rechargeable batteries.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Eye Witnessing

In continuation on the outdoors Tapestry project, called "Eye of the Storm", here I discuss my preparations in detail.

First, while disappointed by the low quality arial pictures of Edinburgh on the Internet it so happened that I found a second-hand book on Edinburgh from the air in a nearby bookshop.

I gratefully tore the book apart... artists (!)

Areal photobook torn apart to do away with the centerfold of the pages.

Detail of our College at the point of the knife, needed to pinpoint my 'outdoors' work of art; The Eye of the Storm.

Next, I met with Keith (tutor at the Fashion department), who helped me to get the page printed onto the clean cushion I had bought.

Keith putting the iron-able A3 size print made from the page(s) of the photobook in place on the ironing machine.

Keith: "Temperature is 180 Degree Celsius"

Keith:"Time under Iron is 18 minutes"

Voila, a print of the areal view of our College on my cushion!

Continued my weavery of the frame, on which the cushion is to be fixed with 'hurricane markers'.

Blue for 'sea' woven on my frame.

[image coming soon]

Green for 'land' woven on my frame.

... to be continued soon

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Protect and Survive

Sounds like the Los Angeles Police Department's "To Protect and Serve", doesn't it...

For Sculpture we have received the following brief:

Theme: Protect and Survive
The primary objective of this project is that the student completes a sculpture using mixed media in a constructive way. This sculpture should have structural qualities, aesthetic qualities, and conceptual qualities, and should show that the student has investigated the properties, both physical and representational of the materials employed.


Protect and Survive brought to my mind things like

    a nest of baby birds

    breeding of eggs

    school, hiding under the table in case of a nuclear attack

    a fortress


I came back to class with TWO ideas:

IDEA I: TV and Chemistry - Eye protection

The sculpture would look like a television set, but instead of the projection tube it would have test tubes (as in a laboratory) with the colors of TV images (PAL composite; yellow, light blue, green, violet, red, dark blue). Next to it would be laboratory glasses to protect the eyes against the broadcasted images.

Something like this:

TV and Chemistry - Protect (against imaginary violence) and Survive (conceive life)

IDEA II: Lights and Armor - Fencing Off

The sculpture would be like a 'fortress' ... protecting its inhabitants.

Something like this:

Sculpture proposal - circle of 'protective' batteries, that propel air on the light bulbs with their powered (running through wires) fans, and glowing light bulbs trying to survive. Of course the battery power will run out and both the propellors and light bulbs will ultimately dim and pass out. How long will they survive...

Me and my teacher - Paul Carter - liked this second idea the best, so I will try to work this one out.

First I bought one of the tiny battery-operated handheld fans. Pound Savers sells these at... 0.99 Pound ;o)

Tiny battery-operated handheld fan

Demolished ...

and rearranged ...

then extended with a new propellor, made from cardboard.

Next, I will make the same kind of metal arms with a little light bulb at the end instead of a propellor.

Finally, I will seal the other ends of the metal arms in a can, and make them look like batteries. The batteries charge the light bulbs and propellors, while protecting them from the outside world; Protect and Survive!

This is my attempt to draw the accompanying electric circuit:

EMF Diagram

Images are following in next web logs for Sculpture.

Thank you for watching, have a good rest and feel 'Protected'.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Eye of the Storm

First lecture in the year 2006!

Today's Tapestry class, say weavery and all expressions of it...

The things they can weave, simply unlimited:

... et cetera

The brief for tapestry is that I am required to produce a piece of work which makes an INTERVENTION into a space in the ECA Grassmarket campus. Each student will have an alloted part of the site, which my tutor will discuss with me. Rather than a full blown site specific installation this is a small intervention into my chosen space.

And here is the space that has been claimed by me (on site of our Edinburgh College of Art, ECA).

Alloted space for Willem (the space which is fenced in, in the back)

With the Hurricane 'Katrina' over New Orleans (US) in my mind, I though about my space as The Eye of the Storm.

I have looked up the weather map of that particular storm and this is how it looked back in 2005:

Map of hurricane Katrina over New Orleans (US) in 2005 - perhaps the map is of 2000... instead

Then I found this arial map of Edinburgh on the Web.

And if you zoom in, I can find my home (push pin), the Edinburgh Castle, and... the Campus of ECA (in viewer).

Zoomed in to find campus, and thus my space.

Miami Museum of Science - How Do Hurricanes Work?
A hurricane is a powerful storm that measures several hundred miles in diameter. Hurricanes have two main parts. The first is the eye of the hurricane, which is a calm area in the center of the storm. Usually, the eye of a hurricane measures about 20 miles in diameter, and has very few clouds. The second part is the wall of clouds that surrounds the calm eye. This is where the hurricane's strongest winds and heaviest rain occur. Source: http://www.miamisci.org/hurricane/howhurrwork.html?241,212

Next I collected weavery material and will use a pre-constructed wooden frame to try and 'weave' the map of Edinburgh, where 'my' spot is at the heart of the storm.


I still have to think about a name for this odd Hurricane though... let's call her "Loren" (after my teacher in tapestry).

Loren "Hurricane" Slater, my teacher in Tapestry at ECA

As you will have figured out, I still have a lot of weaving to do ;o)