A look back at the #BCUInspired Festival

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Now in its Second Year the #BCUInspired Festival has proven to be a vibrant and exciting event for everyone. The Festival contained a number of graduate exhibitions that showcased the innovative talent of Birmingham City University (BCU) Students across the Arts, Design and Media sites. During the Inspired Festival, Parkside Gallery participated by showcasing an exhibition titled ‘BCU: A Year in Pictures’ encapsulating various special moments from around the university in 2015/16.

The Inspired Festival launched with a special screening of Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction, which was voted as Best Film of the 90’s by BCU Staff and Students.

The first graduate show private view was held at the School of Art. It was an engaging and challenging evening that showcased the multi-medium practices of final year Fine Art and Art and Design Students. The inspired event was accompanied by an awards ceremony with prizes given to students in disciplines that included Sculpture, Painting, Photography and Curation. The Prestigious Pip Seymour Painting Prize being awarded to Tabi Lampe for her vibrant and atmospheric paintings.

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Set against the dramatic backdrop of the historic building, Birmingham school of Jewellery showcased a diverse range of work within areas such as Gemmology, Horology, Silversmithing and Jewellery practice.  One of the most striking elements was the multi-disciplinary nature of the work, highly relevant to the industry and contemporary jewellery making. Andrew Glover from BA (Hons) Horology went away with four Awards, most notably the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers Award and the Cartier Award.

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The night of the 15th June was the largest Faculty of Arts, Design and Media private view, welcoming over 1000 visitors to Parkside building. Shows filled all four floors – bringing together Industry partners, alumni, staff and family to celebrate the student’s achievements. Some of the most prestigious awards came from Furniture Design, Architecture and Textiles Design. Triple Award Winner Beau Birkett was awarded with the Louisa Ann Ryland Scholarship, which will fund his travel to Copenhagen to work in the Furniture design industry for a month.

The second year of the Inspired Festival has been a huge success, it’s generated a large amount of  interest and strengthened links to industry. We’re looking forward to next year’s shows and wish all of our graduates every success in their future endeavors.

 

 

`Sir Michael Balcon – Birmingham’s Film Knight’

Birmingham born Sir Michael Balcon is featuring in a brand new exhibition at the Parkside gallery. The exhibition is dedicated to the film producer whose work had a huge impact upon the British film industry for over half a century. Balcon produced a vast filmography of over 350+ films and mentored the likes of David Puttnam and Sir Alan Parker.

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Balcon was involved in many areas of the industry including studio head at Gaumont-British and Ealing Studios. He received a knighthood in 1948 for his services to the film industy and helped set up the BAFTA awards. Balcon was an integral part of the British Film Insitute (BFI) experimental Film fund in the 50’s, now known as the BFI Film fund  headed by Ben Roberts.

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Born at his father’s tailoring shop in Birmingham in 1896 and part of a family of eastern European origin that had migrated to the UK Balcon was able to be at the forefront of the British film industry. He had a strong eye for talent and is credited with giving Alfred Hitchcock his first film role.

During the 1920’s Balcon  teamed up with two fellow film pioneers Oscar Deutsch and Victor Saville.  Oscar Deutsch later went on to set up the iconic ODEON film circuit applying the art deco talents of Birmingham architects, Harry Weedon Partnership. Mean-while Victor Saville left for Hollywood where he became an A list movie director. These three ‘Brummies’ who were brought up but a few miles from each other revolutionised UK film in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s in respect to their work rate, entrepreneurialism, innovation and success.

The exhibition seeks to explore the life and times of Sir Michael Balcon exploring themes such as the immigrant ‘arrivals culture’  and the collaborative work that he undertook throughout his career. The show will also explore Balcon’s time at Gainsborough and Gaumont along with his prolific work at Ealing studios. The show reflects upon Balcons legacy and raises questions about Birmingham as a film city and the legacy for the new generation.

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Professor Roger Shannon will be curating the show which aligns with his passion for Film and Television and his research in UK film policy and Independent Film. Roger  has previously organised a symposium on Balcon’s career in 2012, he will be supported by film experts at the BFI, Mac cinema, Flatpack Film festival and Birmingham City University.

Birmingham’s Film Knight will take place between 12thSeptember – 21st October 2016.

Slow Wet Tar (a fictional, but stubborn substance)

16th April – 15th May 2016, 9am-5pm, (including Saturdays)

Parkside Building ground floor (adjacent to main lifts)

Richard Schofield, a lecturer at the School of Visual Communications in Birmingham City University, has provided a unique insight into the works on display as part of the Slow Wet Tar exhibition.  Each piece tells an intricate story that stretches beyond the art itself visually and links into make though provoking issues we face today.

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Slow Wet Tar, a new work by Richard Schofield:

A – Discontinuity:

Several lines of thought, (almost) simultaneously.

Familiar to us all during the course of the day; one distraction or preoccupation triggering another, from the need to amend our supermarket list, to feelings of frail mortality, and everything in between.  This life of fractions may perplex when applied to the audience experience of an exhibition, where a ‘body of work’ presents instead as a multiplex, a mix of semantics, and a mix of visual ‘languages’.  The convention is generally for the aesthetic to maintain a steady heading, a solid coherence, a singular, continuous visual presence.

This convinces the audience of the vein of authenticity, and reassures the market-place of the continuous vein of salability; whether commercial or intellectual.

At the other extreme, there are individuals who have insisted on cultivating a stream of atypical work.  It’s about somewhere half-way between that interests me.  A couple of times during the hanging of the exhibition I was asked if the work was created by several individuals.  It’s interesting that stepping across boundaries still has an element of awkwardness to it.

Discontinuity……the incursion of slow wet tar….a fictional, but stubborn substance.

B – The Rock Pool:

As a child I served a full apprenticeship in rock-pooling, drawn by the apparent total other-worldliness; staring into a universe whose complex and extraordinary system does not necessarily co-exist with ours.  Escapism certainly, but, above all an exploration; close observation, acknowledgment of another universe, visitor to an alternative multiplex.

Natural history: – its scientific aspect, its mysterious aspect. Precisely delineated and delicate visually, but also a grand abstraction and a medium of continuously variable liquid distortions.

C – Thinking with the hands:

The Italian chemist and writer Primo Levi (1919-1987) I refer to once in relation to four works (We Are Not Monsters) in the exhibition.  Completely

‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ Documenting Birmingham’s Independent Music Scene 1986-1990

3rd-27th May 2016, Parkside’s Atrium Gallery

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Paul Long, Jez Collins and Sarah Raine from BCU’s Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Studies have been working in collaboration with Birmingham-based promoter and photographer, Dave Travis, to produce the upcoming exhibition ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’. This exhibition surveys the nature and value of The Click Club, hosted at the Burberries nightclub on a pre-regeneration Broad Street, locating it within the context of a wider set of cultural and economic activity. 2016 sees the 30th year of the Click Club: an opportune moment to celebrate the space and scene it represents.

A central venue on the touring circuit, the club showcased bands such as Primal Scream, Fuzzbox, The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Charlatans, Mighty Mighty and Killing Joke, becoming one of the key nights in the Birmingham alternative music scene. Setting many bands on their way to national recognition, The Click Club also provided a space for the expression and regional adaptation of a range of subcultural styles, inspired and influenced by these particular surroundings. Drawing on the personal archive of Dave Travis, this exhibition engages with posters, magazines, contract sheets, video and audio recordings, ticket stubs and set lists, in addition to a photographic record of the club, detailing a dynamic space and time.Burberries

The Click Club holds a very special place in my memories of the time. It was a brilliant experience, full of hugely talented and dedicated people from the bands to the promoters, record shop workers and owners to indie and rock kids out for a good time.

A Click Club regular.

In addition to working with Dave’s personal archive, the curators have engaged with the club’s community of regulars, who continue to produce their own archives of memory and memorabilia on and offline, including individual and group memories in both curatorial interpretation and the development of an exhibition catalogue. Through the use of a range of archival materials, the Parkside Gallery will host the spaces, people, bands, music and ephemera created by the four years of culturally and musically influential nights at The Click Club.

In collaboration with Vivid Projects post-punk season and the BFI National Archive, BCU will also be hosting This is Now: Film and Video After Punk, a major new touring project that looks at artists’ film and video from the post-punk era (1978–85). During this event, Video Killed the Radio Star will be screened at BCU, followed by a panel discussion and tour of the exhibition. Dates to be confirmed.

Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research www.bcmcr.org

Havill & Travis www.havillandtravis.com

Birmingham Music Archive www.birminghammusicarchive.com

Vivid Projects www.vividprojects.org.uk

BFI This Is Now www.thisisnow.org.uk

Forthcoming exhibition: Gebhard Sengmüller’s Slide Movie – Diafilmprojektor @ Flatpack Film Festival

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18 – 24 April 2016

Gebhard Sengmüller

Gebhard Sengmüller is an Austrian artist working in the field of media technology, currently based in Vienna. Since 1992 he has been developing projects and installations focussing on the history of electronic media; creating alternative ordering systems for media content; and constructing autogenerative networks. His work has been shown extensively in Europe the US and Asia in venues and festivals such as Ars Electronica Linz, the Venice Biennale, the Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Postmasters Gallery NYC, the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, Microwave Festival Hong Kong, and the ICC Center Tokyo.

Slide Movie – Diafilmprojektor

Slide Movie is one of Sengmüller’s most lauded works. In a seamless blending of art and technology he creates a playful and thoughtful installation which uses technology from a bygone era. Taking an 80 second sequence (35mm motion picture, 24 fps) from Sam Peckinpah’s 1974 film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Sengmüller has cut up each frame, mounted them as slides, and then distributed them among 24 slide projectors all aiming at the same screen. They click and beam, one immediately after the other creating 24 flashes every second, collectively producing the appearance, at least rudimentarily (and inevitably very inaccurately, due to the lack of precision of the mechanical devices) of a projected motion picture. The film soundtrack emerges as a byproduct – the mechanical clattering of the projectors changing slides.

Slide Movie is located not only in the field of media archaeology though, but also in the field of media theory. With the infernal noise produced by twenty-four slide projectors changing pictures, the “film projector” is liberated from the sound-proof projection room and opened up. With the inside out, we find ourselves no longer in the audience space, but in the middle of the projector. The film, whose content is conventionally the focal point, moves into the background. What becomes visible, as though under a magnifying glass, is the medium, the illusion, the way still images are turned into moving pictures.

www.flatpackfestival.org.uk | @flatpack

Article courtesy of Sam Groves.

The Spotlight: Helen Foot and her handwoven scarves

Helen Foot designs, image courtesy of Julia Nottingham.

Helen Foot designs, image courtesy of Julia Nottingham.

The latest exhibition to grace the Parkside Gallery, ‘Textiles&….’ provides a culmination of all things textiles, focusing on two contrasting themes – textiles & product and textiles & memory, featuring the outcomes of personal journeys.

The exhibition displays pieces from various renowned designers all addressing different themes, evoking contrasting feelings and emotions. Some of the work on show includes the collection of handwoven scarves by Helen Foot.

About Helen

Helen was educated at the Royal College of Art where she undertook a master’s degree in woven textiles. From this Helen went on to occupy the role of studio manager for scarf designer Wallace and Sewell in Islington, London.

The display

The products on display reflect how Helen predominantly works with natural fibres, wool, cotton and cashmere, and includes two lines of handwoven scarves with examples from all of Helen’s collections. Helen said:

“I hope that the playful, fun nature of the products is really delivered to visitors of the exhibition, I would like to think that my products on display portray a sense of happiness and light. I feel this work on show really does break out of tradition, especially with the new collection.”

The collections

New scarf collections are now produced roughly every two years by Helen, with all products being handwoven from start to finish. Current collections include the ‘Festival Collection’; inspired by the Festival of Britain, including 1950s colour palettes, ‘The Regal Collection’; a lightweight set of summer themed scarves made from 100% cotton and demonstrating bold sharp stripes, and finally the ‘Canvas Collection’; knitting and weaving using French knit tubing.

To find out more about the products that will be on display within ‘Textiles &….’ visit  Helen’s official website.

A look back at Birmingham Galleries Night

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Birmingham City University’s Parkside Gallery.

 

A highly anticipated event unique in its approach, a date on the calendar worthy of being highlighted extensively, and a culmination of intriguing conversations and likeminded individuals embracing both people and art of all varieties. Galleries Night.

The art lovers

The annual occasion where six of Birmingham’s best art venues open their doors to all culture lovers in a city-wide celebration of all things arty has finished for another year. The evening of October 30th saw hundreds of art enthusiasts from all over the world circulating around the city with the help of the designated ‘Art Bus’, chauffeuring guests to the doorstep of each gallery for free.

People of all ages and nationalities mingled around the galleries at their own leisure, accompanied by the odd complementary glass of wine and a handful of nachos. Their love of art being the one thing that undoubtedly united them all.

Something for everybody

Exhibitions, paintings and traditional sculptures in all shapes and sizes were but a few of the varieties available for viewing, whether it was Parkside Gallery’s ‘Punk Rock! So What?’ exhibition full of attitude, controversial images and punk artefacts spanning over the past 40 years, or a glimpse into 17th-century Dutch Portraiture from one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Galleries Night really did have something for everybody.

Let’s get social

The evening sparked conversations widely across social media, with various local bloggers and groups including ‘Instagrammers of Birmingham’ in attendance. One of its members made an extra special effort by dressing up as a skeleton, putting a Halloween twist on proceedings.

Here’s to next year

So now we look to next year, and anticipate another truly encompassing and diverse evening. If you didn’t make it this time, make sure you pencil October 30th 2016 in your diary, it will be worth it.

For more information on Birmingham Galleries Night follow us on social media at @parksidegallery or visit #BrumHour.