Friday, 23 March 2007


A Society of Little Beings

The two objects in this image have a relationship through their formal qualities. For example, both have been made with everyday materials that we are familiar with but are not used to seeing in this form or context. The similar scale of the objects makes the relationship work: although they are similar in scale, one being small and one being tall creates just enough harmony and discordance within the relationship. Although there is a space between them they are still close enough together to be seen as having a relationship: the tall one is facing the small one and it looks as if it is watching over it or looking down on it. The square pieces of cardboard on the front of the small object relate to the cardboard used in the taller object and because they are square in shape they also reflect the structured form of the taller object. I also think that because they've been made by one person that a relationship can be seen through the language.

On Kawara: 'I am still alive'

The artist On Kawara sent a series of telegrams to friends saying : I am still alive. Although the telegrams were sent during the 1970s, I feel that this work is very relevant today in the current climate of contemporary art where the role of Relational Aesthetics is now prevalent. What I like about this piece of work is that it shows relational art working outside the normal art context i.e. outside the gallery space or studio space. A new space has been created whereby all forms of human relations and sociabilty, become a vehicle for creating art. It shows a different way of making art i.e. instead of making art in a private space, the art is actually made in the outside world. These simple telegrams were sent to people by the artist, which created a relational interstice between the artist and people in the outside world.

Relational (art)
A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independant and private space.

Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics,les presses du reel

10 July 1921: (from left to right) Freddy Bywaters, Edith and Percy Thompson (Courtessy of Associated Newspapers Press)

For a Synopsys of the story into the case of Edith Thompson and Freddy Bywaters from the book Criminal Justice : please look in 'comments'

The relationship between the people in this image is suggested strongly by the body language. A woman between two men. The men seem to be quite content in that male way i.e. reading the newspaper, but she looks as if she is in deep thought possibly troubled. She's not looking at the camera instead she's staring into space. She is sat closer to Percy, which could indicate that this is the person she is closest to; or is she sitting closer to him becaause she feels she must. Edith and Freddy look closer in age and both are very handsome. Percy almost looks like the father (figure) of Edith and Freddy. Percy looks more mature, and Freddy and Edith look very youthful.

I also think the relationship between them and the photographer is interesting. It's almost as if they don't realise the photo is being taken, because none of them are paying attention i.e. they're not looking at the camera or smiling etc. but maybe that was the fashion in the 20s i.e. to have pictures taken but not pose for them - or maybe this was the pose?? (i.e. to look natural and unposed). On the other hand, I don't think it would be very easy to contrive that forlorn look on Edith's face, so maybe they were caught off their guard.

What I find most disturbing about the Thompson and Bywater's story, is the relationship of society towards Edith Thompson. She did not committ murder, yet still they hung her; she had sex outside marriage and they were not going to let her get away with it. It seems that she was condemned by the so called 'rightious'.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007



All four kept falling, tumbling and bouncing from crevice to crevice until they hit the bottom with a thud and a squelch. They looked around at each other and at their surroundings, and wondered where on earth they had landed and how they would ever get out.

“Oh… ouch my leg!” cried Doh the spotted monkey

“Are you OK?” shouted Canine the rabbit as he ground his teeth, “Is everyone alright?”

“I landed badly when we fell out of the tree”, replied Doh

“Where on earth are we?” snorted bear, “It looks like hell”

“Don’t fret”, said Anna, as she picked Doh up, “I’m sure we’ll be able to find our way back”

“I want to go home”, sobbed Doh

“Please don’t be upset Doh. Let’s try to think logically. We all fell out of the tree and seem to have landed in a different world. Surely we should be able to climb back up the tree and find our way home”, said Anna with a reassuring voice

“But the trees gone”, said Bear as he clasped his paws together

“Well lets explore and see if we can find another tree”, said Anna trying to hide her anxiety

They started to walk along a dark pathway: “Yuk, what are these long black things sticking up they feel like wire and look giant hairs,” said Bear. Slosh, slosh, “Let’s keep walking”, encouraged Anna. “It’s smelly, warm and wet and I don’t like it”, moaned Canine.

As they walked along, squelching with each step, they became more and more tired and more desperate

“What are these white sharp pointed things? They feel hard, and their edges are like razors”, shouted Bear

“Come on Canine. Don’t fall behind”, Anna called out. Canine jumped with all his energy trying to keep up with the rest of them.

There was a terrible stench and sloshing sound, but they all kept going as if their lives depended on it.

Then suddenly like a bolt of thunder the ground started to rumble and shake. “Quick everyone hold hands, let’s try to steady each other”, Anna called out. “Help! I’m being enveloped – it’s hot and it’s wet”, squealed Doh. “It’s OK, I’ve got you”, yelled Anna as she grabbed him by his tail. Eventually the ground stopped moving and became still.
“Gosh, that was close I thought I was going to be swallowed up”, gasped Doh.

They all continued to walk hand in hand pausing occasionally so that Doh with his bad leg could keep up. By this time they were suffering with physical and mental exhaustion and had to practically drag themselves along

Anna suddenly gasped, “Look everyone! I can see a silver glow in the distance. Maybe this will be our way out”

At this point they decided to find somewhere comfortable to sleep and to resume their journey the next morning. They found a soft ridge and even though it was damp, smelly and windy they all eventually managed to drop off to sleep.


The next morning they awoke to a loud shriek from Canine, “Ahhh!…there is something heading towards us with sharp prongs and creamy white rubber – help!”

“Watch out, duck, it’s going to hit us!” screamed Anna

Doh was thrown to the back of the cave quivering and shaking and now crying, and Anna was stabbed in the arm.

“You are in our space and we are the spaghetti”. The spaghetti immediately wrapped itself around Doh, squeezing him until his spots turned red. Anna was bleeding and crying, but the spaghetti continued to whip her until she was on her knees sobbing and begging for them to stop.

Bear and Canine had huge tubes of spaghetti hanging out of their mouths – gagging them.

‘Please!’ cried Anna, ‘we don’t want to be here, we don’t know how we got here – we were playing in a tree and fell out. The next thing we knew we were in this cave’.

‘Don’t lie you’re trying to move into our space’, said the Spaghetti.

‘Where are we?’ asked Anna

‘You are in the mouth of our digestive system’, answered Spaghetti, “This is our space and we want you out of here”

Suddenly there was a great big belch with a gust of wind, the cave moved violently and the spaghetti disappeared down a dark tunnel.

Bear, Canine and Doh ran over to Anna to see if she was OK. She was on the floor shaking violently and blood was seeping from a gash in her arm.
“It’s Ok Anna, they’ve gone. See if you can stand up”, said bear trying to help her to her feet.

She stood up, wobbled, gasped for air, and then slumped back down to the floor. They bandaged her wound with bear’s linen scarf, and stroked her brow.

Suddenly a strange gluey voice said, “ Can I help you?”

Bear, Canine and Doh looked around and over their shoulders and then looked at each other. “What on earth was that?” said Bear

“It was me down here. You’ve got your foot on me”, said the mysterious voice
Bear looked down, and moved his foot to reveal a see-through gluey jelly type globule.

“Yes, that’s me. I am a digestive enzyme. Is there anything I can do to help you?”

“We’re trying to find our way out of here. Do you know the way out?” asked bear

“There’s only one way out” glueped the enzyme

“Yes”, said bear

“You need to find the fortune biscuit. He will be able to help you”

“In what way?”

“ I can’t tell you that,”

“OK, where can we find him?”

“All I can advise you to do is to keep going towards the silver glow – that’s all I can say, and I wish you farewell”.

Suddenly there was a tremendous bang and a huge splash of slime that threw everyone to the ground and the enzyme was gone.

At that moment Anna came to, and asked bear what was going on. All three of them explained to Anna what had happened and the instructions the digestive enzyme had given.

All four gathered themselves together and braced themselves for a very fast walk towards the silver glow.

Although they walked for several hours, the silver glow still seemed to be a long way off in the distance. They were beginning to wonder whether they would ever reach it, and they started to question whether the ray of light was real or just an illusion.

Slosh, slosh, slosh…………………………………………….

“Do you think we’ll ever get out of here?” sighed Canine

“Yes, we will. We just have to keep going”, replied Anna

They kept walking for several hours. They climbed rocks, walked through stinking streams of yellow slime, and sometimes swam in them. Eventually they found a comfortable spot and crashed out for the night.


The next morning they got up early determined to reach the silver glow, as the Enzyme had indicated that this would be the way to find the Fortune Biscuit.

They kept walking, sometimes swinging from wire to wire, squeezing through the gaps between the white sharp rocks, and bouncing from squelchy cushion to squelchy cushion.

Suddenly Doh cried out ‘Look!’. All four of them were stunned as they looked up and starred ahead at the silver glow. It was becoming brighter and brighter – it became so bright it nearly hurt their eyes. It became bigger and it seemed closer. Suddenly the ground started to rock, tilting backwards, forwards and moving up and down – they fell about in complete chaos. You could hear Doh and Canine screaming for help as they tumbled to the floor.

Then suddenly through the stream of light a huge knobbly golden nougat came flying in the air towards them. They shrieked and bawled with terror. The golden nougat landed and bounced up and down at least fifty times. It then announced, “Don’t be stupid – stop screaming – I’m hear to help you. I am the biscuit of good fortune and I can grant you three wishes’

All of a sudden everything thing became still again. Anna wiped her hair away from her face, and tried to spit the dirt out off her mouth discreetly into the cuff of her sleeve. She made an attempt at some kind of composure and asked, “Sorry, could you explain what you mean?”

“Yes”, joined in bear, “you say you’re here to help us?” by this time poor bear looked dishevelled with bald patches and was almost cross-eyed.

Doh and Canine sat quietly in the corner hugging each other.

“When we crossed paths just now, three nougats fell off me and landed on the floor, which means I can grant you three wishes. Each one of you should hold a nougat and make your wish. Make sure you use it wisely, because you only get one go” explained the Fortune Biscuit

There was a long thoughtful silence. Bear and Anna starred at each other recognising the dilemma that lay before them. There were four of them and only three nougats.

“But there are four of us” whispered Bear

“I know. I’m sorry, but only three nougats fell to the floor and it is one wish per nougat”

Bear, “Can I not make a wish on behalf of two of us or wish for an additional wish”

“No. I’m so sorry. Each nougat will only grant absolutely one wish for one person. You see it’s chance, not planned, I have no control over it”

The four of them looked at each wondering what on earth they were going to do. Doh started crying again, and Canine sat in the corner with his teeth chattering.

“It’s OK,” said Anna, “I want the three of you to have the wishes”.

“Oh no Anna. I will go without a wish. I’ll find another way out of here. Please don’t worry about me” said Bear

“Absolutely not!” exclaimed Anna as her body quivered with exhaustion. “Either you use the nougat and make a wish for yourself or it won’t get used at all”.

There was a lot of crying and sobbing, with Doh and Canine pulling at Anna’s skirt and legs. But she absolutely insisted that this was the only way forward.

They discussed everything at length, and agreed that when Bear got home he would get a search party together and come back for Anna.

Finally, Doh, Canine and Bear each made a wish to go home. At that moment a beautiful golden glow lit up the cave and when it died down all three of them were gone.

Anna now alone sat down on a ridge. She curled up in the foetal position and wept.

Suddenly a firm but kind voice said, “Don’t weep Anna. You made a huge sacrifice by putting your friends first knowing that you yourself might have to die here alone. For this I want to reward you with something very special.”

Anna’s head popped up - she smiled - it was like some crazy dream – she couldn’t believe it, “I don’t understand,” she said

“You willingly made a sacrifice of your freedom and life so that your friends could get home. For this I want to give you two wishes: one wish will be for you to leave this cave and return home; for the second wish I want you to reflect on life and make a wish for what you would like most in this world for yourself. Please take your time and think about this carefully”, said the voice

Anna looked down and put her head in her hands, a stream of tears fell down her cheek. She felt happy and sad at the same time. She had mixed emotions. It had been such a struggle and then just when she felt she was doomed someone came to help her.

She explained that she lived in an orphanage and that she and her two younger siblings had been taken away from their parents and put in separate institutions. The authorities said the reason for taking them away from their parents was to protect them because their parents didn’t have enough money to put a roof over their heads. She explained she would like her second wish to be, for her, her two siblings and her parents to be reunited as a proper family unit in a home of their own.

The cave flung itself open wider then ever – a hot stream of air lifted her and blew her towards the silver light – she laughed, looked over her shoulder and waved good-bye to the voice.

Suddenly she heard the reassuring words of her Mother: “Anna get up your breakfast is ready”

She lifted her head from her pillow and looked around the room. In the other bed she could see her little brother and sister playing.

“Coming Mum”, she called back.