Yesterday I attended a 'Creative Conference Day' at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport, Isle of Wight. This day was designed to accompany the exhibition Transmission, a show by graduates of Southampton Solent University's School of Art and Design. The exhibition itself was fairly interesting, in that a conscious effort had been made to embrace all the courses at the University; Photography, Fine Art, Film, Product Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Fashion and Textiles, Interactive Media and so on.This was the third iteration of the exhibition, which had been re-curated several times; unfortunately I had missed the previous versions of the show, though I was able to see photographs during one of the talks given during the conference day. The quality of the work was somewhat mixed, as you would expect from a student show, but generally interesting; the fact that it was properly designed for the Quay Art's slightly unconventional space makes it definitely one of the more interesting shows I have seen there in a while.
For me by far the most interesting part of the day was a talk by two members of the art collective Borbonesa, who produce artist's books and other related self-published endeavours, such as zines and small boxed multiples. During the afternoon I also got a chance to have a conversation with them and show them Vectis. We talked about possible options for publishing, funding and how to bring down the cost of each individual volume. I also got a chance to talk about specific technical aspects of their work, mundanities such as the kind of glue they use, folding patterns, methods of cutting and so on. We also talked about book fairs and good places to go and see collections of artist's books in the South of England, particularly Winchester School of Art and Portsmouth University, both of which I plan to visit at some point. The whole session left me inspired, and I have formulated a short term plan of action to run alongside my research and allow me to begin producing some work. These are the things I plan to do over the next month or so, as well as read and respond to books:
1. Make collections of utopian and dystopian imagery, and create two large collages or mood-boards from these.
2. Make a large mind-map around the themes of utopia and dystopia
3. Prepare the collages and mind-maps as fold-books printed on a single sheet of paper.
4. Produce a number of other small books.