June Review

Digital Media Labs

When I first started as Lead artist for the city centre development (for PCT NHS in Hull, Wilberforce Centre) I was keen to represent the media that sits around us all in our every day life, which is generally overlooked by artists. In developing the Digital Media Labs and commissioning programme I was trying to answer a specific question on this topic… How can we discover or establish a pool of artists in the North of the UK with a clear understanding of how to make art and work with touch screen technology?

Answer: We set up a Digital Media Lab and, a week long residency where experimentation and play are key, at the end of which, all artists involved aregiven a commission brief and automatically short-listed for selection.

Digital Media Labs was developed for Hull PCT with co-developers, artists David Lynch and Glenn Boulter. We approached 7 top uk art agencies who would nominate up to 30 artists in total. We have now received these nominations and have invited them to tender for one of the 10 places on the DM Lab residency.

To coincide with this the website is now up and running, where you can find further information on the project and the organisations involved. We plan to update the website throughout the residency and commissioning process so you will be able to keep up to date with the progress of the project as it unfolds over the next five months.


24th June – CIDA International for ECCE Innovation Symposium – Presentation of ‘Keep everything simple because it will become complicated all by itself”

CIDA talk
Speaking at the CIDA ECCE Symposium. Background text: “5 – Dalai Lama ‘There is no need for temples no need for complicated philosophy Our own heart is our temple the philosophy is kindness'” Copyright CIDA 2010.

You can now find images of keep everything simple because it will become complicated all by itself in my Book Artsection. I have included some of the slides from my presentation, which show the embedded meanings behind this apparently chaotic and Dadaist work.

A key point within my talk at the conference is that though sentiments and statements may replicate themselves throughout history, to the point that it seems we are just repeating ourselves, the context in which these fundamental questions are set is constantly changing. Everything is the same but not…

14th June – Come See my Drawings of Eagles – Guest Speaker at student conference.

As a response to my invitation to speak at the end of year conference for University of Leeds BA fine art degree show, I took the photograph below at their opening night. The conference organised by the students themselves, was designed to reflect on the work displayed in the degree show and the collaborative approach they took to this, their final project

Man with eagle
Image of man with a live eagle at ‘Come See my Drawing of Eagles’ the University of Leeds, BA fine arts end of year show. Copyright Benedict Phillips 2010.

I used this image at the start of my presentation to ask the question ‘who makes the work?’ How can heavily weighted marking or a theory degree impact on your practice? I compared this photograph to the painting of Whistlers Mother and an image of Joseph Beuys. Did I carry these ideas with me when I lifted the camera to my eye? How strangely will the world around me infuse my ideas deliberately or covertly!

Topography of Popularity

During this presentation I also showed the above drawing, which charts how many hits each image gets on the Come See my Drawings of Eagles website. Such exacting analysis led to the very simple conclusion that images containing young women get the most hits.

I pointed out that based on the average student loan, ‘the show’ had cost them about £800’000 or a 25% stake in a 1 bedroom flat in the centre of Leeds for every student on the degree course…

Although the turnout could have been better, the day itself raised above my expectations. A good sign, I would hope, for the new graduates that made the event happen.

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