Once every two years, Spank The Monkey returns to the city of his birth for a weekend-long culture binge at the Manchester International Festival. Here’s what he saw this year.
In which Ann Jones goes for a stroll around something new.
A visit to MIRRORCITY makes Ann Jones reflect on the way curatorial decisions affect the way we see art.
Ann Jones on two new exhibitions in London.
Don’t you wish you’d bet on the Turner Prize when Mostly Film predicted the winner in October?
by Ann Jones
Although film and video have been a regular feature of Turner Prize exhibitions for years, it’s rare for two of the four short-listed artists to be working with moving image, and I don’t think I can remember a previous show with raked seating more akin to a cinema than a gallery space. What perhaps makes this more unusual is that, arguably, it’s the other two artists on the shortlist who are the storytellers (although one of them explicitly denies the narrative aspect of his work and the other one so totally fails to engage my attention that I’ve no way of being sure).
Ann Jones looks at Richard Wilson’s Italian-Job-inspired artwork
I can’t remember when I first saw The Italian Job or what I thought of it with any degree of accuracy but I put the vague affection I have for it down to the Minis – I’ve only owned three cars and two of them were Minis (one white, one blue: by rights I should now be driving a red Mini rather than a black VW). Well, that and not remembering much about it; I have a sneaking suspicion that that might help. But even I remember a few key things and chief amongst those (apart from quite how beautiful Michael Caine was then) is the cliff-hanger ending and the red, white and blueness of both Minis and coach. This is a flag-waving film, with the coach – precariously balancing half on and half off the cliff at the end – as the flag. And of course it’s a 1960s film, and – caution: ridiculous generalisation approaching – the sixties were all about London. So in this year of London-centred flag-waving, there’s a certain logic to taking another, playful look at The Italian Job. In Bexhill-on-Sea. In the form of an art installation.
by Ann Jones
Patrick Keiller is a hard man to describe: an architect who makes films, a filmmaker who makes art, an artist who curates installations. He’s certainly someone who seems to keep his options open so that his films may also become books, or art installations such as this one. Perhaps woollier descriptions like cultural commentator are needed. Or perhaps it’s better to think about what connects different aspects of his work. At the heart of much of Keiller’s work is the notion that by looking at the past we can find out about the future. Continue reading The Robinson Institute
by Ann Jones
Forgive the cliché, but it’s the end of an era. Today the analogue television signal gets switched off. I know it’s long gone from some parts of the UK but the final stage of the switch-off is upon us and I live in London which is part of the last wave so I’ve been blithely ignoring the gradual loss of the analogue channels that’s been making its way across the country area by area for a few years. And okay, so it’s hardly the end of days. Telly will continue. For most of us, apart from the minor inconvenience of having to retune, and maybe install a digibox so that that old TV that we’re not quite sure why we still have keeps working, nothing much will change. But even so, it feels important somehow. And what better way to mark the occasion than to cram in as much analogue telly as possible while I have the chance? Fortunately David Hall’s exhibition End Piece … at Ambika P3 offers the perfect opportunity.