Category Archives: Art

Golem

Golem at HOME by Vanessa Roth

I went to see “Golem” a performance by a leading theatre company known as “1927” in Manchester’s new “HOME” theatre on the 15th October. At first I didn’t know what to expect, I saw images of the production online and thought, this looks different! The actors interact with animations, which are projected onto the background. The style of the animations and characterizations of the actors was very surreal. I knew it wouldn’t be a typical theatre performance like lion king, but I didn’t expect it to be so bizarre.

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The story follows Robert, an estranged and nerdy loner who works in an office job with other strange people. One day Robert decides to purchase a “Golem”. A Golem is a clay sculpture (presented as an animation) similar to ‘Morph’. Golem’s walk and talk and were made to obey their owners. Golem was set to obey Robert’s every command, but as the story progresses it shows how Golem ‘updates’ itself and becomes more forceful in its suggestions. Timid Robert then becomes too dependent on Golem to the point where Golem starts to dictate his every thought – from his love life to his job, to his hobbies. The concept of the story was very captivating and I could see a clear reflection of Golem symbolising a Smartphone. The story of Golem is easily relatable to modern day and shows how technology is starting to control us. It shows how the development of technology is quickly expanding and we don’t know who is in control of it. As the story goes on, Robert’s personality changes into a self-obsessed sociopath, which shows the negative effect Golem has on his persona.

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The visuals in Golem were like nothing I have ever seen before. It was truly amazing to watch. The ‘trippy’ graphics along with the music created such an atmosphere that you felt like you were in the animated world with them. It was such a new experience; the combination of physical theatre and interactive animations was done brilliantly. The actors were so in sync that it was as though they were sometimes part of the background. There wasn’t a moment when my eyes weren’t drawn to the stage. It was truly captivating.

Although I didn’t always understand the estranged humour of the play, I could still appreciate the visuals and the message. It was an overall great experience.

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Guest Blog – Kristian Baines

A fresh pair of eyes on the Performance Poetry Scene #justsaying

The event I attended was a spoken word event, #JustSaying, by Reform Radio, hosted by Young Identity.  Reform Radio is a shared digital arts platform, born and bred by young, creative Manchester working predominately with 18-30-year-olds who are not in work, education or training.  The event was hosted to help raise money for their crowdfunding campaign for new studio equipment – www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reformradio.

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I have very little experience when it comes to the artistic production of the spoken word, the only time I have come across it has been in television or films. What I ended up learning from the event is that it is a scene that encourages others to develop and wants everyone to take part in it.

The performances were all astonishing. One aspect I came to really admire is that every performer had their own singular style that really showed them as a character. There were some performances that were colored and came from a challenging past. Whilst others had a more comedic aspect to it. There was also an inclusion of props and references that fit into some acts tremendously well.

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I came in with an open mind, however, there was a pretense that that the event would be as a whole, doom and gloom, as it is portrayed in media. That I would not enjoy the evening and would leave in a rather depressed mood. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly mistaken, there was a real energy and buzz throughout the event that kept and upbeat and positive arc as the evening progressed.

This is not to take away from the more serious and harder hitting poetry. These were amazing performances that conveyed real emotion and clearly came from a time in their lives that were not safe for them. Even so, they have learned to cope, change them for the better and channel their emotions into a healthy creative aspect which gives them joy. This is a great thing to see as young people do sometimes have a tendency to not be able to control their emotions well and showing there is another creative outlet that they may not have had thought of or seen that can really help them.

I’d say that the evening was a massive success in my opinion, it was a cracking night. Filled with good food, drink and people. Everyone there was so friendly and approachable and I could tell by speaking with some of the performers they truly loved what they do. I would whole heartily recommend attending something like this if you are looking for something a little bit different. I would very much like to attend a similar event in the near future.

Maybe even take part!

 

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Last Dance Review – Dom Corry

Everything about this play is perfect. The conviction and throat grabbing  attention  that the script and the deliverance of it demand,  the small Kings Arms theatre in which, if you are lucky enough to be in the presence of genuine talent (which I gratefully am ), you are transported into perilous horror of  New York in 1983 into the homes of the tightest knit groups, into the minds of the most terrified, vulnerable and abandoned. ‘Last Dance’  is  the heart clenching story  of a close group of friends, ruptured by the Aids Epidemic in New York Focusing on Corey (Richard Allen, who gives an overwhelming and poignant portrait of his character) and his slow decline at the hands of the illness and at the hands of the government’s refusal to acknowledge Aids as an illness.

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His friends and family struggle to cope in the wake of the fact that someone that they love  so  intensely is dying, and it affects them all in different and coruscatingly complex ways, Corey’s Boyfriend  Peter (Ben Corry) does not know how to cope with the situation,his composure and ultimately his relationship crumbles at the hands of fear,whilst close friend Alan (Ryan McMyler) tragically fluctuates between reason, panic and desire, both Ryan and Ben’s Performances do perfect justice to the tangled and complicated yearning of their characters. Danny (Paul Worrall) and James (Lloyd Eyre-Morgan)  Diligently  try to maintain  calm and comfort among their fraying  group,with Humor and Guard Dog Loyalty and via the actors we are provided with a much-required release from the reality of the situation .   Continue reading

Learning SketchUp

Here at SharpFutures we’ve begun using SketchUp to mock-up the stages and studios at The Space Project & The Sharp Project.

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It always takes a bit of trial and error when using a new piece of software , but we believe it will be an effective tool for potential clients to able to view a 3D digital scale model of the stages or studios they are looking to hire.

We will post back soon with some of our ideas and developments.

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NORTH: The Great Debate – Design Mcr Festival 2014

The week before last Manchester held the Design Mcr Festival: The Science of Imagination. Which is: “10 days of events celebrating creativity, collaboration and inclusivity in the worlds of art, design, illustration, animation and photography

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 13.17.54There were events including: exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, debates and more. Adapt Studios hosted a Graphic Design workshop at The Sharp Project called DesignDojo for young people during half-term which went down very well. Andy (pictured) delivered interesting insights into the design process; how logos and brands are conceived with imagination, creativity and trial and error. The attendees were tasked with creating identities from basic drawing tools, scissors and glue.

SharpFutures also helped to run NORTH: The Great Debate at TheIMG_1376 Manchester School of Art , myself and 4 members of our placement scheme were tasked with meet and greet, distributing name badges to the invited guests and checking tickets of visitors.

Many guests were high-profile people within the industry, the event having been organised and run by Malcolm Garrett and Kasper de Graaf of IMAGES&Cothe panel consisted of Sir Richard Leese [Leader of Manchester City Council], Lou Cordwell [CEO magneticNORTH], Caroline Norbury [CEO of Creative England] & Professor David Crow [Dean of The Manchester School of Art] who led a balanced argument from different positions and viewpoints within the sector.

During the event I was in charge of the roving microphone as the event was a general Question & Answer format between the audience and panel; whilst Dan, Lucy, Nick & Callum were collecting the names and positions of the speakers in the audience for use in title cards for the film which will be made of the debate. I will post a link of the video when it has been released, which should give a good overview of the debate.

There were some interesting points made during the evening, where even the definition of ‘The North’ became a contentious issue. But hopefully it will be the beginning of developing relations between the northern cities and creating a dynamic northern corridor for business and especially creative digital.

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GuestBlog – M20Photography – Abstract iPhone Art

Create Abstract Art with an iPhone & a Torch

All photographers have to start somewhere, and whilst for high-end commissions, quality gear may be essential, during the time that you are building up a portfolio and learning all  about light, shadow & composition, a simple phone camera & one light source can yield surprising results. This blog is all about accessible art – all the following shots were all taken at home on an iPhone 5, using available light which anybody can do.

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The first subject is nothing more than a bangle laid on an A4 piece of paper, lit by a torch (from the Pound shop!) I folded the edge of the paper over to create more shadow – you can do this, and more at home yourself and here’s how:

Take an interesting object – something that might create a dramatic shadow & place on a piece of white paper on a table – don’t just plonk it in the middle, consider the rule of thirds. http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/

Lie the torch on the table and move it all around the subject until it casts a shadow you like. Switch ALL the house lights off, yes even the TV – this is best done during the evening with no other light which might detract the effect. For extra texture, try tearing or cutting the paper.

Frame your shot holding the phone firmly with 2 hands, zoom in if necessary although bear in mind, this may cause extra fuzziness (grain).  Either lean on the table to hold as steady as possible – or tuck your elbows into your body for support if photographing from above.

Hold still for several seconds whilst the camera focuses, wait a few more seconds and then click with as little movement as possible – remember, the slightest shake can blur your shot.

It’s surprising how close-up the iPhone will focus, but you do need to be patient whilst it searches for something to focus on. If it doesn’t focus on your desired point, gently touch the screen on your focal point and wait a few more seconds for the camera to refocus.

The following shot is an ordinary glass tumbler placed on a sparkly tile underneath a kitchen downlight. I added perspective by twisting the corner of the phone to create distortion, rather than photographing flat on.

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And here’s the apple icon on my iMac with the keyboard reflected by kitchen lights.

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This is a small sculpture of a double bass player lit by a torch against a propped-up piece of white paper. The smaller images are the same sculpture but with a tin foil background, and a wider view of the set-up.

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For the purpose of this blog, all images are unedited other than cropping, no filters, no colour correction, contrast or borders etc – I wanted to show how you don’t even need to leave your sofa to create fun images that add to your portfolio. Have a go yourself — we’d love to see your results.

For anyone interested – the photograph below is the only one taken on a professional camera (again unedited so you can judge the results for yourself)

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Some other resource to inspire you:-

http://iphonephotographyschool.com
http://www.ippawards.com/2014-winners/

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Mondrian & his Studios – Tate Liverpool

I recently came across an exhibition at Tate Liverpool of Piet Mondrian and the relationship between his work and environment, called ‘Mondrian & his studios’ – which focuses as much on his work as it does on how and why he created the pieces he did.

This interested me in particular as it gives you a fresh angle on his world famous style and technique. I’ve visited Salvador Dalí‘s House-Museum at Port Lligat on Spains’ Costa Brava, which I found fascinating as it gave you a window into his world; his inspiration and what stimulated him. And I think this a gives a similar, although slightly contrived simulation of how it might have been to be Piet Mondrian.

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Classic Mondrian Design

The main focus of the exhibition is to explore the connection between his work and urban environments, as he had studios in Paris, Amsterdam & New York at different times during his life – all very unique and iconic cities which had a profound effect upon his work at the time. You can see how urban 3 have influenced his work with, the grid-system of modern cities like New York reflected in his most famous works like the iconic red/yellow/blue rectangles & black line paintings. For example his reconstructed Parisian studio of circa 1925 is essentially a giant living Mondrian made up of movable coloured wall panels.

The exhibition is running at Tate Liverpool until 5th October, find out more here.

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Z-Card Production for The Space Project

The Space Project is Manchesters newly-built flagship drama & production facility, located in West Gorton 5 minutes from Central Manchester – it is the site of the old Fujitsu & ICL  computer housings. The Space Project was built in response to meet the growing demand for high quality, flexible production space in the North West.

I was recently briefed on a design project for a combined marketing, technical specification and business card functioning print device for The Space Project.

We chose a Z-Card format, as we thought this would be the most suitable and effective for our needs. The Z-Card is useful as it functions like a business card whilst folded up but as a double-sided sheet when unfolded (much like the classic Ordnance Survey map layout). The target audience are production teams so we thought this format would be easy to distribute , and are pocket/wallet-sized rather than having a large A4 folder like The Sharp Project brochure.

The Z-Card needed to be graphic guide to the site for productions and visitors, and also display all the features of the site and the technical specifications of the production facilities. At times this proved to be a challenge as we don’t have any photographs of the site, and we had no customer-facing footprints of the space except for the stylised logo.

On the first side I produced a simplified footprint of all customer-facing rooms and areas that will be used on the Ground Floor and First Floor with detailed dimensions and power specs for each sound stage.

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On the reverse side I used stills from the CGI animated marketing fly-through (produced by The Drawing Room) to annotate and visually demonstrate the spaces without using too much text which wouldn’t be read.

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We tried to leave empty space on both sides so that the diagrams could be annotated and people could make notes on them to enhance the card to their needs. The card will also serve as a preliminary basic marketing tool until we produce a proper brochure, like we did for The Sharp Project.

I designed the Z-Card with supervision from Tom Clarke (SharpFutures) and brand consultation from Malcolm Garrett (images.co.uk).

I’m pleased with the outcome of the printed Z-Card and I hope it proves useful to staff and customers.