THIS IS THE THIRD
This is our third issue. The submissions have increased with a greater input from students. Thank you. We always want to see more stuff from all areas of the school. Textiles: we would love your patterns, Architecture: we could use your plans. If anyone has anything to say about what’s going on at the school, we want to hear from you. This thick issue has taken it’s time to get printed. There has been debate within the editorial about how the magazine should be edited. On this occasion we have included all of the written submissions, which has made editing complicated. That is why this is a particularly large issue. The design of the magazine has been resized to A5 format, which feels nice in your hands. Mmm. We are very exited to announce that the ‘Gram’ club nights, organised to fund the printing of Mammogram, have raised £455 for the printing of this issue. A huge thank you to Rory and Patrick, our organisers, and lovely chaps in their own right. The next ‘Gram’ will be on Saturday 21st March showcasing 3 GSA student DJs. Send your submissions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
COMPLAINTS There has always been argument over the title of the magazine, which we acknowledge in printing this well-argued criticism: “MAMMOGRAM title: -No relevance to the content of the magazine.The title should reflect the magazine’s manifesto. - Has connotations to completely separate issue which for many could be upsetting and offensive. - The confusion about the title undermines a potentially amazing project. Your on the way to making some great changes and the name attached to this achievement should highlight it’s values. - We want to be a part of this project and this title prevents us from feeling that we can commit to it. - Finally we think that the name ‘Mammogram’ could hinder your progress when applying for funding . And if asked why, there is no explanation to back up such a bold name. In this case you are in danger of seeming naive.” As the magazine depends on your support and feedback, we are happy to hear about it. Just drop us a line.
GSA SETTING FOR NEW CHANNEL 4 SHOW. ‘Central Station’ produced by ISO Design, will begin filming in April, we are told. There are plans for talks with students. But this will be the first official consultaion with any students. The Sunday Herald published an article a few months ago that we don’t think ISO Design wanted you to see. It’s apparently part of a much bigger webbased hydra of 4iP and something called 38minutes.com. Until now all the press statements seem wordy hype. An interview with GSA alumnus producer Damien Smith will follow. CIRCUS OF DESIRE An exhibition of student work, organised by the indomitable trio of Artur Van Balen, Matthew Donnelly, and Jakub Simcik will be held on the 27th of March at the Hillhead St. flat gallery space. hillheadstreet.blogspot.com CRIT HAPPENS The monthly cross-discipline crit may become fortnightly, if interest increases. There have been two so far and they are worth attending, if only to watch. OLD NEWS 2nd years might have heard a lecturer scold seemingly culpable art school students for intefering with the art at Mary Mary. Who knew whether or not to step on the Karla Black show? Don’t blame the availability of free booze either. A few weeks later at “About Time” in 291 Maryhill they were charging a quid for a Stella. There was a nice piece in the middle that nobody could avoid stepping on. MILK TEETH In the East End, on a windy evening, there was a show of art, by ECA and GSA students, in a little store front next to the dark abandoned parking lot off London Road. It was a cheerful affair, full of smiling student faces, and everyone had brought their own booze. There was laughter and delight. Everyone had a lovely evening of their contemporaries’ art. Afterwards, some of the less sleepy-headed went all the way back to the 78 and drank, while Laurie Pitt played some tunes. [ed. that’s enough for now] SIDESHOW After February’s disco bloodbath at the Research Club, Gram dude Rory is moving his own night Sideshow to the Admiral on Waterloo. March 12th’s got Slabs’ Brian D’Souza, and April’s Sideshow will host Sunday Circus’ affable Affi Koman.
A NOTE FROM THE SRC
I DO nOT imagine I am alone in thinking that this year has been a pretty hard one thus far. I have thought privately that 08/09 has felt like The Empire Strikes Back in relation to 07/08’s A New Hope. While the previous year was not without its fair share of trials and tribulations (especially for the students and staff of Ceramic Design), my perception is that this year generally has felt tougher, colder, and more pessimistic in a way that the last academic session did not. While this pessimism can in part be attributed to wellpublicised external conditions, I am concerned that these, combined with a number of internal pressures and frustrations (which I’m sure will be discussed within these pages) have led to a feeling of negativity, cynicism, even despair at times within The Art School, and I’m determined that these are not qualities that should ever be allowed to prevail in an institution such as this. Without the great depression of 1929 there would have been no Empire State Building, Chrysler Building or Rockefeller Center1 and John Steinbeck would not have written The Grapes of Wrath. When the Second World War had made many resources expensive or scarce, Charles and Ray Eames designed some of their most iconic furniture from cheap, readily available materials like plastic, resin and plywood. The war in Vietnam galvanised socially and politically conscious art and counter-culture activity on an unprecedented scale, and the recession of 1979-82 was the context in which punk, then post-punk and new wave thrived. While I am not in any way suggesting that artistic production necessarily benefits from hardship, creative production can clearly be stimulated by hard times, existing in spite of, and sometimes directly because of such times.
I am not saying that the problems faced by The Art School this year are in any way comparable to the great disasters of the 20th Century, nor am I saying that it is acceptable for studios to be cold and damp or for courses to be understaffed, just because we know that art can and will be made there despite of these hardships. What I am saying is that bad things happen, and when they do we must, as creative people, acknowledge them, respond to them, learn from them and move on. Above all we must not let any adversity prevent us from doing what we do. While workshop closures, reductions in staffing numbers, cessations of recruitment, lack of communication and distrust of management are all disappointing, undesirable circumstances that we have been required to endure. They are, in the grand scheme of things, minor obstacles to be negotiated, frustrations to be voiced. Such things are not disasters; they are inconveniences that will eventually be forgotten. The tragedy will be if we let these things preoccupy us, dominate our thinking, propagate negativity and distract us from the work that we are here to do.
1. Each was the result of U.S. Government investment in architecture to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
A SYNOPSIS OF CREATIVE SCOTLAND
THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF ART FUNDING
Creative Scotland bill– after having repeatedly declined for 18 months, finally agreed to meet members of the Scottish Artist Union and other representatives. However a few days after Fabiani met with representatives she was replaced by Mike Russell. Russell is felt to be pushing Creative Scotland in much the same direction. The Creative Scotland bill will now be presented to parliament in March. It is possible that the bill could be voted out, although other bills under scrutiny at this time will concern Mental Health Care and Prison facilities, so arts funding may be overlooked. In a meeting on the 25th February at GSA, artists discussed the importance of protecting culture from commerce. Much concern was expressed that the merge might lead to a lack of cultural and creative diversity and the long-held “arms-length” policy, after Creative Scotland’s suggestion of a focus on national promotion. The proposed creation of Creative Scotland shows clear parallels with wider political changes. The challenges we face as students confronted with a constant push towards a more economically viable model of education, are similar to the problems encountered by artists. How will this affect us when we leave GSA? The neo-liberal ideology behind these changes masks itself as the only possible method of organisation. Resistance to such changes for the worse can only come from the large community of artists and aspiring artists in Scotland that are working for a fairer and more democratic solution. To keep up to date go to: creativescotland.blogspot.com
CREATIVE SCOTLAnD is a proposal to merge the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen into a single company. It was first proposed in 2000 based on a cultural policy titled, “How to use public spend to lever growth in cultural and creative industries”, proposing to use public funds to improve industry. From this policy Creative Scotland emerged. It was registered as a company in June 2006; in December 2006 the Scottish Government published a draft bill with the framework and priorities of Creative Scotland. Last year the bill was put forward in parliament, but to the relief of many it failed. The proposal has been widely criticized by the arts community. In a meeting hosted by the magazine Variant in December, artists expressed a number of concerns: that the development of Creative Scotland lacked transparency, treated artists with disregard, and was characterised by a complete lack of consultation. The merger will increase administrative costs, diverting funding away from artists. Furthermore, it is suspected that artists grants are to be replaced by loans in an attempt to encourage artists to become more entrepreneurial. One speaker, an artist from Catalonia, where a similar scheme has already been introduced, told us that it had been a complete disaster and had left artists in serious debt. Following the meeting, a letter was put together expressing artists’ concerns. More than 440 people signed this letter, which was then sent to MSPs. Since then, the Culture Minister Linda Fabiani– who has been pushing forward the
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From my experience of being at GSA, the question of what a fine art degree will do for us once we leave is never discussed, it remains as ‘the elephant in the room’. We are made aware of ‘professional practice’, and there is talk of C.V.’s, residencies and grant applications – but the truth is that the majority of fine art graduates will not be supporting themselves as artists when they leave university. But should this fact merely represent failure? I personally think not, and more importantly in the present climate of increased accountability of higher education, I believe it is crucial for fine art education to defend its unique character, ensuring that it is not compromised. I know that I find myself justifying to others what is commonly perceived to be the ‘soft option’ of a fine art degree– and I do so vehemently. Most undergraduates come to university having previously experienced a structured education with a defined curriculum and the discipline of the classroom. For those who pursue a purely vocational university degree such as medicine, their time at university, though obviously more academically challenging, may in many respects be similar. Such a degree educates for a specific career, but if you are unable to find the employment for which you have been trained, then it does little to prepare you for other options. In contrast, within the four years we spend at art school, we are expected on top of learning any necessary technical skills, to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to be able to account for ourselves and finally to deal with the pressure of working towards a degree show. Personally, I think that is a huge task, but it also presents an opportunity to really develop as an individual. If we conclude that we are not going to pursue life as an artist, we have indeed discovered something about ourselves – and most of us are fully prepared to consider alternatives. So how acute is the need to defend higher Fine Art education? I have already suggested that it may be in a vulnerable position – it will need to justify itself in the present climate for vocational education, to resist being redesigned into educating ‘creative entrepreneurs’ instead of artists, and continue to support the studio system, which obviously does not conform to the economics of space. These issues are not only being felt within GSA but within art schools throughout the country. In April last year, Art Monthly published a letter– ‘Can’t get no satisfaction’–
THIS MORnInG I woke up to the news that the government are talking to businesses about establishing internships in an attempt to soak up some of the forecasted 400,000 graduating students who, after the summer, will be looking for employment. Most graduating students will have taken out a student loan – a policy introduced under Tony Blair’s government, when the old grant system was abandoned. Their justification for such a policy, which leaves students with an average of £15,000 debt (and rising), has not merely been the promise of employment but of the higher earning capacity of the graduate student– presumably a high enough wage by which to start paying off our loans. It is a policy that has had a pernicious effect upon higher education– it is easy to see how a state system which judges a university’s success by such criteria, will place pressure upon universities to get their graduates into employment. This has in turn seen an emergence of courses designed with strong vocational strands. Many students will have felt the need to find employment to minimise their debts, and are consequently sometimes accused of being part-time and strategic in their approach to learning, diminishing their potential experience of higher education. If you are leaving art school with substantial debt, then you can indeed argue that it is the prospect of employment with which you are most concerned– but if we are talking about a fine art degree, and we are honest with ourselves, it is not a choice you will have made primarily for its employment prospects.
and from that one letter received a wave of correspondence, spawning editorials and articles which culminated in a special October issue ‘The Future of Art Education’ (all available in the GSA library and on-line). The on-line ‘Manifesto Club’ has posted statements calling for people to get involved with the debate. Articles from the press have stated that, “The teaching of art and design in UK universities is not fit for purpose, according to a major review of the discipline”, along with statements such as, “Art and design degrees ‘need overhaul’,” and how “Low morale devastates art colleges.” From all the coverage, one can only conclude that the situation is at crisis point. Clearly within many art schools there has developed an atmosphere of discontent, which appears to be fuelled at one level by internal friction between the teaching staff, their managers and the administration– and at another, by the implementation of growing government regulation and demands for accountability, not to mention increasing financial constraints (even prior to talk of ‘credit crunch’). And there have been the stirrings of student action too– a Chelsea College Art and Design MA student in 2005, made an out of court settlement (terms undisclosed), and at the London College of Communication (University of the Arts London) students on the BA Film and Video course were demanding their fees be refunded, ‘due to staff shortages and lack of organisation’ (LCC news September 20th 2007). It made depressing reading, but at the time also seemed somewhat academic. Then returning to GSA in September, it suddenly felt as though we were all in the thick of it– members of staff had been made redundant and there were rumours of financial problems. So how might this affect the future of fine art education within the art school? It has indeed been the Fine Art departments, which have born the brunt of the staff cuts, losing both tutors and technicians. It now appears likely that more savings will be demanded, which will further detrimentally affect our experience at the school. However as long as our requests, to be kept informed about what is happening within the school, continues to fall on deaf ears, and in the absence of any assurances, my hunch that fine art education is at risk will increasingly turn to conviction and an urgency to act. www.artmonthly.co.uk/arteducation.htm www.manifestoclub.com/for-a-free-art-school-statement www.manifestoclub.com/node/407
nO MATTER where you look in the news at the moment you’re greeted with gigantic red arrows pointing downwards. Unemployment numbers continue to escalate to levels only previously reached before jobs were invented and Europe’s gas supplies look set to be turned off at any moment. If we are to believe everything that the media tells us, it looks like sooner or later we are bound to be traipsing red-eyed and starving through a featureless grey landscape with only a charred teddy bear for company. What happened to Happy new Year? Argh, it’s not that bad is it? Well, let’s remember that the media have a habit of feeding on the fear of the populace. It seems that human beings love to be scared; especially in this country. For a couple of years after 9/11, you couldn’t go for a week without some lunatic doom-monger coming up to you and earnestly whispering a warning that you shouldn’t get on the underground, or some kindly but mentally-delicate relative imploring you to quickly go out and buy a clockwork radio and 26 tins of tomato soup. Fast-forward a few years and nothing much has changed. Simply replace the devastation in Manhattan with that of Gaza, and the impending terrorist attacks or bird-flu outbreak with the impending collapse of the entire financial system. This kind of bad news taps directly into the kind of fear that is prevalent in (previously) affluent Western cultures such as our own– the fear of losing what we have. Apologies for the rather ham-fisted link (this is meant to be an article about film after all) but perhaps this goes some way to explaining the enduring popularity of post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world movies. These kinds of movies present to us the answers to the ultimate, terrifying “what-if?” questions. Films like The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, Twelve Monkeys etc. present answers to the most terrifying “what-if?” questions (okay, in 99% of the cases completely implausible). After 9/11 the news rolled 24 hour footage of the towers tumbling down, over and over in a nightmarish loop, and it didn’t diminish the horror. With this kind of film you sometimes get to see whole cities tumble under a tidal wave and you get the thrill associated with the aesthetics of disaster without the sickening feeling inside.
I read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” last year, and its simple premise of a man and his son walking along a road in post-apocalypse USA was the basis for a fable both incredibly moving and utterly terrifying. It is soon to be released as a film directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and starring ‘the rugged handsome one’ from Lord of the Rings, and whilst it may not capture the stark majesty of the book, I’m sure it will be well worth looking out for. Up until Sunday night most of the post-apocalyptic movies I had watched had not come near the experience of reading “The Road.” Twelve Monkeys and indeed La Jetee (the French film on which it is based), are both great films but what makes them great is not the depiction of the post-apocalyptic world as such, but rather the exceptional narrative and story structure, and in the case of La Jetee its unique filmmaking style. Mad Max (often cited as a classic of the genre) could just as easily have been set in some backwards part of pre-apocalypse Australia and it wouldn’t have made a huge difference to the power of the film. The Day After Tomorrow, unlike the other films, relies solely on an apocalypse scenario (in this case global warming) as its main story arc. Unfortunately, unlike the other films, it is also absolute pap. Due to the need to condense the concept and various problems associated with global warming into a manageable timeline, events occur at such a completely preposterous rate that at one point people are actually being chased by freezing ice. The film is drenched in more bad science than your average shampoo advert, and ends up being the global warming equivalent of Armageddon or Deep Impact. They’re both rubbish too. On Sunday night I watched Threads written by Barry Hines (Kes), produced by the BBC in 1984 at the height of Cold War tensions. Threads tells the story of a nuclear war through the perspective of the people of Sheffield. Given the fact that it was a TV movie made in the 1980’s by Aunty Beeb, I approached Threads with the same kind of trepidation as I would an episode of Bagpuss. True to form the opening few minutes play like an extended Hovis advert but soon enough the tension starts to ramp up. Everyday conversations occur over the backdrop of radio and TV news reports, detailing the growing tensions between East and West, and you frequently glimpse newspapers with headlines of the latest portentous developments. All the while, the script (full of incidental
A P O C A LY P S E N O !
dialogue), TV camerawork and acting combine to give the film an impeccably realistic feel. It also has a narrator, who helpfully chimes in now and then, explaining things like why Sheffield is a target, why certain times are better for a nuclear strike than others and what living through a nuclear winter is like. All this comes together to create the strange feeling that you are actually watching a completely real documentary of life in 1980s Sheffield which is what makes the horror that follows all the more devastating. The portrayal of the strike itself is shockingly realistic but it is the depiction of the devastated, broken society in the aftermath that really brings the nightmares. The country’s entire infrastructure is destroyed and whatever ramshackle systems those in charge have implemented, manage to be both ruthlessly draconian and ridiculously ineffectual. The survivors end up roaming about the countryside scavenging on animal carcasses and desperately scraping the barren fields for roots and twigs. After a few years, speech has all but disappeared into a lunatic language of grunts and semi-words; deformities and cataracts abound and the population has dwindled to medieval levels around the 10 million mark. My girlfriend fell asleep at the very start and only woke up to watch the last 5 minutes and that was still troubling enough to keep her awake for most of the night. Approach with caution.
WHY IS THE SCHOOL IN DEFICIT ?
In THE LAST ISSUE of this magazine, Tanya Eccleston described how higher education in the UK has become more dependent on the fees of overseas students, and how during a time of global economic instability it becomes difficult for HE institutions in the UK to meet their overseas recruitment targets. In this situation, it becomes impossible for institutions to operate to the annual budgets they have set, which presupposes certain levels of recruitment. This is the situation The School of Fine Art at GSA has found itself this year, and in circumstances where a deficit looked probable, savings had to be made. So far this year, the School of Fine Art has achieved most of the necessary cutbacks through (amongst other things) a reduction in consumables budgets, and budgets for extra curricular activities. It has also avoided a significant restructuring of staff, which would almost certainly have resulted in redundancies, by choosing not to replace members of staff who have recently left the school, reassigning their duties to remaining SoFA staff instead. The result is a situation in which the department is still functioning much as it has done previously, but with considerably fewer resources than in previous years, and with staff who have become overburdened.
“Financially, the UK’s higher education system is dependent on overseas students coming here to study because overseas students bring in a lot more money than home or EU students. The global economic downturn is having a huge impact on students coming to study here from overseas.” Tanya Eccleston
In an email sent to all staff during the first term, GSA’s Director described a number of central savings measures that were designed to “protect GSA’s academic front line.” These included a temporary freeze on filling vacancies not deemed “mission critical,” maximising savings on utility bills, postage and telephone costs, cutting external consultancy budgets and looking to get better value for money from existing procurement systems. Whilst these measures are clearly a sensible start, I wonder whether it feels like the academic front line really has been sufficiently protected? What this year has revealed is that GSA is vulnerable to the negative effects of a failure to meet overseas recruitment targets, and that the school has no real contingency plan to cope in a situation in which these targets have not been met. Despite the directorate’s assertion that the academic front line would be protected above all else, the example we have seen within the SoFA this year suggests that this is sadly not the case. Any future failure to meet financial targets will result in further erosions into the education delivered by the school long before a more radical centralised savings plan is proposed. On a dubiously positive note, the weakening pound will make the UK a more affordable destination for many overseas students over the coming years, which may help to raise recruitment levels. Whether they will choose to study at an institution that so clearly prioritises long-term strategic objectives over its existing staff and student body is another matter entirely.
Built on an article by Sherry R. Arnstein, “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” 1969. In her article, Arnstein describes eight levels of participation. non-participation: Manipulation › Therapy Tokenism: Informing › Consultation › Placation Citizen Power: Partnership › Delegated Power › Citizen Control “Participation in social science is a term, which includes different means for the public to directly participate in political, economic, management or other social decisions. Ideally, each actor would have a say in decisions directly proportional to the degree that particular decision affects him or her.” Sherry Arnstein OnE OF THE REASOnS WHY the network around Mammogram is being built up so quickly, is because of the shared frustration amongst the student body towards members of staff being made redundant, and the lack of communication between the executives and the students. If communication was better and the student organisations were more effective, this ‘alternative’ network might have never begun because the motivation for doing anything might not have existed. When students directly seek information there is a limit to how readily it is given– for example, accessing budget reports. The school would be best served with as much knowledge as possible being available to students about the situation facing the school. Student participation in decision making could only ensure that the decisions reached were better, not only for us, but for the school as a whole. Participation can also help to legitimise the decisions that are made within the student body.Through surveys and regular meetings with student representatives, the school proposes to be taking its students seriously, striving to ensure student participation. However, as Arnstein describes, in a situation where there have been meetings, surveys and questionnaires; has apparently everyone had a say. But in the end only a few people actually participate in the decisions being made. The decision makers are still upholding the status quo,
being able to defend their decision(s) in saying that they have considered all views, despite there being no real participation. When participation is measured by how many people turn up at meetings, how many responses there are on questionnaires etc. we are not talking about participation in its real sense, it is a masquerade, an easily manipulated way to legitimize decisions. Feedback, presented through articles, debates and emails, for example, as well as that contributed by tutors, heads of departments etc., should also be taken seriously. Communication cannot only be sustained through channels controlled by executives within the institution’s structures, but also needs to be appreciated when coming through sources controlled and generated by students. The people in power continue to hold the right to decide, without students having the same power – students are given tokens and the ability to be heard, but so far have had no muscle in their meetings with the executives with regard to how the school is run. There is no negotiation and no real partnership in the meeting between students and management at the school, as the power is distributed so unequally. Those who hold power seldom give it away willingly. To become full participants at the Glasgow School of Art, the students have to organise themselves, get hold of information, give their views freely and strive to become more influential in the running of the school. To ensure partnership and delegation of power there is still a lot of work ahead. The current student representatives, need to be critical and alert as to what they are being led into and more particularly, become better at disseminating information to the rest of the student body. In making their voices heard, by speaking, writing etc., there is a need to build a culture for debate and participation within the school. A social network, like the one that is forming around Mammogram might make real change. It’s about communication, sharing information, contacts and growing, at the same time as continuing to form and shape what it is working towards. As it grows, it will affect more and more people, both around itself and in its peripheral networks around the school. Slowly one can begin to see how a change in reality is perceived by the different structures within the school, eventually reaching a point where the decision makers are able to see, and share, a particular network’s point of view. To reach this level, it’s important not only to build the
network itself, but also to obtain an increased understanding of what goes on at the GSA in the different networks and the different groups the school consists of. The only way to be able to sway people and make powerful arguments is to understand your own position and role in respect to the role and position of those people you wish to influence. You can never know too much! Knowledge is the key to understanding opposing views and possibly changing views as well. A more transparent system could make participation easier, and also legitimize the system itself as it becomes more available. Direct communication should be strived for, both to ensure that there are as few misunderstandings as possible, but also to make the school itself more transparent, making the decision process that goes on within it more available to all parties at the school.
to ensure a ‘minimum’ of changes, he didn’t seem to understand that changes, which on paper may just be slight shifts in numbers and percentages, are real changes for the students that have a detrimental impact on our education and the future of education at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). Members of the SRC expressed their concerns about the lack of communication between the senior management and the student body and emphasized the need for information and the opportunity to contribute ideas, opinions and solutions regarding changes happening within the school. Klaus rejected the suggestion that students be updated via email and would not comment as to whether or not the same level of ‘savings’ had been made within senior management as have been implemented within departments. He also declined to comment on the 20072008 14% pay rise for director Seona Reid. A pay rise that is not only disproportionate when compared to the less than 5% pay rise given to academic staff, but also when compared to the prevailing rate of inflation at the time (±4%), which is not to mention the fact that it was implemented at a time when cuts to academic staff were already being made. Since the meeting, Klaus has announced that there have been further savings made within the SoFA which have eliminated the deficit. However these savings have not come free or easy. To achieve the savings, Fine Art tutors are having to share responsibilities. Vacancies within departments have not been filled, bringing more work and stress to all staff, that not only affects morale, but also has an impact on students and their education. Although the issues discussed here are within Fine Art specifically, the problem is one that extends throughout the school and indeed throughout other higher education institutions. How many detrimental changes will happen before the education system at GSA truly collapses? At this point it is clear there are problems with how money is managed in our school. What can we do about it? We cannot let the senior management forget that as an educational institution, their priorities lie with the students who ensure the future of the school. A large proportion of the reputation of the school is based upon the achievements of former students. ortion of the reputation of the school is based upon the achievements of former students. We are a creative body of students and it is time we demanded and are given an opportunity to contribute creative and functional ideas, opinions and solutions. To have our voices heard.
TO THE EDGE AUS AUSE I’M KL C T PUSH ME ‘
AT A MEETInG with the Student Representatives Committee (SRC) on January 12, 2009, Klaus Jung, Head of Fine Art, presented the budget for the School of Fine Art (SoFA) and discussed the ‘savings’ taking place. At the time of the meeting, the SoFA alone had a deficit of around £35,000. This means that in addition to the redundancies of tutors and technicians already in place, it is possible that further academic redundancies are to come and changes that have already been implemented will not be rectified this academic year. This leaves Sculpture and Environmental Art with no metal workshop and will mean that Fine Art Photography will lose two tutors in addition to the one technician already made redundant. Although Klaus assured us that he was doing all in his power
Monotonix and Desalvo @ Captains Rest
The first band to grace the stage are an unsigned band called United Fruit. It seemed promising when the guitarist walked out wearing a Daughters t-shirt, but no, they were a bunch able to create some mathcore that sounded repetitive. Later I discovered the words ‘United Fruit rule’ scrawled on the toilet walls of the Arc practise rooms. This is simply bollocks.
Daedelus and A La Fu @ Captains Rest
The Captains Rest on a Sunday seemed a somewhat odd venue for an evening of breakbeat, but the crowd were eager for some cerebral, genre splicing dance music. A La Fu has appeared on ninja Tune’s Solid Steel and performed with Scratch Perverts, so ornate turntablism was the least that was expected. He scratched and beat juggled his way through a variety of ragga, breakbeat and Coldcut samples, reeking of his apparent erratic attitude. His left field set was totally danceable, making it a shame that it was only a gig and not a club night. Shortly to follow was Daedelus (misspelling intended). Daedelus‘ heavily sampled approach to breaks is influenced by anything from Flying Lotus to De La Soul. He too has released on both ninja Tune and Warp. Despite the tranquil production on some of his more conceptual albums, his set was full of techno tempos and syncopation. Daedelus uses a piece of hardware called a Monome 40h for the entirety. Consisting of an 8x8 grid of backlit buttons, this open ended interface allowed for his set of ornate sequencing, somewhat contradictory to his dapper, tailored finery. Just as I was struggling to understand how an apparent Victorian dandy could produce music from a machine that looks like Lights Out, Daedelus grabbed my attention away from aesthetics by throwing in some Spiral Tribe circa ‘93, followed by mixing some UK hardcore with Roots Manuva. To end the set he claims its time for a love song and drops the tempo for some avant-electronics with a honeyed melody. If this is love then its Valentine’s gift is a Meat Katie Fabric mix shaped like an ekkie. 2009 is for Bristol Dubstep : Jakes, Pinch, Appleblim and Komonazmuk. Mary Ann Hobbs says so.
next were Desalvo, representing the more brutal side of the Glasgow noise scene. Their gut wrenching, abrasive hardcore would appeal immensely to Converge and Fantomas fans alike. The lead singer is a heavy set bloke, often seen sporting a butchers apron and a pigs nose. He oozes a strange, aggressive sexuality and deviance, turning round to reveal a tattoo on his back sloganeering ‘philthy.’ He spends the entire set screaming and dancing provocatively, leaving a sweating path behind him. During their song ‘Brown Flag’ he shrieks with hysterical laughing in oddly timed intervals while throwing himself into the rows of spectators, creating subsequent mess and chaos in the ram packed venue. Just as I had started to assume it was all downhill for hardcore after Dillinger Escape Plan released “Ire Works,” Desalvo growl and spew onto the scene. To end the evening are Israel’s Monotonix with their riff-heavy noisy garage rock. They immediately move the equipment into the middle of the floor and belt out fuzz wrenching heavy 70’s riffs. The main appeal to Monotonix is their chaotic live performances. The singer runs riot through the crowds, seemingly wanting everyone to be going as mental as he is. Cymbals and drum sticks are handed out, snare drums are held high above the crowd abling him to climb on top of one to batter the hell out of a crowd surfing tom. Another quick equipment rearrangement and to the upstairs bar he goes, taking the drummer, guitarist and half the crowd with him as he slides across the bar and tables, then back down again for another rearrangement. This time he appears to be forming a narrative as he ritualistically wraps the drummer and his kit in a red carpet encouraging the crowd to spit at him. I think fuck it, a bit of expectoration to end a suitably messy evening. 2009 is for Scottish Mentalist : Tayside Mental Health, Take A worm for a Walk Week, Kylie Minoise, Burnt Altar
‘RESIDEnCE’ is an experiment in how space changes or stays the same through its use by different people and activities. With each new project the boundaries between living, working, private and public change. A group from the Glasgow School of Art took part in a residency in november. A ten bed-roomed house on the Shore Road in Belfast became the home and workspace for the group of four; Ane Ostrem, Jen Sykes, George Thompson and Thomas Wells, all 4th year Sculpture and Environmental Art Students. Also involved in the project was Marcel Sparmann (currently on exchange at the Glasgow school of Art SEA department) and a group from the University of Hildeshiem, Germany, as well as artists living and working in northern Ireland. What follows are different accounts from four of the artists involved in the Shore Road Project.
STUDENT RESIDENCE, BELFAST
You are on one tower, I am on the other. The distance between us is just so long that we cannot hear each other, even if we shout. But I want you to hear me. And I want to know what you have to say. We make paper aeroplanes and throw them as far as we can, but it isn’t even close to reach you. From two tin cans and a string we make phones. I can hear you sing but I cannot make out the words. The wind is so strong, the string wont stay straight. I try Morse code with a torch, but it’s not dark yet, and neither of us really knows the alphabet. We ask passer-bys to pass messages between us, but how do we know if they actually tell me what you said? We make megaphones from cardboard, and when we shout through them, our voices get stronger than the sound of the sea throwing itself against the shore below us. I can hear you. You can hear me. But some words get lost on the way. Eaten by the wind and the distance. Drowned in the waves. I look at you through binoculars, but I cannot really see you. I cannot read your facial expression. I don’t know what you are thinking over there. I don’t know what you are feeling. I cannot read your signals. The distance between us makes communication different.
An Invisible Health And Safety Room
I was incredibly surprised by the level of impact that health and safety has in Britain. So much so, that a performance that I planned to do in The Art School of Belfast could not be done. An alternative location had to be found. The new starting came from Sighle B’s work, in which she worked in a completely black room. Her room was directly above mine in the housing project, so I decided to paint mine completely white. The space spoke with the language of the “white cube”. next, I added several typical objects associated with health and safety, such as; a fire extinguisher, emergency lights and a ladder. Then I painted these objects white and arranged so that they seemed invisible within the white space. Thus these objects became useless as their colour and any written instructions were no longer visible. I also covered the floor with white balloons, completing the set-up. now I could finally do my performance, which I could not do in the art school. I covered my complete body in white with a white safety mask and white glasses, which rendered me blind. I chose “The Bolero” as a backing track and positioned myself on a chair facing another chair. I then began to cut my forehead extremely slowly with a scalpel, following the lines on my forehead. The completely white space was now broken by redness of my own blood, reflecting ideas of danger.
A Short Story
“On top of a very steep hill surrounded by sea lies a small stone house. The house looked very sad, alone on that very steep hill with only the tree and the cruel wind to talk to. The house saw a small boy climbing the hill. The boy had always noticed the sad house at the top of the steep hill and wondered why it looked so sad. As the winter blew over the steep hill an old lady cared all alone for the little stone house and as winter melted into spring, all was quiet in the little stone house.” The boy cried after his Uncle had finished the story. He would climb up the very steep hill to the little stone house to see what had happened to the little old lady. The house watched as the little boy bobbed in and out of the hedges, closer and closer to the little stone house, stopping only a minute to catch his breath and to say hello to the great white cows that were dotted all over the very steep hill. Through a maze of nettles he found a small broken window and climbed inside. He felt the floors creak below him. The house moaned as if it were in pain. In the very corner of the small room the boy saw a beautifully gilded piano eerily silent. Gently the boy crept over to it. BAnG! The boy turned quick on his heels for the window he had crawled through, startled by the loud noise. Then all was still. The boy turned around once more to nothing there. From nowhere a tiny bird flew down from the exposed roof and perched on the very beautiful piano. The boy laughed to himself. He wanted to explore more of the little stone house. He gently turned the doorknob to another room. The boy stopped. What he saw was of such a surprise he could hardly help himself. All over the walls of this tiny room were names. names of people that the boy knew; aunts, uncles, brothers. They were all there. The boy was happy, he realised that the little stone house had not been alone. Instead it had been watching over the family at the bottom of the hill for a long time. The boy picked up a small white stone from the floor and wrote his name proudly upon the wall. The little stone house at the top of the very steep hill sighed as if it was happy. It was dark now and the boy decided that he had best return to his Uncle to tell him what he had discovered. When the boy returned to the house of his Uncle at the bottom of the very steep hill he asked him, “But what had happened to the old lady that used to live in the little stone house?” His Uncle replied, “That old lady that lived in the little stone house on top of the very steep hill was my mother, and she is at peace.”
I wanted to fill the house and space with a sound that people could not relate to. The residence was focused around the theme “House/Home” and this immediately made me try and think of all my memories of home as a child. The one that kept appearing was that of practicing the piano. When I was younger and we all sat down to have a meal together as a family I would be constantly restless. Yet the rules of our family (or shall I say my mum) were that no one could leave the table until everyone was finished. However, requesting to leave to practice the piano dodged this as it was deemed educational and therefore equal to learning good manners. Therefore, every mealtime consisted of the rest of my family finishing their food to the sound of me playing the piano - not that well either. This image of people having to endure creativity amused me and I wanted to bring it in to the Shore Road house. After lots of people calling in lots of favours, and meeting friends of friends, a piano was acquired and then through meeting these friends and talking about the idea with them a table with a piano sized hole in it was constructed. When the two came together in Shore Road, “Piano Table” was made. Though the next week of residence meals were had around the table whilst the piano was played. One meal in particular was one for the people who helped in the construction of the table for which I accompanied on piano. The closing event saw a slight change in “Piano Table”’s function as it was now “PianoTableTennis” and it was open to anyone to play table tennis and/or the piano. The rules of table tennis were slightly altered to incorporate shots, which deflected off the piano, which were of course allowed and led to a unique style of play.
What do you think about it? I don’t know Well think about it! I don’t know what to think. You never do, I have to do all the thinking. But you’re asking me too soon, I don’t think this far ahead. Well you should. But I don’t want to. It’s upsetting, I don’t want to think about it until the last minute. That’s so typical of you. Out of mind out of sight. It’s actually ‘out of sight, out of mind’ That’s not important. no. But it’s true, if I don’t think about it, it’s not happening, I’m happy. But it’s important to think about it. Yes but not to over think it, if you hadn’t over thought it we wouldn’t be in this situation. I’m just thinking ahead. I can’t do that. I have to, alright? I have to.
PERSOnAL websites will always have a stigma as products of vanity made purely for the self-satisfaction of their creator, or solely for business purposes. But more and more artists and designers maintain blogs alongside their websites to document thoughts, feelings and generally anything that comes to mind. The great thing about blogs is that it allows art and design information to be featured online, before it is printed in the press.
Quite often the most successful blogs are ones that talk about subjects that could be considered taboo or controversial. The blogger Muzi Mei chronicled her sex life and caused a lot of controversy in her home country of China. At one point she was banned from posting. It became extremely popular, challenging the perceptions of what is considered to be ‘acceptable behaviour’ for women in Chinese culture. Although the blog has since been censored she has been contacted by publicists who are interested in publishing some of her writings in a book. This example shows the great potential for broadcasting your views and the positive outcomes that may come from it. The GSA itself has some subject specific sites that tutors and students update with information related to the subject. They also contain links to a collection of student blogs, which make for an interesting read. Visual Communication www.gsavis.com/blog Sculpture and Environmental Art sea-studio-blog.blogspot.com Masters of Fine Art mfagsa.blogspot.com To me, the only problem is that there are too many blogs to read and so, I have reduced my findings down to a select few. www.delicious.com/twosugarcubes Finally the most important blog that you could read is to do with the on going communication between students, student reps and the executives aimed at improving the communication in the school. Please take some time to read the posts made here as they relate to students of the GSA, and the efforts to get our voices heard. www.whatsgoingongsa.blogspot.com
ARTPORT is the name of an artists collective “set up to harness the power of art and imagination to help stabilise the climate” On Monday 12th January some of its members supported an anti aviation protest at Heathrow in conjunction with Climate Rush, working in performance, music and visual art. Essentially it got me thinking: I’m both politically active and an artist. I’m looking for like-minded people to begin a Glasgow branch of ARTPORT or similar, working for social and environmental change through the medium of art. Interested? Contact me, Kate, at email@example.com and we can organise an informal meeting to chat about what people would like to get from being in a collective like this.
THESPIANS! THESPIANS! THESPIANS!
THE DRAMA SOCIETY was a prominent part of life at the art school from 1922 to 1974, starting with productions of elaborate masques by Fra newbury, which were designed, costumed and performed by staff and students of the GSA. In 1928 the dramatic club proclaimed their objectives in the programme: • To produce plays of artistic interest to students. • To promote the study of the Art of the Theatre. • To promote by performances and readings of plays, the study of dramatic literature. I believe that the thoughts of the President of the Drama Society for the 1959 production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons to be apparent today: “The primary aim of the club is to give entertainment, it also allows us to develop an activity, which should be part of every art school, containing as it does so many skills for which students are training.” Joseph Incerti Seeing as the art school doesn’t really present many opportunites to get involved with many other activities outside of school, it would be great to get this society up and running again. If you would be interesting in participating, please get in touch with; Thomas Leyland-Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org There will be an opening ceremony, after reading week to bring this to the attention of anyone who may not have read this article, but please do spread the news. I look forward to seeing all of you enthusiasts out there, of whom I’m sure there is no lack of.
CRITICAL MASS RIDES AGAIN
CRITICAL MASS GLASGOW is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling, assert cyclists’ right to the road, challenge oil dependency and the car culture. The Mass reclaims the roads of Glasgow and creates a temporary car-free zone and a party on wheels, beginning at George Square where we meet at 5.30 pm, on the first friday of every month. Critical Mass is an event– not an organisation. It has no leaders or pre-organized route. It takes place in hundreds of cities around the world. Don’t forget your lights when it’s dark or your helmet if you’re sensible. Make some noise and have fun! A House of Lords’ ruling quashed an appeal by the Met Police, giving Critical Mass a solid legal footing. They ruled it was a “customary procession” and worked on a “follow my leader” basis, and no ‘organisers’ could be sought to give police prior notice of the route or hand over names and addresses. This is fantastic news, as previously cyclists had been handed notices claiming the rides were unlawful. It has now been established that legally Critical Mass is a custom and has, by definition, no organisers. Cyclists participating in Critical Mass around the UK should feel safe in the knowledge that this precedent has been set. glasgowcriticalmass.org.uk
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR CONTRIBUTORS
Maeve Redmond & Sam Bellacosa designed the new format and its layout. Alec Farmer– the “Sans-Serif Sheriff”– designed the front cover. Heather Purcell, Luke neve, Katy Wallwork, Callum Bell, Steph Blackie, Vicki McDonald, and Mr. Wright cut words, and added new ones, on one long Saturday night. The illustrations featured are by Chloe Chambers, Katy Wallwork, Amelia Barratt, and Ellen T. Montoya. James S. Wright gave us the lovely cartoon spread. His favourite animal is the seal, because the seal goes “Art! Art! Art! Art!” Thank you to Richard Anthony, formerly beardy librarian and aficianado at large, who gave us the “Apocalypse no!” article. Huge thanks to our SRC president Colin and vice-president Claire, without whom we would have no funding nor club night. Thank you to those who submitted written work: Georgina Errington, Lois Whithead, Helene Thomas Leyland Colins, Gabriella Evaristi Boyd Zakariassen Skulstad,
Thank you also to; Alex Dunst, Artur Van Balen, Emilia Muller Ginorio, Kate Mackay, Christopher Raymond, Jakub Simcik and the Belfast folks. Thank your tutors and technicians, because they are the heart of the GSA.
This is one of 500 copies, printed with money raised by our Gram club night. Pass it on, share it with friends, spread the word. We’d prefer illustations optimised for black and white, or greyscale. Scans should be optimised at 300 dpi (or just hand it over if you can’t figure out your scanner). Photos should follow the same prescription. We are introducing a strict 700 word count on all written submissions– because brevity is the soul of wit! As always, the email address for all communications is