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Music For Sleeping

We recently staged a very special audiovisual event at St Helens Central Library as part of the ongoing Library of Dreams project. The show, entitled Music For Sleeping, featured animations, videos, sounds and spoken word recordings created by the public through a series of digital arts workshops at the library. The final presentation was a half hour long, surround sound journey with the audience laid on their backs on comfy mats, whilst watching the projections on the ceiling overhead.

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Experiments in Time

At the last outing for a small cinema, there was a lovely selection of short films, one in particular Luminaris, got me thinking about trying some stop motion, which I’ve never really done seriously, just tinkered with. This film inspired me to look at it from the perspective of travelling light, so I’ve been waiting for the right conditions and building up a small collection of footage. I’ve posted a short sample below.

I’m not quite sure where this will go, but it’s made me think about our work practice in a slightly different context relating to time, as in, without enough of it, you’re in trouble.

Independently, I’m often working on something that has little time for research and development, just a relatively quick output is required. I think what we try to do with Re-Dock is really have the time to do justice to a project, as well as thinking about it long term. There’s lot’s of examples, now I come to think of them, a small cinema, the Open Source Swan Pedalo, Funstella’s, Project Triangle, Mapping & Memory. They’re all still out there even after any initial funding has finished. We’re often asking ourselves, ‘is this a Re-Dock project?’ and this can often be decided on available time.

It’s also worth mentioning that making Re-Dock as ‘organisation free’ as possible gives us greater choice and control. We don’t have to take on projects just to sustain ourselves, but we do need time to invest our ideas into what we want Re-Dock to be and how to get there. It’s a difficult balance – but sharing ideas and supporting each other is at the crux of this, and that’s something I feel we’re getting right.



Visiting Octopus in Cumbria

At the beginning of March I made a trip up to Barrow-in-Furness to meet with Glenn Boulter and the rest of the team at Octopus Collective in Barrow-in-Furness to discuss our shared challenges of running a small art organisation.

Re-Dock worked with Octopus last August when they commissioned “Swan Pedalo Broadcasts” (a new collaboration between myself and fellow artist and tinkerer Dave Lynch.)  We had amazing few days, building and operating a pirate radio station from the lake in Barrow Park and creating a temporary space for dialogue and performance within the FON (Full of Noises) festival.  That week was also the beginning of Rebecca Mulvaney’s “two week” residency with Re-Dock – a baptism of fire!  Since Becky is still working with us it was fitting she should come along too.  Also present were Hwa Young Yung (Director of MadLab Manchester) and Ross Dalziel (Soundnetwork).

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Liverpool Ships and Sailors

Although our Mapping and Memory project has close, we’ve kept in contact with some of the participants, particularly the group known as the ‘Retired Merchant Seafarers’. It turns out that the group used to run a website where they had collected lots of stories and photographs and quite a large following. But, as happens, the running and maintanence of the site became quite a bit of work, coupled with increased hosting costs, this led to the site not rewnewed and the name has since been purchased by a holding company. All the data that was on the site is on a hard drive in someone’s shed – some has been lost. Read more…



L1 – the Map of the Films and the Film of the Map

2011 has been an incredibly busy year for Re-Dock, and we’re only just getting the chance to take stock and reflect on the work we’ve developed. One of the biggest projects we’ve ever undertaken was completed in September this year – the Mapping Memory project. I’m going to briefly talk about the two major outputs – the 1950’s Google Map, and the 40 minute documentary.

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Pier Head Time Warp

The Pier Head Time Warp was an  interactive video event by Re-Dock at the Museum of Liverpool on Saturday the 15th Oct.

We were asked by the Museum of Liverpool to run an activity that would get people working creatively with archive video, so we invented a time machine.

This time machine was in reality, a musical keyboard that through the magic of Isadora, could be used to trigger video, sound effects and audio memories relating to the Liverpool Pier Head.

Although we were aiming to appeal to people from 8 to 80, for the most part the people that really got into it were either 8 or 80.

I exaggerate here, but it did spark the interest of both young people and older adults at the same time, which is rare. Read more…



Let’s go fly a kite…

Its been over a year since we started work on the Mapping Memory project, investigating peoples’ experiences of Liverpool in the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s. We were given a new perspective on our work by John Quirk, a former electrical engineer and avid kite photographer.

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Swan Pedalo Broadcasts At FON

On Wednesday night I travelled from Liverpool to Barrow with John O’Shea and Dave Lynch to help set up and run a radio station on a pedalo. Our home became Lanternhouse in Ulverston and our base of operations was Barrow Park’s Piel House, which constantly buzzed with music and activity. We were joined by fellow Liverpool artists from the Sound Network, who built an incredible crazy golf course to be enjoyed for free by members of the public.

‘Swan Pedalo Broadcasts’  hosted talks between the likes of the Mayor of Barrow and Octopus Collective’s Andrew Deakin (about the arts, birdsong and being attacked by a carp) as well as a plethora of live performances from sound artists such as AGF and Simon Jones.

Forcing people into a confined space, on open water, where they had to pedal themselves around a pond somehow resulted in excellent conversations. These liaisons were broadcast live both around Barrow Park and online, which I had the pleasure of explaining to many of the park’s visitors, who assumed that we were up for hire.

I’d never been to Barrow before, but now I could probably confess myself to be a bit of an expert on the area. Councillor Helen Wall and Radio 4′s Bob Dickinson chatted to me at length about Barrow’s history and art scene before their voyage on the pedalo, suggesting that Abbey Road could soon become a hub of artistic activity. Whilst local journalist/DJ Molly joined me on board for a chat about her experiences growing up in the town.

Aside from the general lifting, carrying, unloading and scurrying that needs to be done in order to pull off a live event; I set up an internet radio station, delivered quite a few safety briefings and produced a fair amount of paperwork.

Andrew Helm from Revolutions Brewing Company taught me the basics of brewing my own beer, I learned how to make origami ‘balloons’ from Japanese artist Ryoko Akama and composer Philip Jeck gave me some brilliant advice on buying a record player.

One of my favourite conversations was with Japanese professor Tetsuo Kogawa after his performance on Saturday night, in which he disrupts and manipulates radio waves in order to produce ethereal sounds. Tetsuo is an expert on radio, he can make a transmitter with little more than some wire, a battery and a soldering iron (he even made an experimental transmitter for the Swan).

It’s difficult to sum up five days worth of experience in a single blog post, so I’m not going to be fool enough to try.



Are You Putting Eyeshadow On That Swan?

Grace the swan was moved from her home in the Albert Dock to Static Gallery on Tuesday where she was washed down and repainted in preparation for her journey to Barrow. I can now proudly add ‘hand painted a pedalo’ to my CV.

We also designed and created a hundred (limited edition!) Swandelier badges, which will be used as a way of saying thank you to all the people who help with the Open Source project.



Swan Pedalo Postcards


Two of the four postcards created to advertise ‘Swan Pedalo Broadcasts’ which will be aired live from Grace the pedalo at FON (Festival of Noise) in Barrow Park on the 5th and 6th of August.



A Small Cinema Recipe

Well, the bow-ties are off and the posters are taken down after our latest manifestation of “A Small Cinema” If you missed it then you can watch a video all about the event over on our Small Cinema blog (where you’ll also be able to view some of the films and read all about the progress of the project.)

“A Small Cinema” has now been through several incarnations and we are now asking ourselves the question:

What makes “A Successful Small Cinema”? Read more…



Screening Memories


A Small Cinema is back once more as next weekend we will put an event on in Kirkby town centre. The shop is transformed and ready, the (fantastic) leaflets and posters are out, and the film programme is nearly done.

But in someways, last week was already the highlight of the project.


On Thursday, me, John and Hannah ran a screenprint workshop with the Pingwood Arts Group in Kirkby. Together, we created cinema-style posters of the group’s memories of movies. It was a great day -the memories shared were really varied, personal and interesting, the group worked really hard and enjoyed the process, and the actual printed posters looked great.

It’s a very slow and steady process, from the discussion of memories of cinema, distilling these down to a single sentence, through to the more hands on weeding of the cut vinyl letters, and careful creation of the screen. The actual printing is very swift, and in someways becomes an adrenaline rush and a relief.

I think though, the poster activity is important and enjoyable for a few reasons:

1) It works as RESEARCH into the personal and collective experience of cinema

2) It VALUES and celebrates peoples own memories and experience

3) It crystalises the IDEA of cinema(s) into a very simple and distinct form of typographic design

.4) Screenprinting as a process encourages MULTIPLES! People can take away lots of (unique) copies of their poster, and so the ideas are shared further.

You can read more about the workshop here.