MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – WEEK 25

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.

Hull Queen Victoria Square Water Fountains mum and daughter

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.

Hull Queen Victoria Square Fountains SteamHull Queen Victoria Square Fountains Steam Women walking past

 

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.

Drypool Bridge Hull 2017

Then I followed the route and strolled through Street Life Museum grounds.

Streetlife Museum Hull people feetStreetlife Museum Hull garden

Hull Streetlife Museum people watching fish in the pond

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?

Maritime Memories Machine Van

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.

Maritime Memories Machine inside the Van

They showed off their fantastic hats and cute lil’ seagull.

Maritime Memories Machine in Hull Seagull wearing scuba diving glassesMaritime Memories Machine view from the window inside the van

Maritime Memories Machine Tour in Hull handmade hat with seashells and stuff

Maritime Memories Machine Tour in Hull member of staff holding a very special handmade sea themed hat

It was very interesting indeed, it was like a tiny world squeezed in few square meters.
Maritime Memories Machine Tour in Hull propsMaritime Memories Machine Tour in Hull what is sea boardMaritime Memories Machine Tour in Hull on the Streetlife Museum grounds

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.

Maritime Memories Machine Tour in Hull postbox

Before I entered the WORM FESTIVAL I took a few more of Hull at its best- sunny Saturday.

Hull Old Town and City Of Culture flagCouple in Hull

C4DI building and people on the bridge Hull

Poorboy Vintage Clothing Humber Street

Humber Street in Hull Tidal Barrier in the background

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.

Humber Street Gallery Live MusicHumber Street Gallery Live Music wide shotHumber Street Gallery Smiley Face ProjectionHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL artists drinkingHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL mask on the head

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL live music playing
And the unknown form-shape artists were up for a photograph – lights and sass was on.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL artists posing for cameraHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL artistsHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL BAR PERFORAMCE PLUG IN

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.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL performance on bar

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.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Saturday's performance girl on stageHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL artists performing WITH SHAVING FOAMWORM FESTIVAL at Humber Street Gallery artists performing WITH SHAVING FOAMHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL artists performingHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL artist performing WITH SHAVING FOAM sprayed on her body

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.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL stairs to Gallery Two and Three Alien expositionHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL stairs to Gallery Two and Three with a plant on staircaseHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL stairs to Gallery Two and Three with photographs of celebrities

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.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL stairs to Gallery Two and Three no white walls anymore

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.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two Man looking at the exhibitionHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two against Trump

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two Boxing Ring with boxing gloves on displayHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two boxing ring in prepHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two music records from HullHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two Artists make artworkHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two Boxing Ring Close Up with wooden slippersHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery TwoHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two media artHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two on set living room with man sat in itHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two artist reading poemHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two Coca Cola bookHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two on set living room
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 Hull City Of Culture VolunteerHumber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two on set living room

“hello”

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.

Humber Street Gallery WORM FESTIVAL Gallery Two ALIEN PEAKING THROUGH

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!!!!!!!!!

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – WEEK 22

Hull City Of Culture 2017 and the photo challenge has become part of my life. Sneaked up on me at the beginning of the year and now I can’t imagine my week without the random visits, walks, places and people. Random – this week has been one of those. Every Sunday or Monday I sit down, panic about the deadline and look through the photos taken. Although this week has been work-crazy, I have managed to photograph two different [completely] cultural things.
CASTING ON HUMBER: Castaway Act on Sobriety.

The Sobriety Project in partnership with Castaway Goole received funding for this unique project from Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Creative Communities programme.

Lady called Sarah Louise Davies was so lovely, she sent me the press release with some more info about the performance.

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The cast are all experienced members of Castaway Music Theatre who work together weekly in Goole with Sarah Davies.

15 members of the group will be joined by additional professional performers, Hull City of Culture volunteers and members of community groups who are participating in workshops in Hull and Goole.

Castaway Music Theatre member Anna said: “We know what we’re doing. But we don’t know what will happen.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “The Creative Communities Programme encourages local groups and performers to think outside the box and this project has certainly done that.”

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It really was something different in the most beautiful way. I went to the very first performance, mid week, early daytime, so I saw the first reaction from the public.
It made me smile, art and culture is for everyone, not just to view, but to be part of. The members of public had the opportunity to become part of the performance and jiggle along. And I have learned to dance whilst on camera duty…

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The second #getculturedmovement activity was something completely different. Other spectrum of the culture. The long hunted Ground Gallery down Beverley Road was hosting a PEACE PARTY.

One culture event leads to another – that is how I got an invite to the party. Martin Berger –  saxafonist and clarnetist from Spain was playing at the Casting On Humber, so he invited me to come along.

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Saturday was an intense day that was measured in 18,000 steps and a lot of fresh air, and  a lot of photos taken. DO I REALLY FEEL LIKE A PEACE PARTY??

But my gut feeling told me to get my camera back on and at least have a nosy. I guess after two attempts to see the gallery – art gem in the middle of quite a culture-quiet area, this was my chance.

I arrived and there was “peace” hippies gathering and I was about to experience a cultural awkwardness…

I am familiar with the culture, back in the day I was hanging out with few and the lifestyle, although not for me, seemed fascinating.

But the shock hit me – all dressed up in Ray Bans, fancy camera, Ombre hair…I was feeling like the capitalist pig [yeah, I’ve got the definition for you to read] and I guess I am a little bit, but that was right in my face.

People there have the community that is based on love and peace, ideology they share and the lifestyle that makes them free spirits. At least the outer shell says that.

There was a lot of friendly and chatty people, it was welcoming, but more than ever I had to convince them that my presence is genuine.

About the gallery – strong vibes of artist PINKYVISION. I have been following the work on social platforms and that made me feel a bit more comfortable.
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Also very strong vibes of the workshops that Ground Gallery  hosts – art is covering nearly every inch of the space, it is like an art hub, the feeling seeing all that is quite special. It is like you are in someone’s world.
So I hope that one day I can go back to the gallery and be part of the art/making of art.

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The space is a magical as I expected, so I am so happy that made sure I am not imagining things.

When it comes to the party itself – there was some poetry, talks, music and jokes. Most of it covered the subject of peace and support of the Campaign Against Arms Trade.
These people care and they came together to celebrate that…

Thank you guys for answering my very straight questions, letting me be part of it and sorry if I need more time to feel comfortable around you.

The galley at the moment is on and off with the wokshops, so if you subscribe to their mailing list, you can be updated with the upcoming events, work shops.

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This week of Hull City Of Culture 2017 has been full of amazing things, so I’ve heard..I wish I could be at more than on place at the time, have more time on my hands…

Let’s see where the 23rd week takes me.

LOVE
Anete Sooda

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – WEEK 21

Months ago I had a feeling that this week will be the best week of the Hull City Of Culture 2017 photographic challenge and IT WAS F***** AMAZING.

With the sad notes on Tuesday I thought that there is not much that can lift the broken spirits, but it turns out that the unity, togetherness and community spirit will defeat the evil.

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday I went to the BBC Radio 1’s Academy  to see Bastille for a special Live Lounge.
My reasons for the excitement about BBC Radio 1 being in Hull is simple – that is my radio, my ear-family, my wake up call and I love all the DJ’s, they make me feel like home. Even when I am not in the UK.

Clara Amfo was hosting the Live Lounge and the Q&A with the band.

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I was actually really surprised that I was allowed my “professional gear” in both. Usually I would be told off, but this time it was rather lovely.  For the Q&A I was in the front row because I made good friends with few BBC members. Big “cheer” to BBC staff, security and organisers – really welcoming and helpful.

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And I am like “OMG I HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH OF BASTILLE, CLARA AMFO” and I have every right to be over the mooooooon.

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After the splendid time with Bastille I rushed to have a nosy at the actual Academy so I can milk it as much as my time allows.
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Plus I got to speak with to extremely talented photographers Thomas Arran and Shoot J Moore. These two guys I follow religiously on social media streams, they are an inspiration and honestly – motivation. Both have equally a lot of talent, still being different.
I apologise that I behaved like groupie – I think I am one. sorry.

Also a SHOUT OUT TO ALAN RAW – the father of BBC Introducing Humberside, creative director behind the HIP Gallery and other great stuff. He got a shout-out on Mr. Jam’s show the other week and I was really happy getting the broadcast UK wide.

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THURSDAY

The new arrival in Hull  Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition down Princess Dock Street was an interest to me. Just cos the Wild Life Photographer of the Year exhibition in Beverly was so incredible, I thought this is right up that level.

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The content is fantastic, the display alright and I spotted a few favourites. The space was lacking “the interests” and at that time in the morning, people rushed to work, so I really had to be patient.
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SATURDAY

This is not my usual content – politics. But this year I am going to use my vote. On Saturday I went down to Humber Street where an event organised by Anna Bean and the “crew” took place.  We Love Arts and Culture in Support of Labour #GE2017 was the title and because I am trying to understand which labour candidate I would like to vote for, the event was the perfect place for lazy.
I asked a  question of why so many artists choose to vote Labour and I was sold.
Here is some info if you are interested: Arts Policy Lounch from Jeremy Corbin

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People there supported Emma Hardy. And I can see why, her presence is very likable, she seems honest and she understands people and their needs. She was there to speak to people, hear them out. Unfortunately I can’t vote for her, but you can if you live in West Hull or Hessle.

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ART IS FOR MANY NOT FOR FEW

THE LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST – for some obvious reasons I had a quick look in to Kingston Art Group Gallery and got introduced with

WITCHE’S KNICKERS [slang/British] plastic bags snagged in trees and bushes – an exhibition that contains paintings and clothes.
Really liked the paintings and absolutely loved the clothes.
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BLASTING FANTASTIC WEEK AND OFF COURSE THE HIGHLIGHT – BASTILLE AND RADIO 1’s BIG WEEKEND.

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The festival photos will be on the blog within the next week – I shot three rolls of 35 mm film. Really excited to see what will come out.

LARKIN OUT FESTIVAL @LARKIN’S BAR

This year Hull is bursting with good events, festivals, performances and gatherings. And those are not necessarily part of the UK City Of Culture 2017, they are just here because all cities have culture any day, any year…. Newland and Princess Avenues are very cultural anyways, for a lot of people those areas have been the musts when looking for good food, drinks and entertainment.

So few weeks ago Larkin’s Bar hosted Bank Holiday mini-festival in its new magical beer garden with some fantastic live music, live art and off course Larkin’s Bar finger-licking food and real ales.

I have been waiting for a good moment to publish these and today is a perfect day for that – rain is poring down  and it smells like summer.

Also the festival has a special place in my heart as I met so many fantastic people and had the unexpected opportunity to meet a lot of bearded fellas who are helping me to create my BEARDOLOGY.

My main mission was to be there, tell people who I am by having a mini photo booth Anete’s style.
But I also did not miss out on an opportunity to capture the mood of the festival across two days.

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First thank you goes to Dan, the boss and the grafter of Larkin’s Bar for giving up the potential business space to me. There was no promise that I will be attracting thousands of clients, so that was super kind of him.

Second thanks goes to Calvin Innes from Drunk Animal for having me there, being so open mined and encouraging.

Third thanks goes to Paul – the mystery man behind so many bearded guys I took photos of and talked with. He had a fantastic beard himself and both days he was my support when I was too scared to approach beards.

The photo booth was not a massive banger amongst the regulars, but it was a blast with the beards.
Note: The beards are not ready to be published just yet, but the preview is coming soon.

I was working near the kitchen, so I was very close to the Larkin’s Bar magic- food is cooked by very best and tastes amazing [I tried it]

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And then the festival itself – so many people across two days, many of them interesting characters with interesting stories.

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As mentioned before there was live art by Calvin Innes – the Illustrator, Cartoonist and Artist and massive graffiti performed by Spray Creative.

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Larkin Out Festival was supported by Larkin’s Bar and Creative ENRG and the main reason was not just to entertain but to raise money for The Warren Youth Project. Since I was at the festival, I have looked at the amazing work they do, the support they are giving to young people and the most important-opportunity to create and learn.
I also looked up the Warren Records Three Minute Heroes album, it was amazing and I bought it. Really good quality music.

There was a moment at the festival where I have to be a professional – I was told that there is a group shot outside and I had to switch my work mode.

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Never the less my Speedlight batteries ran out of power that very moment, so I had to ask everyone to wait. No one likes to wait. But after the festival, I was curious what the fuss was about and I am so happy that I did. That is why I have the Three Minute Heroes album on my playlist.

Please, have a listen and maybe get it on your playlist too [link above].

 

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From music to beer – this guy was serving these amazing craft ales and beers, plus he was super friendly and got some stories to tell. His name is Micheal Charlton.

 

Overall it was the most tiring festival I’ve done, but most rewarding. And sometimes you just have to jump into the unknown and celebrate the things you love doing. The atmosphere at the festival was so fulfilling that I had to recover from the happiness shock for next three days [not even exaggerating].

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I hope that I can work with some of the people I’ve met there in the future, because I had the best time.