LIKE EVERY WEEK FOR THE PAST 25 WEEKS THIS YEAR I AM SAT DOWN ON A MONDAY, REFLECTING ON THE CULTURE IN HULL.
This week has thought me a lesson to plan ahead. And try to stick to a plan. On Friday I literally failed to go out and photograph and I was annoyed with myself as never before.
I know that I can’t get to everything that Hull City Of Culture 2017 has to offer, but I have to take the advantage of the freedom when it comes to choosing where to go and what to see/photograph.
Thursday I was [first fail of planning] supposed to photograph the (In)visible Dancing down Jameson Street. I was super excited for it, but to my disappointment it was not on until the next day.
Oh, well… so to make sure I didn’t drag my kit in town for nothing I captured the Water Fountains in Queen Victoria Square in the early hours with the steam n stuff.
The Fountains is one of those photo-popular destinations and I am not tempted too much, but it feels quite special and privileged to be there when it gets the steam clean.
Saturday was the WORM FESTIVAL visit day [the festival spread across three days] in Humber Street Gallery. I was lightly hangover [happens to me sometimes], so I decided that a long walk in Humber Street through Old Town will heal me.
First was the newly painted Drypool Bridge. The design is celebrating the work of John Venn – a 19th century mathematician and philosopher born in the Drypool ward.
Then I followed the route and strolled through Street Life Museum grounds.
And surprise, surprise – there was something going on. Maritime Memories Machine tour arrived in Hull to collect stories about sea – we like our waters don’t we?
I met two lovely people from London, and they gave me a little tour around the Ice Cream Van without any ice cream that was full of secret jars and pots, items and collections.
They showed off their fantastic hats and cute lil’ seagull.
It was very interesting indeed, it was like a tiny world squeezed in few square meters.
I told my two different stories of what sea means to me – Martin Parr and The Last Resort for British seaside and late sunset seaside visits in Latvia when I was a kid.
Before I entered the WORM FESTIVAL I took a few more of Hull at its best- sunny Saturday.
And these photographs show off the good news – it is never dull in Hull this year in particular. It even feels a bit overwhelming….
Anyway, the WORM FESTIVAL was on the radar because of few reasons – these guys are from Rotterdam and the city is bonkers – I have been there and it is a cultural madness. Second – THE PERFORMANCE BAR PLUGS YOU IN! – I was not entirely sure what it was and it was embarrassing to ask the stupid question to the artists – where is the best spot to watch the tricks – “WHAT TRICKS?”….
Third – Humber Street Gallery exhibits diverse stuff and it is never boring.
And this was one these – weirdly happy shocking whatthehellisgoingon.
I arrived early for the time slot for the THE PERFORMANCE BAR PLUGS YOU IN! so I stuck to the plan to stay around and not to miss it.
It was delayed [very artist way to run things] so I had plenty of time to get familiar with environment.
And the unknown form-shape artists were up for a photograph – lights and sass was on.
It was so weird and annoying not to know what to expect, but when the first artist came on, I got the picture – it is nothing to do with an actual bar and drinks/cocktails been tossed in the air, no flames and smoke magic.
The bar was the place where artists can express their inner madness and desire, wild side and send the message to the culture-consumers.
This lady was the first one to get on the stage [and the only one I had the patience/time to wait for] and it was a killer- weird one.
THE TITLE THAT I HAVE TO GIVE IS – SHAVING FOAM AND A GIRL.
The funny thing is – I did not get the message behind it, but it was so funny to watch peoples reactions that I enjoyed it.
The other reason why I decided that this is enough of BAR ART FART – I don’t think I dealt with the light very well.
Upstairs was the rest of the exhibition/activities and I expected some kind of normality. But I was so wrong – upstairs was another Rotterdam culture/art shock and my brain was tickled even more.
Even getting to the gallery two and three is the art in itself – art to welcome. I got the sense that this is not an ordinary exhibition, which appears to be spot on, as I mentioned.
The clean – white wall- don’t touch the artwork – only watch with your eyes – listen and be quiet sense was gone. I entered a world of moving art, artists making art there and then, eating and shitting in the same place [in a good way]. The gallery was turned into a workshop with different elements.
I took me some good few minutes to feel like I know my grounds, although it was busy, it felt so focused and quiet.
The sign of normality was the Hull City Of Culture 2017 volunteer and the camera around my neck – everything else – different world.
Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two on set living room
I had to sit down with the guy that seemed to be the curator/artist. Because I had to understand.
The conversation was about them, Rotterdam and Hull. The exhibition is not the exhibition that the gallery has seen before – it is a hands on workshop creating art around building babies and bridges between Rotterdam and Hull, Ground Gallery included. This is what they said, this basically quoting them. There was no obvious explanation, but what I have gathered with my art knowledge – everything is made from complete scratch [like babies] and the involvement is the bridge between two cities.
The artists seemed real people, true people and what they do is who they are. Honesty about them, Hull and “the art” is what I appreciated the most.
and it was sad at the same time.
They said that the first time they arrived in Hull, walked through Humber Street they wanted to run away from the exhibiting here. Because it did not seem real – the newly built fresh breath of art, shops, galleries, bars, restaurants and antiques shop. They have said yes to the invitation to exhibit here, but they were not sure if they belong in the space given. They decided to do it their way anyway and collaborate with Hull heritage.
And this is not made up, this what we were talking about. And to not to forget the conversation and feeling, I recorded myself on the way home. I listen back and it really helps not to forget that artists from Rotterdam have came to Hull and feel like the Hull City Of Culture 2017 is ugly. Not the city and the people, but the brand, the logo, the investment and the idea to force on the culture they want us to consume. Of course on Friday they could have been chatting to some pro-city of culture visitors who told them of the nonsense, but that couldn’t influence them this much.
There must be a good reason of why that comes across…
So the bear is not as brown as we thought..hahaha.
My views about this is simple – he title has improved my relationship with Hull, given me so many opportunities to practice the photographic skill, I have met some fantastic people and seen amazing things/events/performances.
And a lot of people are aware of the “ugly scene” behind the curtains, but find a way how to gain something from the Hull City Of Culture 2017
The big bonus is – it is not dull in Hull from Monday to Sunday and that is the most amazing thing.
I really want to see the journals that WORM FESTIVAL will publish [as I was told] and the thoughts of returning to Rotterdam are present.
Happy #getcultured week 26!!!!!!!!!