Monday, 28 November 2011

Books and Talks

John Leighton
By John Leighton, Shop Manager

One of the many good things about our programme of talks and lectures is their considerable literary background and the opportunity it provides to highlight some very interesting books.

On the 30th November, Professor Patrick McGuinness joins us to discuss JK Huysmans Against Nature and the artistic reactions to the scientific breakthroughs and moral codes of the day. If that hasn’t already got your literary taste buds salivating, McGuinness is also the author of The Last Hundred Days, recently Booker long listed and already a favourite with the more discerning reader.It’s an absorbing, semi-autobiographical novel about the last days of Ceaucescu’s Romania.

Compared favourably to Isherwood’s Berlin novels it bodes well for a very interesting evening.

If you prefer Doctors to Professors, how about Dr Conor Cunningham, on the 14th of December? He’ll be with us to present a fresh look at Charles Darwin, the origin of the Species and how both have been hijacked by extremists on both sides of a very long argument. Darwin’s Pious Idea has already garnered considerable acclaim in the book world and this event gives you an opportunity to visit those ideas with the author and then perhaps spend some time with the book at your leisure.

As the nights get longer and colder, two very interesting evenings and two very readable books to keep you going – both available in our shop, The Last Hundred Days, published by Poetry Wales Press and Darwin’s Pious Idea, published by William B Eardmanns.

Related events
Patrick McGuinness, AgainstNature, 30th November. 7pm. Free. More

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sound Fountains

Caroline Locke's Sound Fountains will be at Nottingham Contemporary on Sat 26 and Sun 27 Nov between 11am - 4pm and Sat from 7.30pm. Drop in, free. Find out more at

By Caroline Locke
One of the functions of the installation is to explore how sound moves visually - deepening the understanding of what sound really is– a series of movements in time - a transmission of energy by a series of vibrations.
Caroline Locke, Sound Fountain, 2011
I first developed vibration tanks when exploring wave formations and before replacing the motors with speakers. I went on to create The Maasticht Sound Fountain – a permanent sculpture commissioned by The University of Maastricht - where sound waves move through the water allowing the spectator to experience the sight of sound.

I am interested in exploring the relationship of the spectator and the performer and the opportunities to blur their respective roles within contemporary art practices. I have been investigating ways in which a spectator can engage more in my work through direct interaction. For example: a spectator will become performer and integral to the work by triggering sensors, which orchestrate changes within the exhibition space.

During a 3-month residency as Visiting Academic at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, I began working with Casey Rice - a noted sound specialist and Max Msp software programmer from the USA.

Caroline Locke, Sound Fountain, 2011

In April 2007, the Arts council of England funded a further period of research with Rice, to develop our initial experimentation. I flew out to work alongside him in his studio in Melbourne, Australia. The outcome of this research forms the basis of Sound Fountains.

Over the last 2 years we have updated and extended this research within the Faculty at The University Of Derby. Alex Gibbins, Lecturer in Multimedia Technology has worked with myself and students using Max Msp software and Interactive technologies. We have used this project as a case study, exploring and experimenting with new devices – giving students access to cutting edge equipment and challenging ways of utilizing it.

I am now enjoying the process of building a new version of the work for Nottingham Contemporary – bringing the research back home after along time working away. The work shares some of the concerns of Weber’s, drawing on natural forces, using sound vibrations, water and notions of order and chaos.

Rehearsals for the live performance began last week with musicians Steve Truman and Sam Hempton. For some time I have been alone with the work, it is good now to share it with fellow admirers. We feel like we are part of a laboratory experiment. Looking at the water surface of the sound fountains is like staring into a fire – we become absorbed.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Zebra Logo

By Klaus Weber

Klaus Weber
The zebra is related to art expressly because it has a pattern. What I like abut zebras is that it’s a camouflage against a background.

My logo was actually influenced by homeopathy. The Local Homeopathy Society of London and Bristol has two lions fighting with each other. This symbolises treating like with like. In homeopathy you treat an illness by inducing the same symptoms. This is feeding fire with fire. The logo is feeding art with art – fighting against art with art.

The logo is really intense. It represents artistic attitude. I wanted it to be something that represented the best an art institution can represent in terms of its spirit and attitude.

In homeopathy the remedy is very diluted – but from the perspective of homeopathy it’s intensified. Dilution makes it more effective than the orginal. It is so dilute that you can’t prove the solution contains the remedy. As it becomes more potent you lose the scientific rationale. Art is more potent, too, as you lose a scientific rationale.

Logo by Klaus Weber

Zebras are also beautiful animals. And I love nature. Nature and art are totally on the same wavelength because both are anti-civil. One is by nature anti-civil – and art itself should work against civilisation.
The zebras are definitely fighting, they are not playing. There is a German saying “where there is love there is also fighting.” They are gay, but they have never told anyone.”

Klaus Weber, If you leave me I'm not coming and Already there! can be seen at Nottingham Contemporary until 8 January 2012.