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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Not Hat Is This

Unfortunately I was presenting at a conference when this was going on, from the photos it looks like I really missed out! Insightful and thought provoking post from our curatorial assistant Jen Loffman

Aberystwyth University School of Art Museum & Galleries

Yesterday afternoon students from the School of Art joined forces with staff from Ceredigion Museum and the people of Aberystwyth to help Janekta Platun, current artist in residence at Ceredigion Museum, create her site-specific installation.

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Print Books

Here are three printed books that I have submitted to Print International 2013. The material was drawn from a range of sources, found photographs, old films and a bit of Super 8 footage thrown in for good measure.

Ceasar's awakening

‘Ceasar’s awakening’ is a 2 sided 4 colour screenprint concertina book. One one side it shows the iconic moment from the film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) in which Caesar, a somnambulist, is awakened to the amazement of the crowd. This is offset by footage of WWI soldiers going ‘over the top’ on the reverse. While both are considered iconic imagery I believe they share more than this; an almost symbiotic relationship intertwined by the various histories of photography and film.

Incoming

‘Incoming’ is a screenprint flickbook, recreating footage of a WWI pilot running from a diving aeroplane.

Bildungsroman

Bildungsroman‘ is a concertina book with monoprint and photocopy transfer. The photograph of the cheeky chapy on the cover came from a glass plate negative I bought in a Berlin market. The drawing inside grows on each page like the frames of an animation. Bildungsroman is a German term for a coming of age novel in which the protagonist undergoes the psychological growth associated with the transition between adolescence and adulthood.

Our obsession with creating the illusion of movement far pre-dates film itself, film merely facilitated it in the way that zoetropes, flickbooks and shadow puppets have done and digital methods like cinemagraphs do now. Presenting imagery derived from film in a book is a way of placing it back into a sequential viewing mode, maintain this illusion, however, with the power to govern the pace of the imagery and even stop the flow now in the viewers hands.

The way in which we can disseminate imagery digitally is uber convenient but it risks divorcing us from some qualities of work, it’s that tactile and intimate quality that books have in shed-loads. After seeing some great examples (by the likes of We Make Books and others) when we (me, Elysia, Corinthia and Chole) were skiving off from our stall at the alternative press fair over the summer I was keen to make my own. It was a workshop with printmaker Wuon Gean Ho that gave me the confidence to try.

Bookmaking workshop with Wuon Gean Ho at Aberystwyth Universty School of Art

Bookmaking workshop with Wuon Gean Ho at Aberystwyth Universty School of Art

Currently exhibiting with us at the School of Art, Aberystwyth her exhibition Beyond the Moon is a enticing and eclectic mix of prints, animations and artist books, not to mention a spectacular sound installation by Andrew Mcpherson that I hope to cover in more depth in a later post. If you can’t get to Aberystwyth before it comes down on Friday you can see some photos and a video of the exhibition on her blog, as well as some pictures of us hanging it, seriously, you need to see the size of some of these prints! Incidentally, one of my first posts on here was in response to Wuon Gean’s work, little did I know in a years time I’d be helping her hang a pretty amazing exhibition!

Hanging Beyond the Moon

Hanging Beyond the Moon

 

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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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Pinhole photographs

Just been getting into pinhole photography, something I’ve always wanted to try but never had the time. Initially I was scared off the idea by long, boring online articles about the importance of precision drilling apertures to a fraction of a mm. For me this seems like a lot of effort for something you’ve made out of a beer can and duct tape. Luckily pinhole Photographer Justin Quinnell has some straight forward instructional stuff on his website and a couple of good Youtube videos.
These are the cameras I’ve made so far.

Pinhole Camera, Beer can Camera, Film canister Camera

The black box makes paper negatives about 15x15cm,  the film canister roughly 5x7cm and the beer can take 5×7″ paper.

They all produce negative images (like the one bellow) which you can scan and invert on Photoshop or just leave them as they are because the look all spooky.

Pin hole photograph negative Beer can camera

It’s the curve of the paper in the film canister and beer can produces that really cool distorted wide angle effect.


All the photos were taken in Aberystwyth School of Art, partly because it’s a amazing building to photograph and partly because I’m lazy and didn’t want to walk to far from the darkroom. I hope to develop them further and enter some into the exhibition ‘Culture’ which asks printmakers to create prints to be displayed in petri dishes and will tour Wales later this year.

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Straight 8 2012

What seems like a very long time ago now I spent some seriously long nights in the School of Art shooting a short Super 8 film for Straight 8 2012. Just found out it’s going to be featured in the soho short film festival at ICA.

It’s being shown at the 6.30 screening at the Straight 8 event on the 18th, details can be found here

Super 8 short film still

Straight 8 is a film competition that requires you to shoot a single reel of Super 8 film with no retakes or post production editing, you submit the film undeveloped (and unseen!) for judging. Its such a ridiculously restrictive way to try make a film it borders on genius; the resulting films have a rough around the edges feel that emphasizes the raw creativity behind them.

My film ‘Where’s Ruth?’ incorporates stop motion and live action and is shot in Aberystwyth School of Art. I work there during the day so as a result I do most of my own work at night. I think the long winter nights spent in such a amazing looking (and kinda creepy!) building took there toll and the film explores what happens when it closes for the night.

Super 8 short film still

As I haven’t even seen the film yet I can’t post a link but here’s some very early test footage of me getting to grips with stop motion.

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Massive thanks to Ruth Hayward for staying til stupid o’clock every night after a full days MA rehearsals, Rowena Jordan for easel moving, pictures taking and general moral support and finally Ian Nicolson for being willing to take his clothes off for free with a hours notice, that’s right nudity, now you want to see it!

(images C of Rowena Jordan, p.s. amazing Illustrator, check her out!)

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Raj Bunnag – Animated Linocut

When I first started considering how to animate my work, my thoughts on analogue animation stopped at flick-books and zoetropes but this impressive lino-cut by Raj Bunnag proves that photoshop isn’t always the answer.

The print is animated by a large-scale crank driven thingy (technical term) that resembles a printing press turned on its side, I like how its mode of display echoes its mode of production. The print itself is a mash-up of mythical iconography and contemporary pop-culture; AK weilding skeletons fight dragons on a ocean of nike trainers.

Here’s a ‘trailer’ of the work followed by a more in-depth video of it in action.

You can read more and find some pics of the work in process on Printeresting

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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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