News (March 2017 update)
Rob and Russ are looking forward to the opening of Fountain 17 as part of Hull’s City of Culture celebrations. Artists were commissioned to create new artwork taking inspiration from both the 100th anniversary of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain and the 200th anniversary of Armitage Shanks. They used two urinals as the basis for an aggregrate mixed with concrete and other special ingredients to create Concrete 64. which will be exhibited in Hull, before moving on to Clerkenwell Design Week and an exhibition in Stoke-on-Trent. As part of the programme, they will be giving a lecture in Hull in May.
Rob has spent the last few months away from teaching commitments to concentrate on his writing. In the autumn of 2016 work appeared in The Northern Correspondent, 100 Word Tales, Home (Papaya Press), Spelk, Flash Frontier (New Zealand), Follow the Sun (Northern Voices) and the first issue of Ham. His poem, Letters, from the children’s poetry anthology Watcher of the Skies (Emma Press) was chosen to feature on the National Poetry Day website. In February he read his poem from This Is Not Your Final Form at Verve, the Birmingham Poetry Festival. He’ll soon be heading to London to read his poems included in the Emma Press Anthology of Aunts. In April, one of his flash fictions will be hosted by the acclaimed Ink, Sweat and Tears and in the autumn a shape poem will appear in Bad Kid Catullus from Sidekick Books. Also in the autumn, two children’s poems will appear in a Bennison Books charity anthology to raise money for the wonderful Book Bus. He has delivered workshops in a London primary school, and acted as a mentor to students from Morpeth’s King Edward IV School as part of the Lit & Phil’s Young Writers’ Awards. He has also been busy reading at many of the North-East’s spoken word nights, and will again be a judge for the National Flash Fiction Day micro-fiction competition.
News (December 2013 update):
Russ has been busy mixing metaphors and aggregates this year with a recent exhibition of concrete sculpture at The Boiler Shop Steamer based in the Stevenson Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, which included dishes, bowls and food related sculptures.
Russ worked with the Stone Academy on the second Stone Festival at the Bowes Museum in Teesdale, September 2013.
He is currently installing a fish themed artwork using recycled materials inspired by the pupils of Sutton Park Primary School.
Russ has also started a large-scale sculpture commission for the Andrew Marvell Business and Enterprise College in Hull. This is a series of sculptures arising from Andrew Marvell's poem The Mower Against Gardens. Russ has taken the prophetic qualities of the Marvell's proto-green movement observations on man's interaction with nature, combined with the bubble economy of Tulipomania referred to in the same poem and used them as a basis from which to critique of the unchanging nature of human fears and phobias in the face of technological change whilst at the same time observing the migration of the Arcadian idyll into the domestic garden which has now become a haven for the natural and the wild rather than banishing it.
The landscape of the "Mower" is now an unrecognisable green
desert, a monoculture twisting 180 degrees to become Marvell's "dead and standing pool of air" rather than the reformation garden, which was the original object of his ridicule. Or Russ thinks he
might just have some fun with coloured concrete and outdoor sculpture?
Zoë has had a very busy few months, performing Tyne at the Live Theatre, a play written by Michael Chaplin with music by Kathryn Tickell, followed by a long run with the November Club, performing in a promenade piece, Operation Pied Piper, at Wallington Hall; Whose Genes are these? at the British science festival and Dr Mullins and the elephant in the dock at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Zoë is currently writing, devising and acting in Mr Doom and Mrs Blooms Story Emporium that she will be showcasing at Live Theatre, in December 2013. The characters Mr Doom and Mrs Bloom take their cart from market to market selling flowers and stories for wide ranging audiences. This will become a show that can be literally 'wheeled out' and adapted for audiences of children and adults alike, suitable for schools, theatres, festivals, cabaret audiences and, of course, markets!
Zoë's next project is a piece that will be performed in January 2014 for Holocaust Memorial Day.
Jude: In August 2013, Jude joined the Summer We Go Public project, at Nes, an international residency, located in a remote area of North Iceland. For seven weeks Jude facilitated the Skagaströnd Pinhole Photography Booth offering workshops, making and exhibiting work and collaborating with members of the community.
December is the last opportunity to see Shields Road Seen Unseen at Byker Metro, Newcastle upon Tyne. This work was created by Jude in collaboration with Arcadea and the St Martin's One O'clock club earlier this summer.
News (June 2013 update):
Russ, Nicky and Jude had a great experience
at the international festival for culture and ecology Grynparkas 2013 in May.
The festival explored the relationship of culture and nature in an urbanised location. EMBEDDED IN
NATURE was an itinerary of live installations, performances, interactive situations on the island of the river Nemunas, in the centre
of Kaunas city, Lithuania. In honour of the occasion, Lines of Desire built
themselves a Nemunas nest, in which Russ and Nicky took on the characters of Maurice and Maureen - part Park Keeper, part Bowerbird. They spent the duration of the festival preening, curating their
nest and singing to themselves (much to the delight of the audience and passers by). More images are available in the gallery here or on the Grynparkas Facebook
Lines of Desire love the David Attenborough clip about Bowerbirds here.
Zoë has been involved in another promenade piece, this time at Newcastle's Live Theatre in Live
Witness. A production directed by Annie Rigby and Amy Golding to mark Live Theatre's 40th Birthday. In this, Zoë retold a story of her first experience of working for Live in a 1995 production of Cabaret where she came a cropper in a gorilla suit!
She has now gone on to work on the next Live Theatre production, The Tyne created by Michael Chaplin, featuring the work of many writers who have collaborated with the theatre including Julia Darling, Sid Chaplin, Alan Plater and Tom Hadaway. The play has music woven throughout it, with Kathryn Tickell as Musical Director. Zoë is enjoying the opportunity to further her musical skills, as well as working alongside a great cast.
Jude: Next Stop Byker is an exciting art project bringing to life the busy ticket concourse at Byker Metro station. Nexus and Newcastle City Council have secured Arts Council England funding to provide a programme of 6 art commissions for the station.
Each installation will be very different, and led by a different artist who will work with local community groups to generate ideas and themes. Jude is undertaking the second of these commissions and has been facilitating a series of workshops over the past couple of weeks. The shared focus of the project has been Shields Road, encouraging those involved to think about a sense of place. Participants from the Arcadea Hub and the St Martins 55 Club have been making cameras, taking photos and developing the resulting images. There have been some great discussions during the workshops and the groups have made some striking images. The result is a combination of unusual viewpoints of Byker.
The final design will be 2.5m high and 11m wide. Follow the Next Stop Byker Facebook page to follow its development. There will be a celebratory launch on August 1st.
Russ is so busy doing stuff with concrete, he hasn't had time to give us an update (although he does have some very exciting news about a new commission he is working on)!
News (April 2013 update):
Zoë is full of activity of the theatrical kind…
During February and March this year she was busy working with Tender Buttons Theatre Company on an exciting promenade performance of Susan Sontag's Alice In Bed, a raucous, joyful play based on the life and diaries of Alice James (1848-92), sharp-witted sister to Henry and William James. Directed by Tess Denman Cleaver, the piece was a site-specific performance, responding to The Stephenson Works, Newcastle upon Tyne.
At the end of March and throughout April Zoë had fun working with the November Club, conceiving and performing in Dr Mullins' Anatomy of the Theatre Royal. This was another promenade performance, where the audience were invited to delve into the inner workings of Newcastle's Theatre Royal, to discover the history of the building, explore the nooks and crannies and learn about a time in 1830 when an Elephant called Mademoiselle D'Jeck performed on the stage. This is based on an unusual, true story in which the elephant was put on trial, in Morpeth, for killing her keeper. Despite being found guilty, she was eventually let off with a fine of 5 shillings, due to the cruelty of her Keeper! Zoë played Fanny Montmorency, a most peeved actress, and a knowledgeable domestic called Norma!
During May Zoë will embark on another promenade performance. This time at the Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, in a specially commissioned piece to mark the theatre's 40th birthday.
Jude: Byker Metro Arts Commission:
Nexus has secured Arts Council England funding to develop and deliver a rolling programme of temporary public art works for Byker metro station. Jude has been commissioned to undertake one of these projects and is about to embark on a participatory, pinhole photography programme with local community groups to generate a series of images and ideas. These will then be incorporated into a final large-scale two-dimensional work that will be sited in Byker metro station (Newcastle upon Tyne) later in the summer. More details will follow later as the project progresses.
Russ: Over the past few months Russ has been perfecting a line of concrete jewellery for a design company in Glasgow. He has also been creating artworks for two ongoing projects: The Concrete Cookbook, "A heady blend of concrete stone and cookery". This explores Russ' love of process and materials. It critiques the distinction between High Art and the Home Arts and considers the nature of creativity. Russ' other project is the One Million Drawings in a Year. He has been in training with multiple drawings at 7 seconds per image (a ream of drawings in 46 minutes).
Russ has also been perfecting his Gull calls for Grynparkas…
The Lines of Desire collective are off to Kaunas, Lithuania to create a quirky installation on the Nemunas Island between 10th and 12th May 2013 (click here for more info).
They're delighted to announce that they will be joined on this project by Nicky Rushton. Nicky is a freelance musician and composer. Nicky is currently working the project Homes for Heroes as composer and musician. In the past Nicky has led the Sacriston Community Choir and has collaborated with Zoë on a variety of musical and performance based projects. Nicky performs and writes for MUSH, and previously for All Because The Lady Loves.
The aim of the international festival for culture and ecology Grynparkas 2013 is to create an environmental event that would show harmonious relationship of culture and nature in an urbanised location. EMBEDDED IN NATURE is an itinerary of live installations, performances, interactive situations on the island of the river Nemunas, in the centre of Kaunas city. It will take place on the weekend of 10th and 12th of May 2013. A part of the project will be also shown in Birštonas, on the 13th, where two earlier editions of the festival took place.
Since two years one can see on the Nemunas island one of the biggest sport and event arena in Lithuania, Zalgiris. On the opposite side of the channel that is dividing the island and the city one can see the biggest shopping centre "Akropolis" as well as industrial garages and a huge abandoned hotel. On the other side of the river our gaze is confronted to an abandoned harbour, to the tubes of a mill factory. Still further one can admire the panorama of the Old city or the banks of Aleksotas district. From time to time a stranger takes a walk on the island but there is no bank where he or she could sit and take a rest, no cultural communication means. That is why artists who will be participating in the project got a task to create something unexpected, something that encourages new experiences and new relationship to nature.
The first meeting of the organizers who come from Germany, Greece and Lithuania was organized on the 20-22 of July in 2012. The artistic concept of the project was created, it allowed later on in September to organize an international open call for artists. In one month the organizers got 24 applications from 9 countries. 20 professional artists from 7 countries as well as 30 art students will participate in the project.
It is one of the first international projects in Lithuania where creative ideas of different artists and different art fields that they represent will be joined together into one performance- installation. Such a concept of the presentation allows spectators not just to see one performance for which one can afford to pay, but a whole range of artistic activities.