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Our Bata-ville installation
Part archive, part exhibition

Knee pads for the North

AT LAST I’m on the train after a grueling 4 day ‘hang’ of our Leeds show for the Northern Art Prize. We are really pleased with the final result, but boy was it a slog.

It all came flooding back to me on day one when we arrived to find progress on our space a ‘little delayed’ about 6 hours into day one I was already reacquainted enough with the familiar pain of installing an exhibition to remember why we haven’t really had one for years! Making films can be exhausting hard work and emotionally grueling but it can also have ‘highs’ that I have yet to encounter whilst scrabbling around on a grubby gallery floor or trying to fix something to a high wall with inappropriate fixtures.

The worst thing is your knees … within about an hour of arriving Karen wished she’d bought her knee pads (which we did in the end purchase when we used to regularly install and de-install our huge Island model!) as you seem to spend an awful lot of time on the floor moving things about. You never have the right screwdriver and I think someone might even have pinched my tape measure.

Still as Matthew Olden would say ‘mustn’t grumble’ it’s finally up and it looks great even if we do say so ourselves.

A MASSIVE THANKS is due to the East Tilbury Bata Resource & Reminiscence Centre who have lent us much of their precious archive for the show, mixed in with the Bata-ville materials it’s made for a really interesting screening space/archive. Also due are thanks to Tim for helping with the hang and Sue Giovanni for her patient work on our new film ‘Little Deluxe Living’ finished late the night before we left for Leeds. Thanks to go to Andrew & John at Leeds City Art Gallery who soldiered on helping with our rather ‘unusual’ hang right up until the Private View wine started to flow.

Wish us luck, we’ve gone completely over board on effort for the show and there is a prize – as Karen keeps reminding me – “we’re in it to win it”!

Then at 2.00 everyday it becomes a mini cinema
for a screening of the full length documentary

Photo: Nina Pope

Look at them go in Leeds!

This is the hot trade happening on 'the honesty table' last night at the opening of the Northern Art Prize show ...

We had great veg. from the local Leeds & District Gardeners Federation (thanks to Dan Robinson for bringing this in), Rice from Toge, Karen's umeboshi, Jerusalem Artichokes from Tim's Dad's allotment, Japanese Zouri & more ... it looked & tasted great.

Get down to the gallery for your fresh produce while stocks last ... or better still take some of your own down and sell it from the table.

You can now read more about what's on the table on it's own page here.

Curiously the tables were specially made for us by a great company in East London called Unto This Last - each with 6 special money slots. I say curiously as this project (all part of 7 Samurai) has become for Karen & I about a set of strange coincidences ... in this instance the Ruskin connection that inspires the company name, as Karen lives in Ruskin's former farm house ... anyway it's a long story all now in the short film 'Little Deluxe Living' showing with the table.

The BR&RC team ...
Photo: Nina Pope

Meanwhile in East Tilbury ...

Big congratulations are due to the fantastic team from the Bata Resource & Reminiscence Centre on their successful fund-raising and new refurbishment. It was great to see everyone again at the launch!

For those with a 'Bata' interest you might want to take a look at my group on Flickr for Bata pics. there are now some interesting ones from all over the world. People still send Karen and I pictures of Bata shops spotted on their travels, and this is a good place to keep them.

We have a group for Zlin too.

Bata Avenue Autumn 2007
Photo: Nina Pope

Julie with Maryport's last Bata relic?

Sad sign

Here's the lovely Julie of Akitts curtains in Maryport, with the Bata awning which they found in the basement when they took over the site in the mid 70's. I travelled to see if we might be able to use it in our Leeds City Art Gallery Northern Art Prize show.
Sadly it had got very damp and rotten, but as we rolled it out on the yard we both couldn't help admiring it.

Bata-ville comes back to Cumbria!

Its a welcome return for our first film 'Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future' to Cumbria and to the home turf of its Maryport stars!
The film will screen at the new 'Docs at the Docks' film festival at Barrow-in-Furness' Canteen on Michaelson Rd.
Date: Tues. 27th November
Time: 8.00pm for an intro from me and some cast members
Entry is £6
See the website for more info

In the kitchen at Lawson Park
Chopsticks really do work best for this

Northern Art Prize homework

Here I am with my pan full of umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums)- or, strictly speaking, Cumbrian pickled damsons.
After a month under a heavy weight, in alcohol, salt and red shiso they're getting dried off in readiness for their appearance in the Japanese component of our Northern Art Prize show at Leeds City Art Gallery later this month....

A Song for a Circus

Somewhere is suddenly VERY busy ... we're still trying to sort out Almanac, we're off to Newlyn to see the new Gallery there next week, we're working really hard on our show for the Northern Art Prize in Leeds (on everything from making 'honesty' tables to editing our new short film) AND we're launching the first of two Somewhere projects for Agrifashionista this week --->

A Song for a Circus is a Somewhere project I'm developing with composer Tim Olden. It's for the wonderful Arnold Circus on the Boundary Estate in East London & we're looking for musicians who live or work there to collaborate with us ...

Read more here or see our lovely new posters on the circus --->

(Thanks to Steve Ounanian for designing these with us)