I’m very fond of this particular unsung artist. His ground breaking work is only now being properly catalogued and bought to a wider audience.
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I have noted here previously an association with the wonderful digitalDIZZY net label. They have released two of my musical pieces and have been kind enough to include my schizzle on two of their great compilations.
Well there’s another one forthcoming which I’m more than happy to get behind. Please forgive the following copy and paste content, but I hope you’ll get the point.
“Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters (20 June 1887 – 8 January 1948) was a German artist who was born in Hanover, Germany.
Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography, and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures.”
For my part, having an interest in graphic design, collage, printmaking and surrealism, I took quite an liking in his work when at art school.
“Schwitters first visited the Lake District on holiday with Edith Thomas in September 1942. He moved there permanently on 26 June 1945, to 2 Gale Crescent Ambleside. However, after another stroke in February of the following year and further illness, he and Edith moved to a more easily accessible house at 4 Millans Park.
During his time in Ambleside Schwitters created a sequence of proto-pop art pictures, such as For Käte, 1947, after the encouragement from his friend, Käte Steinitz. Having emigrated to the United States in 1936, Steinitz sent Schwitters letters describing life in the emerging consumer society, and wrapped the letters in pages of comics to give a flavour of the new world, which she encouraged Schwitters to ‘Merz’.
In March 1947, Schwitters decided to recreate the Merzbau and found a suitable location in a barn at Cylinders Farm, Elterwater, which was owned by Harry Pierce, whose portrait Schwitters had been commissioned to paint. Having been forced by a lack of other income to paint portraits and popularist landscape pictures suitable for sale to the local residents and tourists, Schwitters received notification shortly before his 60th birthday that he had been awarded a £1,000 fellowship to be transferred to him via the Museum of Modern Art in New York in order to enable him to repair or re-create his previous Merz constructions in Germany or Norway. Instead he used it for the “Merzbarn” in Elterwater. Schwitters worked on the Merzbarn daily, travelling the five miles between his home and the barn, except for when illness kept him away. On 7 January 1948 he received the news that he had been granted British citizenship. The following day, on 8 January, Schwitters died from acute pulmonary edema and myocarditis, in Kendal Hospital.”
The Elterwater Merzbarn is at the centre of this project.
This from Merz Barn Langdale
“The Merz Barn project is an outstanding contribution to the understanding of contemporary art, not only in this country but in the world-art context. It has taken great care and work to bring this to fruition. It speaks enormously well of Cumbria and of us as a nation, and will undoubtedly be a focus of interest for decades to come. To think that it will crumble away for the sake of a modest grant speaks very badly of the Arts Council’s priorities, especially in the more remote parts of England. I do hope this will be reconsidered.” Email from Lord Bragg, 10.6.14
The Merz barn building still stands much as Schwitters left it in 1948. Located in a remote woodland in the heart of the Langdale valley in Cumbria, NW England it serves as a symbolic connection and poignant memorial to the spirit and tenacity of the artist who worked there. This project is about the recovery, documentation and restoration of Kurt Schwitters‘ last Merzbau project; the Elterwater Merz Barn, and the international fundraising campaign that is intended to pay for vital restoration work and sustain the development of the project in the longer term.
This brings us directly to the project. This from ‘Merz Funder‘
“Over the past three years we’ve been visiting the beautiful Elterwater Merz Barn in Cumbria (last creative home of the mighty Kurt Schwitters)using various devices to capture field recordings(outside the barn) & using these to create live soundscapes(inside). On our arrival last week we discovered that the whole site has been severely damaged in recent storms, which is devastating news as the merzbarn receives no arts grant or regular funding. SO we need your help to raise monies and awareness about the final home of uk dada! Ruby/lamorna/Joy/exp ct!”
So for all of the above reasons, I’m very pleased to offer ‘Merzquito’ to the project. This was produced with content by Belgian sound artist Peter Wullen. A happy accident of coincidence, his word assemblage / text/talk poem about a mosquito, reading about Schwitters internment on the Isle of Wight at the end of WWII, and the launch of the Merz Funder project.
I’ll confess to having a couple more lined up and some musings on visual materials. Its great to inspired by a project. I hope some readers here will feel the same. Contribution is everything.
Some vital links here
Merz Funder on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/Merzfunder/
Merz Barn Langdale https://merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com
This from A-N https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/kurt-schwitters-merzbarn
From The Glove of Bones site.
A short post, but one I’m very pleased to be able to make.
Its been really inspiring to know Cousin Silas for a while now. He is a hugely prolific artist, exceptional ambient musician and a genuinely nice bloke with a great love of music of all sorts. In conversation recently it was suggested we made a dub noise. And in very short turn I’m really happy to post it here.
This is Crow Dub. #Bass
I recommend you also take a listen to the ‘In Dub’ album on digitalDIZZY, free to download here
The Glove of Bones, for which I can’t deny substantial complicity, has been included in this pretty amazing release. 110 artists and hours & hours of incredible original independent music. Quite an incredible bringing together by the digitalDIZZY net label. Please take a few minutes to have a look and listen, its an admirable cause given the dubious positions of most Western Governments.
The Glove of Bones is very pleased to have a track include in the 110 track various artists compilation from digitalDIZZY produced to raise funds for the Refugee’s Welcome organisation. There is a nasty isolationist attitude in the general political atmosphere in the UK and its commendable that creative/arts organisations spread the word of tolerance and charity that is often missing from the broader culture.
A Warmer Welcome is a benefit release for #refugees welcome
In times of crises, British people have always answered the call and banded together with other friendly nations to speak out, send aid and provide refuge.
Along with local groups and national organisations, we’re ready to respond to this crises; welcoming refugees from abroad and encouraging our political leaders to do more.
We’re ready to welcome people fleeing from violence and persecution.
We’re ready to find homes, help children to settle and bring…
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.
Quite a busy week on the Glove of Bones site. Please visit the site and sign up for notifications. Its not bad.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Re-posting the last two blogs here for brevity.
Showing here for the first time are the raw scans of the images used in the Book of Bones to illustrate the songs. As previously detailed these images are a collaborative effort between my children and my self. I provided them with a list of elements; a spaceman, a ghost, some fish, a monster, a guitar etc – and left them to it. The versions that appear on these pages are my reproductions of their creations.
The next stage for these will be some small edits and corrections before putting them back into print, possibly with a view to producing a limited edition.
Two recent associated musical projects have also been posted to Bandcamp this week. Both are available as free downloads in high quality FLAC files.
On Tuesday 3rd of November the brilliant digitalDIZZY net label released the Soundtrack of the Glove of Bones film on their Bandcamp page. It’s great to get this vote of confidence and interest in some of the creations from this project.
The OST for the film can be downloaded in high quality FLAC format for free on the links below.
50/50 – Song Cycle
The release of the OST seemed to be an appropriate prompt to release the 50/50 song cycle on Bandcamp. This is also a free download but also includes so hopefully interesting additional products.
On one of the ‘other’ channels of my on-line time frittering I did this. Please feel free to follow The Glove of Bones if you don’t mind inviting this kind of occurrence into your digital file. If nothing else it uses a very nice theme.
Information in relation to work flow.
When I started planning the musical aspect of 50/50 it was under the A4+ brand, as per previous issues. The theme of biography was implicit, the format (five 10 minute songs, each broadly representing a decade of life) was built in, and other intentions of continuity (all the visual content would be monochrome for example) seemed reasonably attainable.
As with all such grand schemes it seemed likely that supplementary materials would emerge so the idea of an epilog sprang to mind (and in fact inspired the ‘segue’ pieces), cutting in existing references into a mash-up, sweeping the floor, exhibiting good recycling practices. At some indeterminate point the ‘Glove of Bones’ phrase gained traction and from that the idea of a filmed piece. This is the outcome.
“The tooth root and aching backbone of the Glove of Bones creative project was an idea for a road movie without a road, a biography without a chronology or subject and an imaginary soundtrack for a film, based around a real movie.”
Almost a film in five equal sections with both structured musical content and more abstract found, soundscapes, atmosphere. Holmes would have a field day with the evidence but like all good conspiracy pedlars, I prefer to protect my sources.
I would like particular to credit the use of the ‘Holcombe Tarot’ by Wayne Burrows. I’m continually impressed by his diversity of creation. The Tarot can be seen in use somewhere around the 25 minute mark.
There are a small number of filmic references which movie geeks will spot. They are cited as points of reference for the various immersions the biographical subject has encountered and soaked up. I do not and would never claim any rights to these reflections.
There is I must admit a perverse vanity involved in re-blogging my own content on another blog. The purpose is to give those who follow the original (and still the best) page the opportunity to hop on board the new project. Its early days on the GoB site with plenty of new content in the percolator. Please enjoy.
50/50 was the starting point for the Glove Of Bones. Following a notable annual ageing event it seemed appropriate to produce a self portrait that illustrated the passing of time. Snippets of biographical detail, events throughout the passing years and interests & fascinations that have coloured perception and formed the Glove as it is today come together in a song cycle / soundtrack. Part fact, part fiction and as reliable as memory is.
The piece follows a structure of decades (10 minute songs) with brief interludes or notes between. The final epilog is absent here as this has developed its our life and is what inspired the Glove Of Bones project.
The playlist below is the initial draft version of the pies and is subject to change.
A couple of weeks ago I took the boys to Newstead Abbey which is about 20 minutes from our home, near Ravenshead & Newstead Village. We have been there on many occasions but it was a sunny day with time to kill and also the ‘Big Day Out’, an annual City Council run event that offers free entrance to various museums and other attractions.
Newstead has extensive grounds and play areas for the boys, a huge lake and waterfall features and a very well run main building with museum and café.
The ex Augustine Priory was also the home of Lord George Gordon Byron, infamous poet, traveller and bad boy.
Whilst I took a lot of pictures on my DSLR and filmed some slo-mo water on my phone, I’m more pleased by the B/W images shot on a Holga using 120 Ilford Pan Plus film. On this occasion I’ve only made one over-layed panorama, the others are single frames that show tree’s in blossom and some wire frame sculptures that sit in the formal walled gardens. Pan plus is a slow film perhaps better suited to a tripod and good light. The images are shakey but full of tone. There is only minmal post processing of these after being scanned.
The seems to be a proposal to develop Newstead in a similar way to Chatsworth House which uses the grounds and other feature to display a range of contemporary arts pieces. Newstead would be a perfect site this given its history and landscape. Click on the images below to open the gallery view.
On show at the time we visited and in the main Drawing Room was a piece by Nottingham artist Tristram Aver titled ‘And Stand A Ruin Amidst Ruins’. The multiple panel screen references Newstead artefacts from wall papers, period portraits, local flora and hunting trophies. I hope the plans for the Abbey produce more thoughtful site specific pieces of this type. Below is a panoramic shot of the Drawing Room and the piece which is on display until the 5th of July.
As well as taking more than a few photographs I also managed to get a number of sound recordings which will end up in whatever new musical piece materialises this year. The piece ‘Sea Song’ that I made last year features the waterfall from the lake and other images around the grounds.
Thanks to Photo Parlour, Nottingham for film processing, analog love in a digital age.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.