Category Archives: collaborations

Gas – interactive Screen Print

The seed of this piece work was planted at the international printmaking conference Impact in Dundee 2013. After presenting a paper on my work I attended a demonstration on ‘conductive ink’. I had no idea what conductive ink was but was curious to learn more. The demonstration was my first introduction to Bare Conductive a water soluble ink that conducts electricity. In the demo we drew circuits to light a LED:

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Here he is, by connecting a battery between his glasses and smile you complete the circuit and the LED on his nose lights up. It was fun, but what really got me interested was the potential to use the ink as a sensor, by running it through an Arduino.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 11.29.42

now a capacitive sensor the drawing can sense how close or far you are from it and brighten and dim the LED accordingly.

I knew I wanted to produce some work based around this, but the ideas stayed on the shelf until I was asked to take part in a group exhibition. The venue was Aberystwyth’s Oriel Nwy, an old Harley Davidson show room it is a large open space with great big windows and great views from the street. I decided this would make it a good venue to show an interactive print installation based around what I had been doing with Bare Conductive ink.

I wanted to turn the idea of a gallery as a sterile environment in which one may look but at all costs not touch on its head by creating a multi-sensory piece that actively encourages physical interaction.

Gas was the result, a collaboration between myself and another artist showing in the exhibition Kim James-Williams, I felt her beautifully balanced pen and ink drawings would echo the aesthetic of the wires and circuits behind the scenes. The image we chose was a drawing of the gallery itself, I love it, the composition makes the gallery seem impossible light almost like it is about to float off, fitting for something called the ‘Gas’ Gallery.

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I screen printed the image in Bare Conductive ink and attached it to an Arduino, the Arduino would then take the capacitive reading from the ink and create a varying audio output, the idea was for it to sound like a theremin (not sure what one is? Listen to the Star Trek theme tune or The Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’, or for a more contemporary example:

I was really happy with the end result, it was great to see people interacting with it at the opening, nervous at first, they became increasingly bold and confident and ended up ‘playing’ some really nice stuff.

Here are some photos of the opening and a video of the finished work in action:

My film piece ‘Flicker’ was also included in the show. I was really thrilled to be asked to take part in Transitions at Oriel Nwy with such a talented group of artists, you can see there work in the Catalogue. We were really grateful that John Harvey agreed to open the exhibition, he gave a really encouraging and inspiring speech at the opening, which you can read on his blog.

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Mythscapes in the Watery Realm – Wales-Australia print exchange

Mythscapes invitation

Earlier this year I had some work featured in an international collaborative exhibition between Aberystwyth Printmakers and Brisbane Printmakers in Australia. Organised by Judy Macklin the exhibition, ‘Mythscapes in the Watery Realm’, aimed to ‘explore the significance of river histories, particularly the legacy of catastrophic flood events, for communities. This highlights the often fickle relationship they have with the watery realm that can either sustain or destroy lifeways’ (QCA). It was shown at Aberystywyth University School of Art and the Project Gallery at Brisbane College of Art.

At the time I was asked to make the work I was mainly working digitally with archival film, so it was a good opportunity to reconnect with the physicality of printmaking as well as working within a conceptual framework. It was not long after Aberystwyth seafront had been damaged by severe storms and and flooding. I became interested in peoples’ reaction to the event and in particular, their desire to document it.

The storms and their aftermath seemed to take on a double life, there was your own physical experience of them, the weather and the damage but then there was their growing digital footprint. On social media people were sharing their photos and videos, organisations were sharing information and graphs of the areas where the worst flooding was expected. Your email inbox was full of updates from the university about which student residencies were being evacuated they were even producing and sharing YouTube videos on the measures they were taking to keep their students safe. As images and videos were shared and picked up by news sites it became a feedback loop where you were exposed to the same images again and again.

One story that did catch my attention was a piece showing archival footage of similar storms in the 1930’s, the funny thing was Aberystwyth didn’t look that different. This got me thinking about how the differences and similarities between the experiences of those witnessing the storms back then and ours today. I decided to explore this by combine archival photographs of the storms in the 1930’s with contemporary responses to the 2014 storms sourced from social media.

Below are the 3 prints I showed in the exhibition with my artist statement:

Ben Partridge

My practice explores our complex and often contradictory relationship with technology. I find printmaking, particularly its alliance with both obsolescent and emerging technologies, the perfect vehicle to explore the role of technology in both Utopian and Dystopian views of past, present and future. I am especially interested in examining the role of cultural concepts such as obsolescence and the rhetoric of progress play in our increasingly fragile relationship with the environment.

Following the large scale flooding to the seafront in Aberystwyth and accompanying media coverage caused by storms in early 2014, this body of work explores how our perception of an event is inevitably warped by the lens through which we experience it.

Increasingly the plight of communities affected by flooding and environmental change is experienced in a digital space. The physical event often echoed by a second, digital, flood of information, as articles, images, opinions and hyperbole are distributed, shared and retweeted globally. Do these insights, popping up on newsfeeds between adverts and cat photos, make us more environmentally conscientious global citizens, or, do they desensitise us, forming just another part of the accumulated visual detritus of the internet

Combining nineteenth and twentieth century archival images of Aberystwyth with contemporary responses to the storms sourced from social media this work aims to highlight to tenuous link between image and meaning and how this can be warped through appropriation and decontextualisation.

I was really thrilled to be featured alongside so many talented printmakers in a international exhibition and it is well worth looking at the other artists’ work in the Catalogue.

More images of the show can be found on Aberystwyth Printmakers’ Website .

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Sector 17 – photography and concept art

SECTOR 17_002

William Winston in Sector 17

I know how William’s feeling here, it’s been a busy few weeks in Aberystwyth, as well as my final show going up I was thrilled to be approached by 2Grand Productions to do some graphic design and photography work for their first ever show, Sector 17. Here’s what happened:

Sector 17 is a musical set in a post apocalyptic Britain of the future, ravaged by war and struggling under a crushing authoritarian regime, headed up my the sinister, (but strangely charismatic) Mac (Matthew Duckett):

Mac played by Mathew Duckett

Mac played by Mathew Duckett

Personally, I think it’s the pipe and smoking jacket that does it.

The story follows William Winston (a nod to Orwell’s 1984 maybe?) (Gareth Tilley) whose research into potential life outside the Sector has made him a target not only for Mac’s authoritarian regime but the elusive underground group The Rebellion.  Headed up by Darcourt (Myles Mccmorrow) and aided by the hot headed Georgia (Harriet Taylor) the rebellion are looking to topple Mac’s rule for good.

William played by Gareth Tilley

William played by Gareth Tilley

Darcourt played by Myles Mcmorrow

Darcourt played by Myles Mcmorrow

Georgia played by Harriet Taylor

Georgia played by Harriet Taylor

Caught between Mac and Darcourt and with time running out, William must ask himself, is this really the life he was searching for?

With elements of George Orwell’s 1984, Terry Gilliam’s BrazilFritz Lang’s Metropolis and Fallout 3, I didn’t know how such dark subject mater would lend itself to a musical. However, with songs ranging from epic Enter Shikari-esque ballads to 50’s rock and roll, the music worked brilliantly.

Here are some photos of my favourite number, in which Georgia has been taken to the dreaded Block B, the inmates an estranged mix between harpies and rag dolls and watched over by sinister harlequin-mask clad guards. The macabre carnival style music, reminiscent of the The Strangler’s was offset perfectly with the choreography of Hannah Lester.

SECTOR 17_081

SECTOR 17_082

For the Posters I decided to go with a Russian Constructivist style, Soviet lettering alongside block shapes and colours. In the launch event poster we wanted to get a sense of the turmoil within Sector 17 without giving too much of the story away. The main poster is my take on Rodchenko’s classic, I felt the idea of the human voice as a means of protest gelled well with the story and its format as a musical.

Teaser poster for the ticket launch event of Sector 17

Teaser poster for the ticket launch event of Sector 17

Sector 17 Poster

Sector 17 Poster

Russian Constructivist poster by Rodchenko
The whole cast was really strong, check them out in the full range of photo’s from the show on the Performance Photography section of my blog:

SECTOR 17_100

Sector 17 was staged at the Arad Goch theatre in Aberystwyth.
Original Concept, Music and Lyrics by Sam Barnes and Jack Gayler
For more music from Sam Barnes, please visit www.soundcloud.com/sambarnes7
Book by Sam Barnes, Hannah McCombie and Jack Gayler
Directed by Adam Lacey

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Performance Photography

A little while ago I was asked to collaborate with a number of MA Performance Studies students on their final projects. It was great to be part of the culmination of their hard work and really made me consider my own position going into my final year with exhibitions on the horizon. Each was stunning, engage and unique, here are some of the results.

 De Keersmaeker’s Apprentice: FootstepsRuth Hayward

photograph of Ruth Hayward's performance 'Footsteps' by Ben Partridge
Alongside the photos Ruth and I created a stopmotion animation that formed part of her performance, which I’ll try to upload soon.

EditedSean Payne

KleinLeapIntoVoid

Taking Yves Klein iconic photograph of the same name (above) as it’s starting point, Leap into the Void sought to explore the way documentation can be exploited to instill a narrative with a sense of authenticity. The shoot was an eventful one, culminating in a telling off from the head of campus security (who just so happened to be an ex-paratrooper).

Photograph of Sean Payne's Performance 'Leap into a Void' by Ben Partridge

The performance began with the audience being brought outside to watch the Sean and I recreate the photograph. This involved taking two photographs  from exactly the same spot (see below), the first with Sean jumping onto a crash mat and the second with the crash mat removed, the images were then combined on photoshop. Incidentally, Klein didn’t use a crash mat when creating his image but had a group of (trusted!) judo friends to catch him.

Photograph of Sean Payne's Performance 'Leap into a Void' by Ben Partridge

Photograph of Sean Payne's Performance 'Leap into a Void' by Ben Partridge

Long OddsHannah Lester

Long Odds was a performance almost completely dictated by chance, the lighting, music, actions and duration was all decided upon by the roll of a die, flip of a coin or an audience member at random. This performance really took me out of my comfort zone, not from a photography point of view but because Hannah also asked me to play guitar in it, something I had never done in front of an audience before!

Photograph of Hannah Lester's Performance 'Long Odds' by Ben Partridge
While I didn’t work with them on this occasion, two other performances that really blew me away were Christina Scarillo’s (below) and Chris Stacey’s ‘Eternal soundtrack of the spotless mind’.

photograph of Cristina Sciarrillo - Ben Partridge

More images in the gallery below and on my Performance Photography page, Copyright Ben Partridge 2012
ex. Yves Klein ‘leap into a Void’, duh.

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Aberystywth Paper Press Print – Collaborative Portfolio

Earlier in the year I was really chuffed to be asked to contribute to a collaborative portfolio project organized by our head of printmaking Paul Croft. Over a year in the making, this mammoth undertaking has seen Paul coordinate 30 printmakers, ranging from staff, students and professional visiting artists all with a connection to Aberystwyth University School of Art. Each contributor submits an edition of 35 prints; 30 of the resulting portfolios go back to the artists and the remaining  5 to to various collections around the country.

The portfolio really demonstrates the variety and versatility of modern printmaking; techniques range from traditional intaglio, relief and lithography to digital and photographic process. Some of the most exciting printmakers working in Britain have contributed work including Wuon-Gean Ho, Marcelle Hanselaar, Anne Desmet and Edwina Ellis the entire portfolio will be exhibited in March as part of Impress 2013 a biennial printmaking festival held in Stroud and while I’m thrilled to be involved having my work exhibited alongside theirs is a nervous prospect!

Here is a small selection of some of the prints from the portfolio, more information and images of all the prints in the portfolio can be found on Paul’s website.

All images copywrite of the Artists, thanks to Paul for his time and effort in bring such a huge project together.

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Cinemagraphs

If you asked me yesterday about animated Gifs, this would have been what came to mind:

psycho gif animation

funny frog gif animation

Now I love a drumming monkey as much as the next guy but, as hard as I try, I can’t seem to justify these as serious research. However these are the predecessors to the collaborative cinemagraphs of photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg. Cinemagraphs present themselves as photo’s with moving elements. The results can be subtle and captivating.
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Somewhere between a photograph and a video I think what makes these cinemagraphs so effective is that it maintains photography’s innate ability to capture a moment, freezing it in time. The introduction of movement to these images seems to enhance this rather than dispel it. I believe this is in part down the the looping of the animation, whether the effect is hilarious or relaxing there  is something satisfying about seeing it over and over.

\"Jamie

Animated gifs have been around since the late 80’s, and are a way of combining multiple frames played in sequence into a single image file. Previously seen as a bit of an internet novelty, their ability to capture your attention and question what you are seeing could have a large impact on an area as saturated with imagery as online advertising.

\"jamie
I can see this as a potential way of re-animating some of my Super 8 films, by reintroducing a small amount of repeating movement into the frames this will enhance their ‘stuck in time’ quality. here are a few of the stills I am thinking of using from a documentary film of WWI depicting soldiers in the trenches and a bombing raid on an airfield.

Still from WWI film showing Soliders in the trenches

WWI film still showing soliders going over the top into shell fire

A WWI film still showing a soldier running across an airfield

More film stills can be found on my website.
For more info see this video by PBS arts’ Off Book.

Cinemagraphs from Inspiration feed, check them out for more examples and useful links.

Also worth a look of your into  films: IWDRM (but not if you want to do anything useful with the next hour of your day!).

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Print Swap

So the grad show has been and gone and I’ve got that worrying feeling in the pit of my stomach that means I’ve got to try plan the next 3 months of my life, luckily, this isn’t one of those blogs so instead of moaning, here’s some prints…

Just taken part in a print-swap with some of the 3rd years, for some reason having to trek a stack of your own work home after uni seems like a massive chore, however having a nice stash of other peoples doesn’t seem so bad!

Here they are with links to the artists (not students anymore!).

Sam Cuddy - 'Cosmopolis'

Sam Cuddy – ‘Cosmopolis’ – Etching

Corinthia Ward - 'Kiss'

Corinthia Ward – ‘Kiss’ – Screen Print

Elysia Wormesely - [untitled]

Elysia Womersley – [untitled] – Dry Point

Spencer Beale - [untitled]

Spencer Beale – [untitled] – Etching

Corrina Williams - Liam IICorrina Williams - Liam III

Corrina Williams – ‘Liam II’, ‘Liam IV’ – Etching

Hollie Smith - [untitled]

Hollie Smith – [untitled] – etching with aquatint

Leah Adams

Leah Adams – [untitled] – colograph

Jenny Wright - untitled

Jenny Wright – [untitled] – drypoint

All images copyright of the artists, You know the drill.

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Stop Motion Workshop

Here are two videos of a stop motion workshop for undergraduates I held on Monday. It was seriously fun to do, which was mainly down to the awesome group of  students that came along, so muchos thanks to them!

The videos are a combination of a time lapse I set up to record the whole session followed by the animation the students created. It was really interesting to see the different ways they approached the exercise and how their different drawing styles combine to make a really eclectic animation. Also made me realize that my mum was right, I really need to stop slouching!

Both videos are identical except for the soundtracks, can’t decide which one I like best…

Cheesy funk?

or chilled out folk?

Any Ideas?

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Postcards!

Found this in my pigeon hole this morning, means my postcards are here!

Postcard envelope

This is great project by the Print Society at Iowa State University, their 12th Annual postcard exchange.

Each participant prints an edition of 13 postcard sized prints, which are sent individually to the university. They then pool all of the prints and send you 12 prints back chosen at random, keeping one for their collection and an exhibition later in 2012.

Here are the stats; there were 397 participants, from 38 states in the US and 8 different countries. I was one of 13 who submitted work from the UK.

This years theme was disguise. I sent one of my recent lithographs, a still from a Super 8 film showing a WWI tank in motion, it was inspired by the abstract designs of  dazzle camouflage employed during WWI.

Freeze no.1 – Photo-lithograph from Super 8 Negative – 2012

Now for the main event! Here are the postcards I recieved in return, loads from all over America and one from Australia .

Lis J.Schwitters - Inner-transformation - Archival Pigment Print - CA -2012

Lis J.Schwitters – Inner-transformation – Archival Pigment Print – CA -2012

Andre McKinnon - AL

Andre McKinnon – AL

Nicole Payne - 'Man's Best Friend?' - Digital Photography on Legal Pad - SC

Nicole Payne – ‘Man’s Best Friend?’ – Digital Photography on Legal Pad – SC

Kusta Lay - 'You Don't Know Me' - Silk Screen - TX

Kusta Lay – ‘You Don’t Know Me’ – Silk Screen – TX

Brandon Coon - '10am 3/27/12 welcome to my lab at HSU' - Relief

Brandon Coon – ’10am 3/27/12 welcome to my lab at HSU’ – Relief

Nick Ballesteros - MN

Nick Ballesteros – MN

Rachelle Hill - 'Head Bait' - Etching - IL

Rachelle Hill – ‘Head Bait’ – Etching – IL

Rhyannon Bowles - Riso, Pen and Watercolour - Australia

Rhyannon Bowles – Riso, Pen and Watercolour – Australia

Courtney Kim - 'Because you only see hwat you believe DREAM IS NOWHERE - woodcut, ink, pen - MA

Courtney Kim – ‘Because you only see what you believe DREAM IS NOWHERE’ – woodcut, ink, pen – MA

Mathew Obvebski - 'In The Leaves' - Ohio

Mathew Obvebski – ‘In The Leaves’ – Ohio

Eleanor Barbu - 'Yeh' - Etching, Screenprint - IA

Eleanor Barba – ‘Yeh’ – Etching, Screenprint – DC

If your interesting in taking part in next years exchange drop an email to April Katz akatz@iastate.edu. Big thanks to April and the University Print Society for organizing such a great project!

As usual, all images copyright of the Artists, please correct me if I’ve got any of the information wrong.

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