Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WordWeb - English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows

Another useful aid to dissertation writing WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include:

Definitions and synonyms
Related words
5000 audio pronunciations
65 000 text pronunciations

150 000 root words
120 000 synonym sets
Look up words in almost any program

Go to the WordWeb site or download from here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easy Citation with Zotero

For those of you who who are struggling with the citation part of your dissertation you need to discover Zotero.

Zotero is a piece of free software that can be used to collect your citation information from the internet or manually and insert it into your dissertation using Microsoft Word or Open Office. The software is easy to install and set up and there is loads of help on the website and through associated forums.

Zotero only works with the Firefox browser on both PC and Mac but not with Internet Explorer or Safari, don't ask why it's a long story.

Zotero comes in 2 parts, a Plug-in for Firefox and a plug-in for Microsoft Word or Open Office.

If you do not normally use Firefox it is an open source browser by Mozilla and has an excellent reputation, personally I would not use anything else. You can have both Firefox and IE on your computer at the same time. Download Mozilla Firefox here

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How Not to Sell Your Art

SCENE #1: PHONE RINGS Mr COLLECTOR - (phone ringing) "Hello. Is this Artist Brown? Hi there, I saw your painting at the Fathers With No Teeth auction last weekend. You know, the painting with the two donkeys? I love it! I want to buy it. How much are you asking?" ARTIST - "Oh yeah, great, yeah, fantastic... Two Donkeys.. Buy it? Yeah, sure it's for sale, I think. Uh, the price - well I - Uh - how about I get back to you on that? (goes to local pub and agonizes over the price...)"

SCENE #2: TWO MONTHS LATER, ARTIST - (making a call) "Hello, is Mr Collector there? This is Artist Brown following up with the price for my painting, "Two Donkeys". What? He's moved to Tahiti? Last week? Does he have a phone there?"
When it comes to pricing your work, the worst price is not the high one, and not the low one. It is "price undecided". Make a decision, and go with it. And remember that the buyer is more motivated to buy at the moment they call you than they will ever be. So be prepared to be flexible, right then, while they are on the phone.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age

"Walking on Eggshells" is a 24-minute documentary about appropriation, creative influence, re-use and intellectual property in the remix age. It is a conversation among various musicians, visual artists, writers and lawyers, all sharing their views on why and how we use and create culture, and how intellectual property law, originally designed to provide people with incentives to create, sometimes hinders creative production far more than it enhances it. There is more information available on the "Everything is a Remix" Blog

Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age from Brendan Schlagel on Vimeo.

On the same subject Aaron Dunn has created the non-profit organisation MusOpen where he aims to make available out of copyright classical music and sheet music.

Both of these items are discussed on the Radio 5 podcast "Outriders"

My Art in a Blackberry Commercial

Recently Blackberry shot a commercial for the new Torch handset featuring Will Ramsay the owner of Wills Art Warehouse in Putney, where I sell my art. The commercial was shot during recent exhibition where my work was on display. As luck would have it they caught a quick glimpse of one of my works, "Blackpool Rocks" 15 secs into the clip. Don't blink or you will miss it. They obviously think it is recognisable as I had to sign a release agreement!

This is what you are looking out for!

The launch of the ad is intended to coincide with the Affordable Art Fair another of Will Ramsay's successful innovations. This years event runs from 21 - 24th October in Battersea Park, London.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Exhibition "Beside the Sea" Wills Art Warehouse

Starting Saturday 31st July at Wills Art Warehouse, Lower Richmond Rd, Putney, London SW15 1LY will be holding an exhibition of contemporary art, Beside the Sea.

The gallery will be full of artworks inspired by seaside summer days and exotic travels
Featuring gallery favourites: Emma Brownjohn, Susie Brooks, Colin Moore, Alistair Parker, Charlotte Evans and many more... Continues until end of August

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AMALGAM - Art Exhibition at Village Walks Poulton le Fylde

AMALGAM - An exhibition of contemporary art at Village Walks, Poulton le Fylde. A selection of work by the 2nd Year Fine Art degree students from Blackpool Art School, Palatine Road.

19th July to 28th August, Monday to Saturday 9.00 till 5.00 Free entry. Entrance next to Post Office.

View Larger Map

Monday, June 28, 2010

Print a Secured PDF File

Ran into a problem today that I have never experienced before, I tried to print a PDF file that I had downloaded from the Internet but it would not print. I use Foxit Reader, a plug-in for Firefox to download and open PDF files and hitherto it has always worked perfectly but this time it came up with an error message telling me that the PDF document was secured and could not be printed.

After fiddling about for ages and getting nowhere I resorted to good old Google. After trying a couple of abortive suggestions from various sources I discovered PDF Escape . This is an online PDF editor. When you open the link there are a number of options, I chose the "Start Using (unregistered)" option. Just follow the on-sceen instructions, I browse to the file I needed to upload, it opens in an editor window. I chose the option to Print. My printer dialog duly opened and I printed off the 22 page document. Just for info I always use the fast option and print double sided to save both ink and paper. The document printed off perfectly.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Aesthetic of Ageing and Urban Decay

Well that is almost the end of the 2nd year of my BA (Hons) Fine Art and Professional Practice degree. Work is exhibited for final assessment and just one more tutorial to go.

My work continues to explore process and media with particular emphasis on photography and digital imaging. Drawing on the contextual reference which have informed my work so far, street art, urban decay, layers of history I have researched further into Décollage, Entrécissement and the work of the Letterists. Jonathan Millers book A Scavengers Hoard was particularly influential. His idea of viewing the world as a series of fragments mimicking the optical function of the eye was revealing.

I have continued with the theme of portrait and the concept of “noeme” (what has been). Drawing on the phenomena of Pareidolia – a type of apophenia involving the finding of images in random stimuli. Also the surrealist concept of the Paranoiac-critical method a technique developed by Salvador Dalí in the early 1930s. He employed it in the production of paintings and other artworks, especially those that involved optical illusions and other multiple images.

My work developed two themes, Décollage and Collage. The former took the form of Torn and Incised Poster in a shallow 3D assemblage using simulated posters created digitally and processed to simulate the Benday dot structure of large posters. This I feel was particularly successful. I shall be exploring this theme further. The contextual sources for this work included artists such as Leo Malet and Raymond Hindes.

An additional aspect to my work is a video installation piece. The work explores the duality of still and moving image. A ghostly moving image with a stilted amateurish home movie style provokes memory and nostalgia of a family event against the still ambiguity of an image of decay and the vestige of a ghostly portrait. The changing juxtaposition of the images provokes questions of perception and uncertainty bringing together fragments of memory and recollection. This concept was initially explored in an experimental mixed media collage where a subliminal stencil portrait of a child on translucent tulle material was displayed above a more complex torn poster background.

My work continues to be informed by the philosophy of Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Jaques Derrida

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Degree Shows

Blackpool, Fine Art, 21st - 26th June Palatine Road, FY1 4DW

UCLAN Fine Art, Drawing and Image Making, 12th - 19th June Hanover Building, Preston, PR1 2HE

Lancaster, Fine Art, 16th - 23rd June, Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster Campus, LA1 4YW

Salford, Fine Art, 4th - 8th June Allerton Studios, Fredrick Rd Campus, M6 6PU

John Moores School of Art & Design Degree Show 28th May - 4th June, 10am - 4pm inc Bank Hol, Art and Design Academy, 2 Duckinfield Street, Liverpool L3 5RD

Hope University Liverpool Summer Arts Degree Show - Fine Art Applied Art and Design 22 - 28th May 10.00-17.00 The Cornerstone, Haigh Street, Liverpool L3 8QB

Manchester Metropolitan Degree Show 19th, 20th & 23rd June: 10am–4pm, 21st & 22nd June: 10am–6pm The Grosvenor Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester M15 6BR

Further info:

Check out my web locations:-

Monday, March 29, 2010

Create a Blog with Blogger

Further to my talk today here are a few links to help you get started with creating a Blog in Google Blogger. There is also a link to a new on-line website creation outfit called Weebly. I have a had a go and it works really well, just needs a bit of planning before you take the plunge. If you want to register a domain name I use, they are safe and good value.
Blogger Tutorial pdf

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to Write a Dissertation in less than a minute

In the next few weeks I have to write a 1500 word proposal of next semesters 6000 - 10,000 word dissertation (they can't make up their minds how long).

Below is something I knocked up just for practice, contains 850 words. If you want to know how, nip to the end of the article!

Deconstructing Sontag: The postdialectic paradigm of context in the works of Spelling J. Jacques Reicher

1. Lacanist obscurity and Sartreist existentialism

“Society is impossible,” says Baudrillard; however, according to Sargeant[1] , it is not so much society that is impossible, but rather the genre of society. Thus, a number of discourses concerning neodialectic narrative may be found. The subject is contextualised into a postdialectic paradigm of context that includes truth as a whole.

Therefore, the main theme of the works of Rushdie is the difference between sexual identity and class. Many deconstructions concerning the role of the artist as poet exist.

However, Sontag promotes the use of the textual paradigm of narrative to deconstruct sexuality. Any number of discourses concerning the postdialectic paradigm of context may be discovered.

2. Rushdie and Lacanist obscurity

“Sexual identity is part of the meaninglessness of truth,” says Lyotard. Therefore, Bataille uses the term ‘post semantic de-sublimation’ to denote the collapse, and eventually the absurdity, of capitalist class. Several constructions concerning the common ground between language and sexual identity exist.

If one examines the post dialectic paradigm of context, one is faced with a choice: either reject Lacanist obscurity or conclude that the purpose of the reader is deconstruction, but only if consciousness is distinct from narrativity. But presemiotic narrative holds that reality is intrinsically dead. The characteristic theme of de Selby’s[2] model of Sartreist existentialism is the genre, and some would say the meaninglessness, of subcapitalist language.

“Society is part of the dialectic of reality,” says Sartre. It could be said that the opening/closing distinction depicted in Rushdie’s Satanic Verses is also evident in The Moor’s Last Sigh. The subject is interpolated into a dialectic Marxism that includes culture as a reality.

However, in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Rushdie reiterates Lacanist obscurity; in Midnight’s Children he denies pre-cultural theory. An abundance of narratives concerning Sartreist existentialism may be revealed.

It could be said that if the post-dialectic paradigm of context holds, we have to choose between conceptualist socialism and the neodialectic paradigm of reality. A number of desublimations concerning the difference between consciousness and class exist.

In a sense, Abian[3] suggests that we have to choose between Sartreist existentialism and capitalist narrative. The main theme of the works of Eco is a mythopoetical totality.

But if Lacanist obscurity holds, we have to choose between Sartreist existentialism and the post cultural paradigm of context. Pickett[4] holds that the works of Eco are modernistic.

3. Realities of stasis

In the works of Eco, a predominant concept is the concept of neomaterialist culture. Therefore, if Lacanist obscurity holds, we have to choose between the postdialectic paradigm of context and dialectic pretextual theory. Sontag suggests the use of Lacanist obscurity to attack class divisions.

The primary theme of Parry’s[5] essay on Derridaist reading is the role of the participant as writer. It could be said that the subject is contextualised into a Lacanist obscurity that includes sexuality as a whole. The premise of capitalist discourse implies that sexual identity has significance, given that the post-dialectic paradigm of context is invalid.

If one examines Sartreist existentialism, one is faced with a choice: either accept the post-dialectic paradigm of narrative or conclude that the establishment is capable of significant form. But Pickett[6] suggests that we have to choose between Sartreist existentialism and cultural libertarianism. Debord promotes the use of Lacanist obscurity to read and analyse narrativity.

Therefore, in Heaven and Earth, Stone examines the post-dialectic paradigm of context; in Platoon, although, he deconstructs Sartreist existentialism. Sontag suggests the use of the post-dialectic paradigm of context to deconstruct elitist perceptions of sexual identity.

However, the example of Sartreist existentialism prevalent in Stone’s JFK emerges again in Platoon, although in a more self-sufficient sense. Sartre promotes the use of the postdialectic paradigm of context to modify society.

In a sense, the main theme of the works of Stone is a mythopoetical totality. If the sub-semanticist paradigm of expression holds, we have to choose between Lacanist obscurity and Marxist capitalism.

Therefore, the premise of the post-dialectic paradigm of context implies that language may be used to marginalize the underprivileged, but only if sexuality is equal to language; otherwise, Sartre’s model of Sartreist existentialism is one of “textual narrative”, and thus fundamentally unattainable. Bataille uses the term ‘precultural sublimation’ to denote the common ground between art and class.

1. Sargeant, H. ed. (1972) The post-dialectic paradigm of context, the modern paradigm of consensus and socialism. University of Michigan Press

2. de Selby, E. M. (1986) The Expression of Dialectic: Lacanist obscurity and the postdialectic paradigm of context. Loompanics

3. Abian, O. A. U. ed. (1998) The post-dialectic paradigm of context in the works of Eco. Yale University Press

4. Pickett, Y. (1987) Textual Discourses: The postdialectic paradigm of context and Lacanist obscurity. Loompanics

5. Parry, Z. D. G. ed. (1973) Lacanist obscurity and the postdialectic paradigm of context. Oxford University Press

6. Pickett, W. (1992) Reading Lacan: The post-dialectic paradigm of context in the works of Stone. Schlangekraft

The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator.

To generate another essay, follow this link.

The Postmodernism Generator was written by Andrew C. Bulhak using the Dada Engine, a system for generating random text from recursive grammars, and modified very slightly by Josh Larios

You can find further text generators here:-
Wasn't that a brilliant find, will save you hours of work and no one will ever know!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ravages of Time

An exhibition of some of the work from my semester 3 assignment are on show at Village Walks Art SpOts, Poulton le Fylde until 27th February. Further information on the Art SpOts website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ravages of Time at the Grundy Art Gallery

A brief Exhibition ‘Work in Progress’ by 1st & 2nd Fine Art Students is currently showing at the Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool until 30th January. This show has been squeezed in between main exhibitions. An opportunity for students to create a gallery based installation.

My contribution is an adaptation of a piece of work I created for my last semester assignment. Based on a large poster approx 8 ft x 4 ft I have created a floor tile piece. Ravages of Time explores the metaphorical connection between urban decay as portrayed by fading and peeling signs, crumbling plaster, torn posters etc. Something so commonplace we fail to notice day today. And the way our elderly citizens become increasingly invisible to those around them.

The work is an enlargement of an A3 size piece which experimented with the combining of a photocopy of a photograph with a crackelure stressed effect created with PVA and acrylic ink. The images was enlarged x 25 from A3 using PosterRazor, freeware which enlarges the image and creates slices in this case each A3 in size in a PDF format. These are printed off and in this case fixed with adhesive to A3 size pieces of 4mm MDF and reassembled as a tiled image displayed on the floor.

Ravages of Time - Alistair Parker