Open Studios 2014

FLIERWe have lots of new work to show as part of the Telegraph Hill Festival Open Studios 5-6 April 2014. We didn’t take part last year so there is a build up of two years of work by all three of us. There is painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation and photography – all loosely exploring themes about nature, wildness and human-animal identity. An installation in the tree house is a memorial to lost trees and forests. Brian has been using new monoprinting techniques, as seen in the flyer image. Megan is showing some of the work that was in her portfolio, which won her place at the BRIT school for September 2014.

There are lots of other studios and houses showing work, including the notorious Nunhead & District Municipal Museum and Art Gallery in Gellatly Road, and on Sunday afternoon, a Skate/Art/Music party in Telegraph Hill Park.

Be Beuysterous

The Unextinction Machine is embarking on a new project called Beuysterous.

The word Beuysterous was Megan’s invention. It means being boisterous in a creative way that will heal the biosphere, inspired by Beuys.

You might have heard about the artist Joseph Beuys? He said ‘Everyone is an artist’ and proposed the idea of ‘Social Sculpture’. This meant that ordinary people together could make great works of art, and also that we could see everything that we do together already as art. However, he didn’t just think people should do as they please and it would be wonderful. He saw art as an evolutionary force, that it would make us and our world better. To be creative we don’t only have to make things from extracted materials. We can grow things from nature, and that is creative too. He was responsible for ‘7000 Oaks’, an ambitious artwork to plant masses of oak trees each accompanied by a basalt column. He died in 1986 aged 65. He had achieved the goal of planting 7000 oaks but he wanted to see a global revolution of tree planting as social sculpture.

He could not have known (although maybe he had a sense) that we would come to an age like this with unprecedented deforestation, whether it is deliberate for profit, or caused by the effects of climate change with tree diseases, forest fires and storms. He would not have foreseen the speed with which climate change would set in, and the need for the land to act as a carbon sink, best done by forests. He would not have foreseen that the Sixth Mass Extinction would be so exacerbated by humans, despite knowledge for so many decades.

In honour of Beuys’ vision of tree planting as social sculpture, Beuysterous will be a year of actions that we will do ourselves and share as widely as we can to encourage others to do. The actions will include:

Going to plant trees near to the area of the massive forest fires in southern Spain, to include creative actions.

Hoping to planting fruit or nut trees in our neighbourhood, and to volunteer for a new food project called Grow Wild. We already gather and use a lot of fruit from the parks and streets, and are interested to make creative things to gather the fruit or process it.

Creating a tree artwork for a friend’s wedding, and more to come, and your ideas are very welcome.

Pinterest and Tumblr will be used to collect ideas and images, and Bridget will also create a book using the Bookleteer application. This will help to spread ideas for actions further afield.

Unextinction Machine art in Nunhead Open

You can find work by the Unextinction Machine artists in the Nunhead Open exhibition this weekend (7-9 September 2012). This is in the Old Community Centre, Nunhead Lane. Brian McKenzie’s Bosci can be found in a dark cave, where you can create shadows for him with torches and help him meditate on the objects he has collected that fascinate him (including his treasured photo of his mum and dad).

Megan McKenzie has created an unfolding digital work called ‘Puss Person’, which explores the animal nature of the human face.

Bridget McKenzie is showing a photograph called Imagine Wolf.

Please come along, and enjoy all the other work by children and adults from the community.