Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Many Artworks for the Adoration of the Magi

The biblical story of the Adoration of the Magi began about two thousand years ago when it was included in the Book of Mathew. It would be hard to name a story depicted in art more than this one. Hundreds of painters, sculptors and other artists have created their version of this iconic tableau. more.... Published by Kosmo on Hubpages The Many Artworks for the Adoration of the Magi

Monday, November 07, 2011

Zotero v EndNote web

At Uni today we had a a tutorial about using EndNote Web for organising and inserting citations in a dissertation or thesis. I have been using Zotero a freeware piece of software that performs a similar task. I have to say I was not exactly blown away by my first experience with EndNote Web. Compared with Zotero the interface is very clunky. I would make the point that the web version of Endnote is free but you have to subscribe to it from a Uni computer or when logged on at Uni, you can not subscribe from home. There is a standalone version of Endnote but this costs nearly £200.

I thought I would have a look on the net to check out the various opinions regarding Zotero v Endnotes. These postings at Ideophone and Speechless may be worth a look. I have to say both are very much pro Zotero.

An important difference between Zotero and Endnote Web is, Zotero allows you to annotate your citations with snapshots of web pages, notes, images, tags and related citations. Something you can not do in Endnote Web.

See my previous posts relating to Zotero, the original post and update.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MA Supervisor - Dr Emile Devereaux

One of my MA supervisors is Dr Emile Devereaux BA, MFA, PhD.

To quote from his Bio, Emile is an internationally exhibiting media artist who works at the intersection of electronic arts production and theory. His artistic practice includes interactive electronics installation, 3D animation, and digital media. You can find examples of his work here:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MA Supervisor - Dr Andrew Quick

Andrew Quick is Director of LICA. Andrew studied English and Philosophy at Newcastle University and trained as a theatre director at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff in 1984. Having worked professionally in making and touring experimental performance, he returned to academic study in 1989, completing a PhD investigating the histories and languages of contemporary British experimental performance at Bristol University. He has been teaching at Lancaster since 1991, where he runs undergraduate courses on Avant-Garde Theatre and Contemporary Experimental Performance as well as teaching on practical units.

Andrew is also a founder member of imitating the dog, an Arts Council funded performance company that tours nationally and internationally. His academic work is closely bound up with contemporary art practices and much of his writing on performance, photography and installation investigates concepts of space, play, documentation, scenography and performance ethics.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Charity Auction - Donation

Liver Buildings - Alistair Parker
I have donated a piece of work to the Deloitte charity auction for the Greenbank Project..... on-line bids accepted, please show your support.... further information check link below or contact Dot-Art, Liverpool.
See more of my work at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Frailty of Memory

There comes a time when the function and frailty of memory becomes a preoccupation. Forgetfulness is perversely accompanied by an increased acuity of distant memories. Nostalgia becomes a way of life… a fleeting reflection… an ethereal glimpse of something familiar through the mind’s eye… fragments of memory like shards of mirror… a vision barely visible through the broken glass in the window of time.
 The digital projector is employed as a modern day Camera Obscura to explore Barthes notion of the ‘Punctum’ and the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). The projected image starts with a familiar image that could be carried in the wallet or reside in a well worn family album. The image is initially vivid, nostalgic – the ‘Punctum"’ – but with the passage of time, it decays, leaving an enduring memory – the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). This work considers one of the earliest attempts to explain visual memory, by considering the analogy of Plato's wax tablet, Freud's mystic writing pad and even the modern computer, all of which consider memory as layers.
This is a video taken of my graduation project. In a blacked out space the animation, Fading Memory as seen in my previous post, was projected on to a translucent screen made from tulle behind which was a further much darker version of the image an acrylic sheet so this was also semi translucent. When the animation starts the second image is virtually invisible (difficult to capture this in this video)  as the front image decays more light falls on the back image and as the viewers eyes adapt to the darkness the back image is slowly revealed. 
This installation which was part of my BA (Hons) Fine Art & Professional Practice final show, endeavours to portray the durability of the Photograph compared with the fragility of memory.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fading Memory - Rejected Version

This is  an earlier version of the animation in the previous post showing a fragmentation rather than decay effect. Also the photograph disintegrates in such a way that the facial features are lost first, I felt that this was in appropriate for the effect I was looking for.

Fading Memory - Final Version

With sound

In the lead up to my final graduation show piece I produced a number of variations of this work. My objective was to take a well worn, cherished photograph, in this case one of my mother aged 18, and to create an animation which simulated the photograph decaying.

I experimented with a variety of ways of doing this but ended up using Photoshop, the software I am most familiar with, to create the images and produce the animation.

The rational behind the animation was to simulate on the one hand the fading of a memory and on the other the physical disintegration/decay of the photograph. The original photograph was given a crumpled look and then the animation disintegrated the image in such a way that the vestiges of the image were still recognisable as a face.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Fragments of Memory

Fragments of Memory - Appropriated film and photographs

Discovering the haunting work of Bill Morrison was a major influence. Using decaying nitrate film stock from the US national film archive Morrison reconstructed footage to create short and feature length films. To create this work I appropriated frames from Morrison's film "Light Calling" and reworked them to include my own images. The objectives were to create a visual complexity as in the previous works, an aesthetic experience from the nostalgic response to cherished photographs and finally to invoke the notion memory that was decaying and fragmenting. The organic fluidity of the images induced an unexpected melancholic dimension to this work.  Working on this piece prompted me to consider the imagery used as a metaphor for the frailty of memory as may be experienced by a dementia sufferer.

The video was shown on a small monitor.

Nostalgic Vision

Nostalgic Vision - Mirror, Acrylic, Video

Following on from the idea developed for the year 2 final project I experimented with de-constructing the layers in the video into a physical representation of the idea.

During year 3 I was exploring the relationship between the nostalgic photograph and memory and remembering. The challenge was how to visualise this. I was intrigued by possibility of incorporating the reflection of the viewer as the first layer rather than the torn poster used in the previous project. I experimented with distressed mirror, where part of the reflective surface had been removed. Behind this there was a transparent layer incorporating facial features from a nostalgic photograph. Finally there was a moving image. I experimented with various options but ended up using the same home movie video from the previous project.I was interested to discover that a reflective front element was a feature of Keith Coventry's John Moores winning painting "Spectrum Jesus" .

It was difficult to simulate the viewer experience in this video, because it is not possible to simulate the reflection of the viewer and the fact that the viewer could move to change the point of view through the mirror.

The response of viewers was interesting, most managed to resolve the images after a few moments viewing and commented on the nostalgic response to what was being viewed.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Torn Faces

During year 3 my enquiry was concerned with the aesthetic experience of urban decay. The work explores the layers of history, the ephemera of urban decay as represented by torn posters or peeling paint and the notion of nostalgia. Torn posters and peeling paint have long been the subject of the aesthetic experience. Many artists have employed such motif in their work, Mimmo Rotella, Raymond Haynes, Jacques de la Villeglé. Such work present a challenge to visual perception as the observer endeavours to translate the fragments and vestiges of overlapping images, the video explores this complex perceptual relationship offered by the duality of the fixed and moving image. In the original installation a reflection of the viewers face provides an additional layer of complexity.

The ghostly moving image with the style of a stilted amateurish home movie provokes memory and a notion of nostalgia of a family event against the fixed ambiguous image of decay and what may appear to be the vestige of a familiar portrait. The changing juxtaposition of the elements invokes uncertainty and questions perception, an allegory for memory and recollection.

This piece of work was created as part of the final project at the end of the second year and initiated a departure in my work from 2D mixed media collage to the moving image.

BA Final Project - Statement

Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.
Walter Benjamin
There comes a time when the function and frailty of memory becomes a preoccupation. Forgetfulness is perversely accompanied by an increased acuity of distant memories. Nostalgia becomes a way of life… a fleeting reflection… an ethereal glimpse of something familiar through the mind’s eye… fragments of memory like shards of mirror… a vision barely visible through the broken glass in the window of time.
My work comprises of three installations informed by the subject of my dissertation which explores, through concepts derived from neuro-aesthetics, the allegorical relationship between decay, the frailty and function of memory and the influence of nostalgia.
I have chosen to examine this complex relationship through the visual language of moving image and the perishable photograph. In a manner similar to Roland Barthes, the basis for my exploration is a photograph of my mother as a young woman.

The viewer contemplates a visual illusion created by multiple layers of imagery, reflection, transparency and moving image. Richard Gregory used the ‘Dalmatian Dog Illusion’ to illustrate how the brain may resolve visual complexity using genetically hard wired, primitive survival neuro-physiological processes. The installation endeavours to represent the way in which our brains resolve the initial complexity of a visual experience into the familiar. As with Gregory's illusion, once resolved the resultant image cannot be unresolved; the passage of time challenges memory and the ability to resolve complexity.

The digital projector is employed as a modern day Camera Obscura to explore Barthes notion of the ‘Punctum’ and the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). The projected image starts with a familiar image that could be carried in the wallet or reside in a well worn family album. The image is initially vivid, nostalgic – the ‘Punctum"’ – but with the passage of time, it decays, leaving an enduring memory – the ‘Noeme’ (that-has-been). This work considers one of the earliest attempts to explain visual memory, by considering the analogy of Plato's wax tablet, Freud's mystic writing pad and even the modern computer, all of which consider memory as layers.

The advent of photography offered an obvious metaphor for memory. Once described as the mirror with a memory, paradoxically, the photograph frequently endures when memory fades and fragments. This aspect of my work tries to represent the decay of the familiar into the unfamiliar. The glass surface reflects a familiar portrait whilst the fractures represent the frailty of memory.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Layers of History - Video

During year 3 my enquiry was concerned with the aesthetic experience of urban decay. My work explores the layers of history as represented by torn posters or peeling paint and the notion of nostalgia. Torn and peeling posters present a challenge to visual perception, the video explores the complex perceptual relationship between a fixed and moving image.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Arrogance: An Exhibition of Contemporary Portrait Painting

Arrogance an exhibition of contemporary portrait painting  by recent Blackpool Art College graduate Anton Byrne-Carter. Blackpool based Anton is a gifted artist and his portrait style is becoming increasingly sought after. Anton is currently engaged on a commission for a portrait of ex Blackpool and now Liverpool footballer Charlie Adams.

Till  30th October, at Village Market Place, ArtSpOt, Poulton le Fylde,  9 till 5 Monday to Saturday, entry free. 
The entrance to the exhibition space is from the Teanlowe Centre Carpark, next to the Post Office.

See more of Antons work at follow him on Twitter @antonart123 and Like him on Facebook

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alistair Parker Art at dot-art Liverpool

I am delighted to announce that my work is now being represented by the Liverpool gallery dot-art.

dot-art was founded by Lucy Byrne in 2006, and is an art gallery and consultancy based in Liverpool city centre, specialising in affordable, high quality, locally sourced art, on a sale, commission and rental basis, as well as offering a range of complementary services including; art consultancy, exhibition planning and implementation, bespoke framing, art valuation and restoration and artist sourcing.

Harris Museum and folly: pioneering experiment in collecting digital art

In late 2010 the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston in partnership with folly, Lancaster have launched Current : An Experiment in Collecting Digital Art. The partnership invited applications from Artists working with technology to propose new or existing work for exhibition and acquisition. They requested proposals for work such as digital art, interactive art, net art, electronic art, multi-and time-based media.

The project was heralded as a unique case study in the collection of digital art. Conceived to encourage debate from visitors, artists and sector professionals about the process of integrating digital artworks into existing permanent collections.

UK-based artists working in digital media and new media technology were invited to propose work for an exhibition at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery which took place 25 March - 4 June 2011 .

Work was selected for inclusion by an expert panel (including Mike Stubbs CEO of FACT , Ruth Catlow, Co-founder and co-director of and HTTP Gallery London , and Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art at the University of Sunderland and co-editor of CRUMB).

The objectives of the project were:-
  • A public exhibition of new media artwork to be held at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery.
  • An acquisition of one artwork for the museum's permanent collections.
  • A public debate.
  • Evaluation of the project to inform future collecting of new media at the museum
The shortlist of artists selected:-

Southampton based artists Vicky Isley and Paul Smith make artworks inspired by the diversity that exists in nature. boredomresearch use computational technology to explore this diversity often using techniques similar to those used by scientists.

Michael Szpakowsk
Michael is an artist, composer, writer & educator. His music has been performed all over the UK, in Russia & the USA. His short films have been shown throughout the world. He is composer & video artist for Tell Tale Hearts Theatre Company & a joint editor of the online video resource DVblog.

James Coupe
James is an artist who works with systems, autonomy and networks. His controversial recent work with surveillance systems, in installation projects such as (re)collector and Surveillance Suite, use computer vision software to extract demographic and behavioural information from live video footage.

Harwood, Wright, Yokokoji
These artists have collaborated together from 2004 to 2009, firstly as part of ‘Mongrel' - an internationally recognised artists collective. Previous projects involving the group include the first online commission from the Tate Gallery, London , a BAFTA award nomination and work in the permanent collections of the Pompidou Centre Paris and the Centre for Media Arts in Karlsruhe (ZKM).

Thomson & Craighead
Thomson and Craighead are fascinated how trends of globalisation and networked global communications have been re-shaping the way we all perceive and understand the world around us. They live and work in London and Kingussie in the highlands of Scotland making artworks for galleries, online and sometimes outdoors.

The piece selected to become part of the Harris permanent collection was the Thomson & Craighead's piece 'The distance travelled through our solar system this year and all the barrels of oil remaining ' (2011).

The work was selected by an expert panel, including Paul Hobson, Director, Contemporary Arts Society; Sarah Fisher, Chair of Axis and Chair of FACT ; Gavin Delahunty, Head of Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Liverpool; Taylor Nuttall, Chief Executive, folly; and Alex Walker, Head of Arts & Heritage Preston City Council.

The work consists of two wall based gallery projections that dynamically display the number of remaining oil barrels left in the world alongside the distance the earth has travelled this year. By juxtaposing something global (the statistic streams) against something local (a visit to a gallery and contemplation of an artwork), the piece allows a poetic connection to be made between the individual and the world at large.

Alex Walker, Head of Arts & Heritage, Preston City Council said;

“We are delighted to acquire this piece by Thomson & Craighead. The work is a completely new departure for the Harris Museum & Art Gallery. It's very much of the 21st century and could only be produced now. It makes use of live stream from the internet, and also deals with the big issues of the environment which are of concern to everyone. It may not initially have obvious connections with the Harris' collections, however, artists have always been concerned with helping us to understand and relate to the world we live in. Through the Current selection process we have acquired a piece which is both experimental and innovative.”

To complete the project a public debate was held at UCLAN on 24th May 2011 to analyse the experiment and share findings and best practice on collecting digital art.

As an artist engaged with New and Multi-Media practice I had great expectations for the exhibition but was rather under whelmed by my visit. The artists brief for the exhibition was a little ambiguous. The general preamble spoke in terms of 'New Media' yet the artists were asked to submit proposals of work such as digital art, interactive art, net art, electronic art, multi-and time-based media. Whilst the broad term 'New Media' has a wide ranging definition one thing the term does generally imply is interactivity with the medium. With one exception the works in this exhibition were most definitely not interactive.

Maybe my disappointment with this exhibition was exacerbated by my recent visit to the wonderful "New Media" exhibition "Recorders" at the Manchester Art Gallery a major exhibition by Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. This really was cutting edge interactive 'New Media' art.

I attended the debate at UCLAN on the 24th May. The debate did help to clarify some of my miss giving's about the exhibition. For starters, the selection of short listed exhibits can only be as good as the work submitted for selection. Having said that the highlight of the debate was the presentation by Alison Craighead 50% of the winning partnership, Thomson and Craighead. I wasn't familiar with the work of these London based visual artists. They have been working together with video, sound and the internet since 1993. Their work explores how technology changes the way we perceive the world around us. They use live data to make artworks, including template cinema online artworks and gallery installations, where networked movies are created in real time from online material such as remote-user security web cams, audio feeds, chat room text transcripts and social media output. The breadth and ingenuity of the work is impressive. In my opinion the work acquired by the Harris, whilst of the moment, given our preoccupation with dwindling natural resources, it is possibly one of their less inspiring pieces. It may have been more relevant to relate the consumption of oil with the rocketing price of say petrol! I am not sure the man on the Clapham omnibus has much concept of how far we travel through the Milky Way; he is aware of the cost of fuel!

Quoting from the Harris website, "the aim of the project was to raise the profile of this area of practice; to help digital artists to become integral to art's history; and for digital art to be seen as something to be collected in perpetuity, thereby reinforcing the public perception of it and its value". They also intended to address the challenges facing curators, in terms of integrating digital art into existing collections. One challenge being to display the work as it was originally intended. Another being the ability for digital media to reflect a continual state of evolution in its production and exhibition and in the case of the Thomson and Craighead installation the original data source.

The recently resurrected BBC Doomsday project highlights the problem of incorporating digital media into art collections. The rapid evolution of software, hardware, storage and presentation equipment in this sector presents numerous issues and potential problems. It was this aspect of the acquisition that engaged the speakers and audience alike, the reason why the public debate was such an important part of the project. All those concerned in the process confessed to a steep learning curve.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Professional Practice Opportunity

The Poulton ArtSpOt is available to suitable students as a curatable exhibition space and potential working location.
  • To exhibit 2D work subject to the submission of a suitable proposal.
  • In return for a minimum of 8 hours supervision of the location per week and 15% commission on any sales made as a result of the exhibition as a contribution to costs.
  • Students would be required to have public liability insurance which could be acquired through membership of A-N.
  • Supervision and guidance is available as required.
  • The space would be available from beginning of April.
  • Work displayed must be suitable for family viewing.
  • Available for 4 week periods.
The space is a continuous run of 28 x 8 ft lined with white painted chipboard on one wall of a public passage way. The passageway is an unsupervised public area. Work should be fixed to the display surface. In the 3 years I have operated this space there has been no problem with security. The passage way receives direct south westerly light, artists should be aware that this may affect non-lightfast pigments or dyes. Selection of suitable candidate will be made subject to the submission by email, of a proposal.
To include:-
  • Artist statement
  • Description of work including size, number, media etc
  • Photographs of examples of work.
  • Will you be selling or not?
  • Risk assessment

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Easy Citation with Zotero - Update

This is an update of my post of 17 November 2010 find it here.

A requirement of the college I attend is we have to use Harvard style referencing but they want you to include the page number of the citation but the default option does not include page numbers.

They require the "in text" citation to look like this (Trigg, 2006, p.6) but the default in Zotero looks like this (Trigg, 2006).

There is a simple solution you can download from Zotero a vast number of citation styles that can be added to the default set that comes with the initial download.

Go to this page Zotero Styles and download the "Harvard - Adapted for Leeds Met" option, click the [install ] link. I could not fathom how it worked to start but the Zotero Forum proved very helpful. The new option comes up when you use the Word plug-in to add a citation. Make sure Word is closed when you download the new option. When you next use Word you will find at the bottom of the dialog box that opens when you choose to insert citation from the Zotero toolbar menu there will be a button at the bottom marked Page in the box next to it type the page number you want to add to the citation. Choose your citation in the normal way and Bingo the page number appears as above.

Click image to enlarge.

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Right Foot's Connected to Your Right Finger

This is an experiment which demonstrates that despite what we may think we have little control over our brain. Your brain controls you. Click the image to enlarge and follow the instructions. Mmmmmm interesting eh.......

Monday, February 14, 2011

Printing a Secure PDF

Occasionally you will download or be sent a secure PDF file that has the print option disabled. If there are no copyright restrictions the simple option is to use an on-line conversion option to create a printable file. One I have used, which works a treat, is Neevia free on-line PDF converter, available here. When the page opens in your browser use the default settings, browse to the file on your hard disc, choose the delivery method, either the file will be opened in your browser or sent by email. I generally choose the email delivery option. Your file can now be opened and printed.

Monday, February 07, 2011

What is the difference between a metaphor and an allegory?

This is a distinction that constantly confuses, me included. I found this answer at which strikes me as fairly succinct. Hope you don't mind me passing your words of wisdom on!

Answer: A metaphor is typically a phrase that is used as a comparison to seemingly unrelated objects or actions. A metaphor is a rhetorical trope that represents the first subject as being similar or equal to a second object or subject in any way.

An allegory is also a representation of comparisons but on a much deeper note. An allegory typically consist of a longer passage of comparisons than just a phrase; it also includes more details than a metaphor. An allegory is usually symbolically substituted for something else. A meaningful historical/geopolitical event or a wider abstract concept is usually the goal of an allegory. Metaphors are mainly used in language, whereas allegories can be used in language, painting, sculpting, etc.

EXAMPLES OF KNOWN METAPHORS: All the World's a stage, Killing him with Kindness, Frozen with fear, My stomach was a bottomless pit.


Example #1: In the novel, Lord of the Flies it provides a compelling allegory of human nature, illustrating the three sides of the psyche through its sharply-defined main characters.

Example # 2: A symbolic representation: The blindfolded figure with scales is an allegory of justice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fragments of Memory

It is the end of the penultimate semester and we have the first half of our Final Assessment so I have been burning the midnight oil finishing off my various projects and getting my sketchbook up-to-date.

Through both my dissertation and fine art practice work continues to explore the aesthetic aspects of decay, memory/remembering, nostalgia and melancholia. I am interested in exploring the ugly as compared to the beautiful using decay as the metaphor. I am endeavouring to explain my enquiry through the visualisation of the concept of perception and how this relates to memory and the emotions of nostalgia and melancholia.

I am considering the manner in which the eye converts visual information into memory, how the brain perceives this information and how this information is subsequently retrieved to form part of our emotional and aesthetic experience. My enquiry considers the modern science of neuro-physiology, neuro-aesthetics in the response to art and the aesthetic experience. The work employs a combination of video and still images arranged in multiple layers to create visual complexity challenging the perception of the viewer to recognise the familiar within the unfamiliar.

The following video is one of the 3 video works I have on display. The other 2 have to be viewed in-situ as they employ partly silvered mirror as the front element of the work, this makes videoing the work difficult.

Fragments of Memory

This video makes use of appropriated stills from Bill Morrison's film "Light is calling" and part of Michael Gordon's sound track. Morrison's film is based on "found footage" of decaying film. I have reworked the film incorporating into it my own images, mainly nostalgic family photographs. The video explores the notion of fragmented memory and the often confused narration associated with the effects of Alzheimers disease.

This work is for academic purposes only and recognises the original authors copyright no breach of which is intended.