Monday, 12 January 2015

The Museum for Object Research

This online museum is an on-going repository for object related writing. My latest post is now online. Many thanks to Sonia BouĂ© for her introduction. Read my piece here >>

Thursday, 4 December 2014


From today until Sunday 6th December 2014 the BALTIC centre for contemporary art in Gateshead is hosting an artist book market. Two of my books GESTALT and the RINK PROJECT are included so I'm hoping if you are in that part of the country you might pop in and take a look at what's on show. This event was organised by the North East Photographers Network

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

a little job for A-N

After 15 years at the helm, Su Jones is stepping aside at AN and AIR - in my opinion the most useful artists network and on going information organisation in the UK. I was very happy to be asked to make a 3min video for her leaving do which encapsulates her time there. Not possible of course but I did my best! The video is now live on the AN YouTube channel or watch it below on my VIMEO channel >>

Monday, 28 July 2014

STEAMSONG - a commission

I was recently asked to make a photographic piece that could be used to represent the contemporary opera STEAMSONG by the composer John Kefala Kerr. Strangely it turned out that John and I actually knew each other from about 20years ago... but John hadn't realised I was the same Neil Armstrong! I had been put into the mix via the DLI museum in Durham as my piece Gestalt (which has been exhibited in the Durham Gallery) had the sort of atmospherics and approach they were looking for.

Following a trip to York Railway Museum to photograph the famous Mallard steam train that was the inspiration for the Durham Brass festival operatic commission, I then put together this image.

Hexham station features, and two of the cast are also used as models in the completed piece. Collaged into this tableau are a couple of original lead train figures from the 1930s plus a model chimney and factory. The challenge was to make it visually believable; to allow disparate elements to sit together, and also to infuse a painterly dynamic whilst grappling with matched perspectives.

I wanted to reference the political climate of the time and to imply darker elements at work - hence the use of a decoy duck bought off ebay to which I added 'real' wings... a sort of 'eugenics of speed and technology' which make an alarming and absurd vision.

The opera had its premiere at Durham Gala Theatre in July 2014

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Toffee Factory Show

Currently working on a short video based around the preview opening of my show at the Toffee Factory. It features soprano Dawn Furness performing an operatic rendition of my song 'Our Three Shilling Affair'. This followed on from an abridged reading of Jack Brunel's story by me. Hoping to put the two together very shortly.
Meanwhile an account of the show can be read here >>

Dawn Furness sings

Dawn with the crashing Hartlepool
sea behind. She is sowing coal into
an organza parcel!
video projection with
Marion Keene
doll in the foreground

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

'Send Three and Fourpence...' installation at the Toffee Factory 7- 9 Nov 2013

My show is now finished at the Hartlepool Gallery but can be seen in a new form at the lovely Toffee Factory in Newcastle upon Tyne in November.

There will be a preview event 5 - 8pm on Thursday 7th so please come down if you can. There may even be a somewhat unique performance of the song I wrote for this piece so it's not to be missed!

As usual check for project updates here>>

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

"Send Three and Fourpence..." the Rink Ballroom project - read about it on the AN website >

My latest AN mag posting...this is my main project at the moment so please keep checking this link to the AN website for regular updates.

Send Three and Fourpence - the Rink Ballroom project | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

You can now download the song written for this project "Our Three Shilling Affair" and have your very own Rink Ballroom experience. The song features singers Claudia Dunning and Lewis Mcbean and is played by Hartlepool based Big Band Musicians Unlimited.

DOWNLOAD the song from AMAZON here >>

You can also buy a limited edition pressing from the gallery, which includes the full music sheet and Jack Brunel's story.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Saatchi update and Lux website

Have updated my profile on Saatchi online, so it is possible to buy prints and some of my original work there at reasonable prices click here>
Also I am filling in more up to date info on the LUX website so please keep checking here>
LUX have inherited my video back-catalogue from the now defunct London Video Arts. Some of this work goes back to the late 70's - but I will also be adding more recent videos soon. You can also hire it from them.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


I have just been awarded Arts Council England grant assistance to make a video installation based around the former Queen's Rink Ballroom in the north east town of Hartlepool. To read my ongoing project blog on Artists Newsletter click here>

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Artist Newsletter project link

my ongoing project notes for 'when was NOW 2' can be found on Artists Newsletter here I will be updating this regularly as the video takes shape.

Video updates

I now have a YouTube page with videos from my Specials Lab project and a new split screen version of 'two chats with Andy' up there. I made this version because when it was shown in a gallery context the two videos never seemed to get synced up properly and so some of the effect was lost. This way - using widescreen everything is as it should be. Clips are in 10min sections due to the restrictions on YouTube. Please take a look here >

Monday, 29 August 2011

Dental prognosis 'hopeless'

When was NOW 2 continues.

Just when I think I may have enough material then something else happens in the world. As the 'Arab Spring' continues to flourish (painfully), so does my inclination to keep this project open. There can be no resolution of course, as nothing is ever sorted out in its entirety, and so I keep telling myself to finish this piece and move on.

The progress of tooth 37 in my own little world is acting as a place holder to all things normal. It has become a metaphor, a pin in the map that says 'here I am' and it flags up on my own particular time-line. It now appears in When was NOW 2 in all its 3 dimensional glory. I really must get on with it!!!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

strange days in Egypt

Just to assure anyone who may be interested - I have been working spasmodically since my last post - mainly on 'when was NOW2'. This has become a larger project than originally envisaged and most recently involved me shooting some nice high def video in Egypt, from where I have just returned. It's a longer story than i might wish to explain here - but, suffice to say, the final video will include elements of me from 30years ago, right up to the day of my last birthday (which happened to be the Royal Wedding)... and the days leading up to the assassination of osama bin laden. I am finding it hard to find a point at which to conclude this piece as it is so tied into both personal and 'world view' events and these just keep rolling on - but I feel I am now near to completion and ready for an interesting edit.

Friday, 5 November 2010

That was then...this is now

(Andy Dodds - visiting the show - he features in my 'two chats with Andy' video installation)
My show at the DLI is now finished. It has been great to finally put everything together and thanks to everyone who came... and thankyou for all the great feedback too.
I am just taking a deep breath and contemplating the next development of this piece. In the meantime there are lots of other projects to get underway or that have been back-burnered too long - so ever onward...
If you would like to follow Gestalt then my blog on the artist newsletter website continues here:

Thursday, 2 September 2010

LATEST update


Preview at the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery
6pm 10th Sept
Exhibition dates:
11th Sept until 17th October

The show is in three sections comprising:

1. portraits (both photographic and in digital frames)
2. 4 large scale tableau prints - with an accompanying book
3. A twin video installation featuring 'two chats with Andy' (Andrew Dodds of RAF bomb disposal)

Hope lots of you can make it and please leave feedback!

This project is on-going and is the first UK showing of a piece I have been developing over the last 6 years.

You can view the book (without its cover) by clicking this link

The Portraits

Four portraits of four teenagers – made with the collaboration of the Durham Light Infantry museum and using uniforms from their collection.

They sit looking out into their uncertain futures with mesmerised expressions. The uniforms are from a random selection of history and also exist in an odd 'other world', both suggesting historical context whilst hinting at current fashion.

The backdrops are contemporary and also imply another less obvious way of reading the picture. They refer to painting in that they are 'considered' and have a feeling of having been 'worked at'. They are dramatic in lighting, but they are also very much of the here and now, and the theatre they represent is one that questions what it is to make a 'representation'.

These are now framed in lovely, heavy black frames with a fillet pushing them back off the glass giving them extra depth. I plan to release a small framed edition of prints so please get in touch if you are interested in acquisition.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Neil Armstrong - Current Projects


Gestalt is quite an involved installation project which I began a few years ago. It has expanded and now includes an ongoing element called:

5131 Bomb Disposal

Andrew Dodds is a member of the RAF bomb disposal team. I interviewed him before his tour of duty in Iraq and then afterwards. I was interested in all the things that go unsaid in the usual reporting of such subjects. I wondered more about what it was to 'imagine' being there versus the reality of having been there afterwards.

As I have been exploring in my work for some time, the linear nature of experience is less important to me than the duality of time experienced through it's accumulated reporting. I am fascinated by the fact that time is all we have to record happenings and emotions and yet it is an intangible - forever running away from us.

This takes the form of a dual projected video installation - with 'before' and 'after' meeting somewhere in the middle.

I am very pleased to have been offered a showing date in the main gallery at the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery for summer 2010 to preview this piece in its entirety and hope to add other venues afterwards. Initial production was supported by the Arts Council.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

This is NOW

28 years is my latest piece - taking as its starting point, source material from a video I produced in 1981. Originally titled When was NOW? - the new version poses a question comprising 28 characters to 28 interviewees. Each person represents the year they were born. This is obviously going to lead to some interesting interpretations of the question as the age of the participants gets younger. I anticipate a fracturing of response of course, but am hoping for some gems of perception along the way and feel the process should generate some complex cross overs.
As this is currently in production I can't reveal the question, but suffice to say it has an internal relevance to the overall piece and my role within it. Watch this space.
The irony is not lost on me (being that this piece is concerned with the manipulation of linear time).. but I have to admit to not getting as far with the project thus far as I would have liked. Currently I have a bowl of chocolate letters in the fridge which are supposed to be picked by the participants - but I am now concerned that they are probably mouldy and that I can't use them. There is a certain Duchampian element here though (think the cracked Great Glass) that is urging me to accept that as part of the work...maybe

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Specials Project

Specials Laboratories commissioned me to make a video installation sited in their head office. It takes the form of a video tower similar to that originally envisaged for Gestalt. The client wanted a piece that reflected their own environment. They made no stipulations as to content and I was allowed total freedom of access and concept.

To read my AN blog for this project click the link below (this may get blocked if you are not a member)

This project was also profiled in the November 2008 edition of an magazine

To read the article click here >

I have just recently installed the finished piece and am now looking for a suitable gallery to put a larger show together around this subject. I have soooo much more material than I have so far been able to use - and I feel i can make a related installation with much larger scope.

The piece is currently made in 6 mute 'movements' with a 'controller' video that plays audio also. In the Specials context this enables them to create permutations of what is shown on the four monitors on any particular day.

Working with Specials, I wanted to be 'agenda free' and to make a work that allowed me to respond to their unique environment. That being said I also wanted to use it as a vehicle for furthering my exploration and expansion of what it is to document 'time' - and the impossibility/contradictions of all that such a concept presents. I concentrated on particular details of activity, stretching or emphasising.

The 'controller' video is made is such a way that clips cross reference each other and make other, often poetic, connections and linear narrative is
subverted in favour of lateral connections.