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Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Nicolas Henninger from EXYZT , Paris visited Bristol to check out the OFFLOAD site and programme.

Created in 2003, by five architects, EXYZT creates, produces and organises various public, architectural, construction and design type works. EXYZT shakes up the idea of architecture as an independent field by purposefully creating multidisciplinary projects, which bring together architecture, video, graphic-design, botany, nature and food, to create new platforms, spaces and devices for expression and creation.

Nicolas spent the day in Bristol with Teresa, walking about the city, checking out art venues and the OFFLOAD site and discussing ideas.


Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Alicia Miller, Bristol Visual Arts Consortium (BVAC) has invited me to present OFFLOAD at the BVAC meeting. The meeting has resulted in further conversations with Media Arts Bath and Arnolfini about links, cross-overs with OFFLOAD.


Friday, March 23rd, 2007

OFFLOAD second public meeting was held at the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol on the 27th March. Again the meeting was well attended with twenty people from across the academic, arts, media and sustainability sector attending.Teresa provided an update about the event and local artist Heath Bunting spoke about the work he is planning to create for OFFLOAD.

Summary of the main happenings to date:
Create, Watershed, Spike Island, Cube Cinema key partners in the event; Key invited artists confirmed; Website launch in May 2007; First pre-flyers will be distributed in April 2007; Funding applications submitted; Discussions with Bristol City Council beginning around the use of public sites.

Attending the meeting:
Heath Bunting, artist; Karen Smith, arts development and management; Steve Bond, photographer; Eileen Haste, community artist; Ben, artist; Deborah Jones, community artist; Ale Fernandez, programmer and musician; Jim O’Shaughnessy, Green Arts Network; Antony Lyons, scientist/artist; Gill Haworth, Digital Co-ordinator, Watershed; Sy Taffel, media researcher; James Kennard, artist; Laura Stiefen, Science Communication Unit, researcher UWE; Emily Dawnson, researcher, Science Communication Unit,UWE; Adam Nieman, artist; Teresa Dillon, Polar Produce, OFFLOAD director.


Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Marie-Anne McQuay, who recently joined Spike Island as a programmer and curator has confirmed Spike Island’s interest in collaborating with OFFLOAD. Spike Island is one of the largest exhibition spaces in Bristol, which has its roots in the art studio tradition. Through contacts with Rachel Connelly, Spike’s technical manager, Marie-Anne and Spike Island’s director Lucy Byatt are provided the project space, equipment, cafe space etc for OFFLOAD.

Local artists including PaperScissorsStone, The Green Arts Network, photographer Steve Bond, artist-researcher Anthony Lyons and conservationist Nick Gray are also interested in presenting work at OFFLOAD.

Simon Harlow, Glasgow based designer (furniture, new materials etc) also came down to visit the OFFLOAD site (see below for examples of the form his new materials). Simon, grew up in the South West and we’ve been thinking about creating a travel-hut-type-carriage, which travels along with railway lines from Create to the Industry Museum. This idea stems in part from conversations with Antony Lyons, who had similar ideas, which he developed as part of a programme of work he did for his MA study.


Regular site visits to Create and surrounding area have resulted in Philip O’Dwyer (Polar Produce and Philip O’Dwyer Studio creating the site design and logo for the festival. Philip’s designs came from the ideas about recycling and repurposing material and kit, which we’d been talking about for sometime in other Polar Produce projects. Philip took apart a printer, which he found on the side of the street and used the different parts to make the OFFLOAD logo. Alongside, vegetation and planets which I’ve gathered from the OFFLOAD site, become have become part of the generative design that makes up this site.

offload plants 3



Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Discussions this month also included conversations with Saverio Romeo, Interferze Festival Italy – we’ve decided to do a swap, they will come to OFFLOAD, we will to go Interferze. Also met with Marion Giles, CREATE – the CREATE, Bristol’s environment centre have agreed to come on board with project. Thanks to Antony Lyons, Bristol City Council for establishing this connection. I met with Marion and Antony to discussion ways of collaborating with CREATE. Final meetings were with Kate Brindley, Director of Bristol’s Museums, Galleries & Archives Service about the use of possible spaces in and around the CREATE centre.


Friday, January 19th, 2007

Meeting on the 18th Jan, 2007 with Gill Haworth, Watershed; B Aga, Submerge and iDat, Plymouth and Nema El-Nahas, Arts Council South West at the Watershed, Bristol to discuss the development of OFFLOAD, logistics of the event, audiences etc. The conversation was really useful as Gill, B and Nema are all involved in producing, curating and running artists lead events.


Monday, December 18th, 2006

Since meeting with Juha Huuskonen, Director of Pixelache, in Helsinki last October, I’ve also meet with some other Finnish artists, namely the Dodo Collective. Dodo were in London for some meetings in January we met up for a drink and some food, plus discussed possible links with their group for OFFLOAD. Dodo are trying to set up the first think tank in Finland and regularly run artist lead events on the themes of ecology and sustainability. The group are also involved in a number of music and design lead initiatives.


Juha has also put us in touch with the Leandro Pisano and Saverio Romeo, Interferenze, directors/festival organizers from Italy. Interferenze, is festival which explores the connections between nature and technology. Leandro, Saverio, Juha and I have agreed to do an exchange with each others festivals, which hopefully will work out and add to the mix of activities that we are already engaged with in this area.

Various meetings with Heath Bunting, Irationaland feral trader, Kate Rich, both artists are Bristol based and will be contributing to OFFLOAD.

feral trading for kate rich

Kate Rich and I went to see Amy Balkin’s, US work in London, where she showed the outcomes of her project Public Smog. Amy and I, had an quick chat, which has lead to discussions about OFFLOAD and presenting work at the event. Similar, conversations have begun with Amy Franceschini, Futurefarmers, US.

I also attended the Royal Society of Arts, Art and Ecology conference, No Way Back. The event was held on the 11th and 12th December, 2006 at The London School of Economics and Political Science and aimed at internationally, linking arts to other disciplines in exploring the connections and tensions driving the environmental, social and economic changes and challenges facing the world today. Interesting event, with a mix of work. Recommend checking our the work of Maria Theresa Alves, Jermey Dellers The Bat House Project, Dr. Ken Yeang and John Jordon and his Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army.


Friday, November 10th, 2006

The first public meeting for OFFLOAD was held on the 9th Nov, 2006 at the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol. During the course of the development of OFFLOAD, we will be updating you regularly with bits of information on how we are progressing with the plans. As part of this, we’ll be hosting regular meetings (bi or tri) monthly. At each meeting, updates about the festival plans, ideas and so forth will be discussed. An invited speaker (e.g., artists, academic, scientists) will also be invited to provide stimulus material for discussion. The aim of these invited talks is to create a space, through which participants involved in planning the festival can critically engage with the core issues.

offload first meeting

The first OFFLOAD meeting attended by twenty-one people drawn from the arts, media and ecology sectors. They included members of the Polar Produce team (Kathy Hinde, Maarten De Laat) as well as Gill Haworth, Clare Reddington (Watershed), Dan Efergan (Submerge), B Aga (iDat, freelancer), Deborah Harrison (freelance arts co-ordinator), Antony Lyons (artist/scientist), Jim O’Shaughnessy (Green Arts Network, Sy Taffel (Bristol Drama Dept), Tanya Steinhauser (programmer ICIA, Bath), Chris (University of West of England), Mark Botwick (sound artist and engineer), Dan Dixon (University of West of England), Pete Ferne (Wireless Bristol), James Kennard (artist), Alex Bradley (artist), Charlie Poulin (artist), David Sinpel (electrician), James Atkins (carpenter and artist), Alma Clavin (researcher and guest speaker).


Alma Calvin (town planner and Phd researcher, Oxford Brookes University) our invited guest speaker, provided an overview on the meanings and complexities behind terms such as ecology, nature and sustainability. This included a discussion on the ideas around social and deep ecology, with a brief overview of feminist, marxist and socialists understandings of these terms. Ideas that struck a cord personally, was the notion of ‘nature as a model for design’ and the underlying connection between ecology and sustainability being about concepts of interrelatedness and social networks. This complements the current thinking behind pervasive and location based computing and the thinking, which lead to the Internet. For me these perspectives are interrelated within cybernetic and systems theory. Recent conversations with Sy Taffel, who is currently conducting his PhD in this area, at Bristol University (Drama Dept, under Jon Dovey) is helping to make this link (and others such as Bateson and Guattari). I find it has a synergy with understandings from a psychological perspective, especially the stuff by Gibson of the ecology of perception and human-computer-interaction, via Norman and his design concepts.

I also provided a general introduction to the event and the kinds of work the event was at attaching, briefly discussing work by artists such as Heath Bunting, Kate Rich, Amy Balkin and Futurefarmers.

Key questions that arose during the meeting included:

  • How to conceptually tie all the aspects of the event together and that an event brief was necessary to produce (this is planned but not ready at the moment)
  • Concept of DIY recycling and repurposing was a nice method to ‘hook’ some of the ideas around
  • How the event will enage people and the conversation around the audience been key participants in the event – not just spectators, their direct involvement, was at the heart of some of our conversations
  • What is the selection and process and how will work be selected was also discussed – essential this will happen in two ways, invited artists, who will be asked to present at the event and work which will be curated online. A selection panel is currently been set up with will include members for the arts organisations supporting OFFLOAD.
  • Overall a really great meeting – thanks to everyone.


Monday, October 30th, 2006

Over the last month first conversations were had with:
Maarten de Laat, Kathy Hinde, Philip O’Dwyer, Polar Produce partners in crime – on ideas, doing it and making it happen
Heath Bunting, artist – on concepts behind Systems for Survival, genetics, place and playing with water
Kate Rich, artist – on critical input, getting it right, terms, words and concepts, engaging artists
Juha Husskonen, Director, Pixelache – on ideas around participation, architectures for collaboration, mouse speed and our first computer
David Bernard, artists and maker – on setting things up, moral support
Chiz Williams, producer Qu-Junktions – on concepts, links, sound and event titles
Gill Haworth and Mark Cosgrove, Watershed Media Centre – on spaces, places and local support
Jon Dovey and Sy Taffel, Drama Dept, Bristol Uni – media ecologies
B Aga, Submerge – on hacking, participation and connecting to the outer regions of the South West
Alma Clavin – ecology, sustainability, terms, theories and concepts
Antony Lyons – site, place and deep mapping

The above people have helped to debate, extend and consolidate the concepts behind OFFLOAD.


Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

In setting up OFFLOAD it was important to document the event progress. This news feed services this function but importantly provides people with access to the networks, people and knowledge generated in building the event. Imagine if you were interest in setting up something like OFFLOAD – How would you go about it? Who would you speak with? What is involved? How long does it take? When you set up an event, people often ask these questions – so this news feed is an attempt to open up the processes involved. It also shows that with anything, OFFLOAD could not happen without collaboration, dialogue and input from many, many people.