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.

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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 19

Another Hull City Of Culture 2017 week has gone by – for me it sometimes feels like I am unaware of so many things happening and my challenge is becoming content-less.

My excuses are workload and prioritising/juggling the life of newly established photographer.

This week I wanted to pay a visit to Artlink Hull, capture some people action in Queen Victoria square and Film&Talk: Dancing with Strangers:From Calais to England [unfortunately I exchanged this activity for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with family].

On Friday I also went down to Hull University for Death Cafe. From a professional/personal point the gathering was so important. For those who have been following me are aware of my photographic END OF LIFE CELEBRATIONS project. The project touches my heart strings, I don’t think that I have ever had such a deep affection with what I am doing as that, so it was good to be surrounded by people who don’t think I am a weird bird. I was also able to reflect on importance of the subject of end of life and death in our lives and that the imagery I have taken has got an original quality.

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The event took place in Derwent building, so I was thrown into this beautiful world of picturesque scenes. For that reason I thought I’ll try and capture some more and celebrate the cityscape of Hull.

 

Artlink Hull was hosting a Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Shortlist, weeks before the winner exhibits a single exhibition.

Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary offers a bursary and three month residency at high profile gallery to mid-career disabled visual artists based in the UK.

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Anna Berry

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Anna Berry

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I found that this exhibition was quite intimate and with a lot of personal reflections, so enjoyed it with my eyes, rather than behind the lens.

My favourite was Aidan Moesby’s Syndrome (ii). His work explores the Lima And Stockholm Syndromes. For me it was a throwback to the years when I was trying really hard to understand chemistry and the Periodic Table. What the artist has done – every element has a emotion/feeling underpinned and that is what I was feeling when going through it for exams and stuff.
It was a lovely reminder of why I have gone into photography.

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Artlink Hull is a very lovely space with lovely members of staff, so I hope I can go back in the future for some exciting things.

Over the weekend I managed to get out for a bit and I was rewarded – the light seemed to adjust to what I would like to see. It was like I was in control of it.
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It is valuable to see the ever changing city in a good light – we all look better when we are lit with light the right way.

 

This week I am super excited to be going to Depart on Saturday, so that will most likely be my highlight. But if I can I will squeeze in a visit to Ground down Beverley Road, cos that has been on my wishlist for weeks, also the The Train Track and Basket – Claire Barber is on my list.

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – WEEK 11

Week 11 of my challenge being involved in Hull City Of Culture 2017 started off with a little panic – the work load glued me to the computer screen during the days, so how can I go out and be part of the celebration??
Also, the sudden reminder that The Blade is moving on Sunday, made me realise that the unfinished Slinkachu project must be executed this week.

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I finished off the set, little worried of how I am going to get two fragile sets in town.

My aim was to photograph these sets of Slinkachu and Hull City Of Culture 2017 [home-made] flags near The Blade. I’ll explain my reasons later in the post.

 

On Thursday however, I had a meeting in town so to be efficient, I decided that I finally want to visit HIP Gallery in Princess Quay and Hullywood Icons exhibition. There has been a lot of excitement about the exhibition, so I had to see the execution of photographs by Quentin Budworth .

Also, I got Oliver Fisher [very wise man and my accountant/marketing adviser] cultured.

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I have mixed feelings about the exhibition. First, the idea is really good, I like that local “celebs” and “known” people are involved and have been turned into these fantastic characters. The project is about Hull, about the world around us.

But then, I am slightly disappointed about the photographic and editing quality. Photographs are lacking professional quality and post-production on few are quite dreadful [like the one above]. I understand that everything is about the content and we celebrate…but everything from the idea to the end result should be 100% quality.
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Why on earth would you edit this together, if it is a lot more easier to do in real life. It is funny and a bit sad at the same time.

The other problem I had was the information about how the final photographs come together.
Instead if Quentin coming up with the idea of the movie, theme, characters and location/props, he asks to do all this to the people wanting to be part of the project and he just turns up with the camera.

The hype around the artist made me think that the whole thing is set up by the artist, I guess I just have to read in between the lines next time…

Overall, 6 out of 10. Great to see people involved and the ideas in each photograph.

Whilst in the gallery, I had a quick chat with the Creative and Cultural Company volunteers about the upcoming events, exhibitions [need to be informed at all times].

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On our way to the exhibition I approached a familiar face of a Hull City Of Culture 2017 volunteer to make sure I know the exact date/time of The Blade leaving Queen Victoria Square.

It was lovely that she remembered me from another event I went to few weeks ago. When I asked if she could spare a smile, she was more than happy to have her picture taken.
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The same Thursday morning I walked down the  Whitefriargate and Preston Likely’s Amuse Agents – Hull’s Premier Inconvenience Store

I was there on the WEEK 1  of my challenge, but I wanted to have a second look during the day.
Sometimes exhibitions and other art events have to be seen twice to have a complete understanding.

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People still stop by and have a sneaky look. Maybe because some of the posters/photos/adverts are hard to believe or are too bizarre to be true.

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The installation is very much Hull and it feels comforting in a strange way. Sense of unity and a whole…

I don’t really walk through Whitefriargate that often, the shop windows have changed. Years ago it was busy shopping area, but now it is kind of dead.

There a lot of promises given, by the looks of it, so hopefully the area will get its charm back soon.

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There is more…as I was passing the Queen Victoria Square multiple times, I was lucky to see the Roots&Routes season POPPIES: WEEPING WINDOW installation being set up.

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I was trying to get the Hull Maritime Museum in the frame, I climbed on top of the men’s loos, near the monument just opposite the building. Being there for two minutes gives me an opportunity to watch people from above and ohh, there was a few characters.

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This guy was completely from 90’s with his sunglasses/glasses – the ones that you can flop. haha.

SATURDAY.

On Saturday I neatly packed my Slinkachu sets and headed in town.

I draw a lot of attention from the public and volunteers, as they wanted to know what is going on.

One of them kindly tried to help me with the execution.

 

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Sadly there was problems.
The first one was the equipment – 24-70 mm 2.8 and 85 mm 1.8 did not cope with the small set.
My phone camera [Huawei Leica] did a much better job.
I will have to get my hands on a macro lens to be able to photograph this properly. In the past I have tried Slinkachu technique, but with much bigger figures, so I was kind of expecting the failure, but hoped that I will find a compromise.

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The reason why I wanted to create this is to express how I feel around The Blade – I feel small and being put on a scale. The Blade is fascinating piece of structure [art now] and no one can pass it without feeling something.

I also struggled to position the set, so that it looks like real life [the whole idea behind Slinkachu], I was even on my knees in the square.

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The plan did not work, but I have kept the sets and will find a way how to make this work.
I also have another set for a attraction point in Hull, so keep your eyes out for that.

 

SUNDAY.

 

On Sunday I walked down to Humber Street Market. My purpose was to photograph a lovely family business BLOSSOM’S BAKERY stall and try their gluten free, vegan cakes and other sweet things.

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Such a lovely lady/family, everything made with love and I wish them the best luck in succeeding.

Off course, I spent a bit more time and money in the market.
But I have to say, that Hull now has a regular socialising place and if you are super bored at home, you have an opportunity to get out and do something.

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Last but not least, I visited the Female Gaze exhibition at the Kingston Art Group Gallery and spent QUALITY TIME with Anna Bean.
She got me and Melanie THE KID cultured, along with other artists featured in the exhibition. We chatted about the meaning of female gaze, about narcissism and how complicated art can be.

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As you can see I have been here, there and everywhere, bringing you the most random combination of Hull City Of Culture 2017 so far.

Until writing the finishing lines to this post, I did not realise how much I’ve managed to pack in this week.

I will see you next week with more exciting stuff.

Love

Anete Sooda

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – WEEK 2

Week 2 started with a positive feedback and urge to get something  “Hull 2017” in the blog each week.

Week 2 started with The Blade. Art installation as part of the  Look Up, a programme of temporary artworks created for the city’s public spaces and places.
The artist Nayan Kulkarni took the very first wind turbine blade made in the newly built Siemens factory in Hull and installed it in Queen Victoria Square. He took it out of context and turned it into an abstract object that we feel empowered by.

And it actually does make you feel small. The need to touch it is so strong, you can’t help it.

Anyway, throughout the week I was thinking about the blade, and on Saturday I visited the “monster”.

I don’t think that any of the photos I took does justice to the installation.  So many people wanting to be part of the experience is certainly something that I need to avoid.

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In the week three I am planning to get there bright and early on a weekday and possibly try to get 4 feet above ground to capture the blade fully [might start to fly].

On the same day I went to the re-opened Ferens Art Gallery to see the Pietro Lorenzetti “SIENA TO HULL, A MASTERPIECE REVEALED” exhibition and Ferens Open Exhibition.

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I actually did not realise that I am part of Hull 2017 this year, because I have two artworks/photographs in the exhibition this year.

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Great.

The last stop was Hull Maritime Museum and BOWHEAD installation.
I am not a big fan of  museums and to my disappointment we missed the last show of the day, so to my unfortunate luck, I had a little stroll around the museum. Again, I was very much interested in things that people are not seeing [like a “bumhole” as part of the whale hunting display or something].

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The museum is great, it is worth having a look, it’s just that I am not very “history appreciative”.

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I know that not every week will be full of stunning photos, unforgettable visits, but getting involved, or even thinking about and planning to be part of the Hull 2017, is healthy and we shall all embrace it.

If I can’t soak up any culture myself, I will take photographs of people who do, or volunteers.

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See you next week, Hull.