HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2019

My initial plans to include Heads Up festival within the future culture post changed after seeing NOW IS TIME TO SAY NOTHING. I really want to tell you the multilayered story of how the installation made me feel and what impact the festival has on people.

NOW IT IS TIME TO SAY NOTHING by Caroline Williams and Reem Karssli is a 60 minute long interactive video installation, that also requires viewers participation.

Reem Karssli is a Syrian film-maker who witnessed Syrian conflict living in Damascus. Caroline suggests to connect with a group of young Londoners via Skype and talk about her life and work. It turns into a four year long collaboration and the end product is a powerful 60 minute long experience. There are no words that I could type here to give justice to the work, it is something to be experienced.

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The idea behind the installation is to question and challenge the armchair passivity. The installation starts with a circle of comfortable armchairs and a small, old fashioned television in front of each chair. The viewer puts on headphones and delve into the armchair for the unknown.

Throughout the installation there are various stages where you are asked to get up and get together with other viewers. Again to challenge a perception of emotional safe space that you save for yourself when most vulnerable.

 

Over the years I have seen a few contemporary art installations, exhibitions, cultural experiences, but never before I felt speechless and emotionally shattered at the end. I needed a few moments to be able to look up and discuss what I have seen, but as soon as the words crossed my lips, tears started choking my throat.

The moment during installation where your hand was inches away from the screen and you felt the static nipping your fingers was the only thing I could imagine visually as a photograph.
The rest was an experience to be felt with every inch of your body, every brain cell.

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My mind was in a state of confusion. The most powerful part was the young niece expressing her hopelessness, interviewed by Reem. I wished at that very moment that I could show that part of footage to the evil that is behind the Syrian conflict. Tie him/her/group of to the chair and make him/her/them watch it over and over again until he/her/they can’t see the screen and hear a word. I was upset and angry.  The other moment that I will not forget was the falling snow and dancing in a circle with myself. I embraced the moment and it took me to my own experiences in the past. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

Over the following days I felt an urge to discuss the installation with others, I wanted to know if others had the same impact. On Saturday before another Heads Up event I met up with Michelle Dee, the writer and freelance journalist who reviews all the shows. The fact that she was also feeling similar was comforting. In her review she wrote:

“I’m tearing up even now recalling the image of a young girl, Reem’s sister I think, carefully folding and refolding a red shirt, packing it away into a suitcase in a cramped bedroom. She is clearly traumatised, she breaks down, her words escaping her mouth faster and faster, until becoming a cry of despair. She says that she would rather die than face the daily, monotonous torture of being trapped inside by the threat of the bombs falling outside.

What can one person do about a war that is happening thousands of miles away? The pillars of democracy in the west are about as stable and secure as the crumbling remains of the bombed buildings in Syria. Now is Not the time to say nothing. ”

You can read the full review and the other Heads Up reviews via link below:
Michelle Dee Review Now Is Time To Say Nothing

 

Today nearly a week after of seeing the installation nothing has changed in my life. I still watch television occasionally from my sofa or bed, I hear news, watch documentaries and allow everything pass quietly as I am too busy to live my own reality. But there is this lingering shame and feeling of helplessness that I am not part of the global concern about the conflicts that happen around the world or social issues in my own community/city.  I question if small actions and good causes can make up for the ignorance? Or if everything is just too big to grasp and I need to focus on my own life and family?

I can definitely say that Now It Is Time To Say Nothing is the most important contemporary art I have ever seen.

Heads Up festival is a very special festival – a mixture of theatre, contemporary art and installations that makes you think, question, imagine and explore. For the third time I had the honours to photograph the events and I am so thankful for the opportunity.
Thanks to E52 team and artists involved for amazing feedback.

 

Here are the highlights from heads Up 2019

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IS HE ON THE LINE..? by British artist Jez Dolan and Icelandic composer Ingibjorg Yr Skarphethinsdottir
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Dean Wilson: East Coast Fever A short film by Dave Lee
Dave Lee The Orchidian
The Orchidian, a monologue written and directed by Dave Lee
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RACE CARDS by Selina Thompson
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THE LAND’S HEAR IS GREATER THAN ITS MAP by Olivia Furber, Ramzi Maqdisi, 9t Antiope and Hannah Mason
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THE PAPER CINEMAS MACBETH

 

Did you had a chance to see any of the events? What are your thoughts?

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – MARCH 2018

HAPPY EASTER, HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY[yesterday], HAPPY DAY TO BE ALIVE.

HAPPY.
AND WELCOME TO THE MARCH EDITION OF MY CULTURE IN HULL 2018.

I must admit that it is hard to write and focus on work today, I am in a 100% long weekend mood.  So I will try.. and if by accident I publish it only on the 2nd April [today], you’ll know that I gave in on chocolate eggs. And a nap.

 

March brought some lovely culture experiences and quite a tense works schedule at times. I have been in and out of “busy” and running low on fuel reserves from winter season. We are ready for spring!

Culture highlights:

#1 HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2018

#2 ARTLINK JASON WILSHER-MILLS UNEXPECTED ENGAGEMENT ARTIST TALK

#3  GROUND GALLERY HULL PRESENTS BLUEBEANY’S ARTIST TALK

#4 TRINITY MARKET EXPLORATION NR. 1

Since 2018 unfolded as the year after an amazing year of 2017, I can easily make my own rules of how I will culture myself, I feel no pressure. Everything is in a relaxed manner. So in March I tried to combine personal interests with must-see’s and bit of good old Hull walks with camera. That applies to the need to witness the change and progress and see where do we go from 2017.

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Collecting photographs and stories in March has been the easy part. Writing can get tricky.

I try to have some one-to-one time with the city, get on the road geared up with camera and in March I soaked up one day of spring in an hour long walk through derelict area of Hull [kind of].
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Some of the “edgelands” is up for a development soon, so maybe it is worth catching few photographs of the land, before it changes.

The best experience in March was the HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2018

I was invited to be their photographer this year and that rolled me straight into a number of cultural events. Hull based company E52, in conjunction with renowned venue and producer Battersea Arts Centre, presents some of the most exciting contemporary British and international theatre at venues throughout the city of Hull.
The festival takes place twice a year, with Spring and Autumn seasons, and also includes locally-curated and produced work, workshops, new productions, networking events, talks, art events, school projects, and exhibitions.

 

First one was UGLY CHIEF – artist and performer Victoria Melody teams up with her dad, TV antique dealer Mike Melody, for her most ambitious show yet. Ugly Chief is a comedy based on true-life events, performed by a real-life father and daughter. As I can create any spoilers  – it is about setting up a funeral by Victoria for her dad, who was falsely diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given five years to live. In the show, they preform two funerals – one that Victoria wanted for her dad, and second funeral that dad wanted to have for himself.

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The show was wonderful, witty, clever and emotional at times. And the fact that it was another take on taboo subject such as death, funerals really made it my cup of tea.
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Two of the events took place in Kardomah94 across the week.
Heads Up Introducing with Lyn Acton, singer with Pearls Cab Ride and Bill Drummond Daffodils&Death

Both brought me some new knowledge about different art forms, I got to know Lyn Acton and Pearls Cab Ride , not just as one of the bands playing at Freedom Festival, but as culturally important figure in Hull and jazz music scene in Yorkshire.

She laughed, cried, shared and cherished her stories and musical influences and favourites.

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Bill Drummond Daffodils&Death was just a bit random. Enjoyable random.
But my favourite new knowledge was that Bill once was in a band called The KLF and had hell of a performance at 1992 BRIT Award Ceremony.

And to back up that it really happened in 1992, Bill Drummond, between he’s shows came to the sound desk and said  “I can’t wait for this to be over, so I can have a proper drink”

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Third one was SPONGE by Turned On Its Head

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That was ultimate kids show using sponges in various shapes, forms, colours and sizes, that will be stuck in my memory as a nightmare light change to capture in photographs.
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The last event of the festival, I was taking photos of was the DARK WINTER by David Mark.

I was present at the last of the dress rehearsals and only stayed for 30 min. And in that short time I witnessed some serious theatre. Set in Hull and based on the thrilling crime novel by bestselling author David Mark, E 52 bring Aector McAvoy’s first case to the stage in a stunning adaptation by award winning writers Richard Vergette.

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And hell yeah, it was mind blowing. The level of acting and theatre performance was high standard and having Hull as main characteristics made it to be my favourites. The sound and light was to match the high standards of performance. One word – gutted not seen the full performance.

Photos above: Production team, E52 crew and stage manager.

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Million thanks to Heads Up team for having me on board. Great pleasure, great pleasure.

 

In March there was an important note in my diary – to see Jason Whilsher-Mills with my own eyes in his artist talk about currently displayed Unexpected Engagement at Artlink. I rarely get to see artist gatherings and talks, as I am working evenings, so this was real treat for my brain on Saturday, 13th March.

Jason Wilsher-Mills is Square Peg’s artist-in-residence for 2017.

Square Peg, the user-led diversity and disability arts programme from Artlink has teamed up with Jason to bring the stories of diverse communities in Hull to everyone’s attention.

New technologies have helped Jason give life to his ideas on disability, childhood memory and popular culture, creating new narratives. We met to discuss this and his upcoming exhibition Unexpected Engagement at Artlink.

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More than anything, I took away Jason’s story of how he embraced digital technology, instead of sticking to what he was used to. He stepped out his comfort zone, embraced the change and it took him to the highs of a success. And for someone like me it is the best lesson to learn. Change is scary,but change is good.

The talk itself was wonderful, I really liked Jason’s sense of humour, honesty and the event was a great experience to see his other work.

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At the end of it, I joined the rest for a second look at the exhibition and helped others to get their heads around the 3D experience with sculptures and tablet.

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The end of the month got a bit distracting and I kind of ditched the culture for a bit. I had few little culture things on my mind, but instead I went for a nosy at newly refurbished Trinity Market and have the famous Cone Queen – Cone Pizza.

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The space is very “fresh” at the moment, but I could already see the potential and Hull’s own stamp on the units available. Hull people have turned in proper foodies  and I am really liking it.

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During the last days of March, I also wanted to make it to BLUEBEANY’S talk at GROUND GALLERY HULL
Ground Gallery is one of my favourite discoveries in 2017 and Anna Bean with her exhibition is definitely a very good news to have for the gallery.

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I was very late [cos of work], so I had no hopes of seeing the talk and I kind of made it to the very end. Just as I got to the gallery, I realised that it is fully packed with people and that brought a big grim on my face – for Anna Bean and for the Ground.

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The last few days of the month of course went a bit mad – Easter, all the excitement of nationally long Bank Holiday weekend and unfinished business.
But I had to see one last thing – Artist Take Over at Queens House Showcase last day with cakes, tea and artists themselves.
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The space gives a good ground start to artist to exhibit, have the experience of sharing their work and running workshops and in the future we are about to see more work exhibited.

So… the more the spring, summer is mentioned, the more culture we are going to see – good news for me and exciting times for Hull.
Hull Street Food Nights are back in April, Humber Street Gallery has some exciting exhibitions already on display, Studio Eleven is providing us with some high end and super quality sculpture-work and so on…

I have some of the above on the menu,  Auschwitz and work in April. Yaass!

Happy Culture!

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – WEEK 45

HELLO CULTURE LOVERS.

FOR THE FIRST TIME I HAVE GIVEN MYSELF TOO MUCH CULTURE HENCE TOO MUCH WORK TODAY SO I’LL KEEP THIS SHORT ‘N SWEET.

FIRST OF ALL – IN A NORMAL WEEK I WOULD BE RATHER HAPPY WITH THE AMOUNT OF CULTURE ACHIEVED LAST WEEK, BUT AS THE HULL COMEDY FESTIVAL 2017 IS TAKING UP SOO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY, I AM RUSHING TODAY TO SQUEEZE IN MY CULTURE WONDERS IN ONE SENTENCE.

WEEK 45 LIST:

THE TOOL APPRECIATION SOCIETY @HULL CENTRAL LIBRARY

TORN @HUMBER STREET GALLERY

RE:DEFINED @STUDIO ELEVEN

ACT VI:THE LAND OF GREEN GINGER UNLEASHED

+ 4 NIGHTS OF LIVE COMEDY ACROSS VENUES IN THE CITY

 

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HULL CENTRAL LIBRARY IS PRETTY COOL LIBRARY AND BEFORE HEADING TO  THE TOOL APPRECIATION SOCIETY @HULL CENTRAL LIBRARY EXHIBITION I FOUND THIS BEAUTIFUL PHOTO 3D SCULPTURE THAT CELEBRATES EVENTS VIA CULTURE OF READING, LOVING BOOKS AND LITERATURE (?)

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NOTE: APOLOGISE IF I HAVE BROKEN RULES BY TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE TOOL APPRECIATION SOCIETY @HULL CENTRAL LIBRARY DISPLAYS/EXHIBITION. I ONLY NOTICED THE SIGN ON MY WAY OUT WHEN IT WAS ALL DONE AND DUSTED. WOOPS.

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EXHIBITION IS LOVELY, SPACE CERTAINLY GIVES A SENSE OF GREATNESS. FOR WHAT ITS WORTH – WE RARELY THINK ABOUT ART OF MAKING TOOLS, AS WE USE TOOLS TO MAKE SOMETHING. ARTIST LINDA BROTHWELL HAS TAKEN THIS THOUGHT TO ANOTHER LEVEL AND I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF FOR RECOGNISING THE IDEA BEHIND THIS. CULTUREEEEEEEE!!!!

ON MY WEEKS ONLY PROPER CULTURE DAY [APART FROM ACT VI:THE LAND OF GREEN GINGER UNLEASHED] I ACTUALLY WAS LOOKING FOR CLUES OF SATURDAY’S EXTRAVAGANZA, SO I TOOK AN OPPORTUNITY TO SAY HELLO TO MY CITY JUST BY WALKING THROUGH THE TINY STREETS AND ALLEYS.

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AND SAID HELLO TO THE WEIRD AND  WONDERFUL HULL

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I FOUND THREE CLUES OF ACT VI:THE LAND OF GREEN GINGER UNLEASHED AND ONE OF THEM PROUDLY SPOTTED IN THE DARK HOUR TUESDAY NIGHT.

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THERE WAS A FEW IDEAS OF VISITING EXHIBITIONS, BUT SOME WERE STILL ASLEEP WHEN I WALKED PAST, SO I POPPED DOWN TO HUMBER STREET FOR THE TORN @HUMBER STREET GALLERY AND RE:DEFINED @STUDIO ELEVEN.

TORN @HUMBER STREET GALLERY

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THIS CERTAINLY WAS NOT MY CUP OF TEA AND I THINK YOU CAN TELL, HUH?

RE:DEFINED @STUDIO ELEVEN

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I AM ABSOLUTELY INLOVE WITH STUDIO ELEVEN AND I NEED TO BE A BIT ASHAMED THAT I’VE NEVER BEEN IN THERE BEFORE.

I HAVE STARTED TO LEARN THAT SOMETIMES THE PLACES THAT YOU LEAST EXPECT TO SURPRISE YOU, ACTUALLY MAKE YOUR DAY/WEEK. AND THIS WAS DEFINITELY THE CASE.

COASTAL DISAPPOINTMENTS WAS MY FAVOURITE EXHIBITION [THAT IS NOT PHOTOGRAPHY OF COURSE] SINCE STATES OF PLAY @HUMBER STREET GALLERY BACK IN AUGUST. AND I WAS RAVING ABOUT THAT EXHIBITION…..

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IT IS SO WITTY,SHARP AND A PERFECT DOSE OF CONSUMER-CONCERNED SARCASM. LOVED IT. AND MOST OF THE LITTLE SOUVENIR BITS WOULD BE THE PERFECT PRESENT FOR MY LOVELY SISTER. AN THIS IS WHAT ART SHOULD BE ABOUT – FINDING THE PEOPLE WHO WOULD MAKE SENSE AND USE OUT OF IT.

OTHER BITS LOVELY TOO:

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+ THANK YOU FOR THE BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS CARDS.

 

SATURDAY OFF COURSE WAS THE DAY FOR ACT VI:THE LAND OF GREEN GINGER UNLEASHED TO FINALLY SEE DAYLIGHT [NIGHTLIGHT]

THE LEGEND SAYS THAT ANETE WAS WAITING FOR THIS IMPATIENTLY FOR WEEKS AND DESPITE THAT WAS LATE FOR THE BEGINNING. AHHH.

IT WAS A VERY TIRED SATURDAY WITH A FULL ON COMEDY NIGHT AFTER, SO THE ENERGY THAT WENT INTO TAKING PERFECT SNAPS WAS JUST NOT THERE. HOWEVER I LOVED EVERYTHING. IT WAS SWEET, CLEVER, TINY BIT SCARY AND FUN FOR THE LITTLE ONES. I WAS ALSO “ATTACKED” BY ONE OF THE CHARACTERS, I WISH SOMEONE RECORDED THAT…

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OVERALL GREAT WEEK, I JUST WISH I HAD A BIT OF SENSIBILITY TO MY ABILITIES TO FINISH EVERYTHING AND STILL BE CAPABLE OF PHOTOGRAPHING/EDITING THE HULL COMEDY FESTIVAL 2017

THIS WEEK IS CRAZY, MY DIARY IS FULL, SO I WILL BE LUCKY TO GET OUT AND GET CULTURED. IF…

PLEASE, HAVE A LOOK AT THE HULL COMEDY FESTIVAL 2017 PROGRAMME, THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON AND 99% OF IT IS TOP MARKS COMEDY FOR ALL SHAPES AND SIZES [OF THE BRAIN CELLS].

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK :)