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Aaron Williamson is the recipient of the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary for 2010. He begins a residency at Spike Island, Bristol on 3 February 2010. His blog will cover his work-in-progress over the next 12 weeks. Aaron has been making performances internationally for more than 15 years.

Marie-Anne McQuay, Curator has a few words to say about Aaron Williamson's escape from Spike Island

20 May 2010

Blog

shepherd struck by meteors drawing

As this is Aaron Williamson’s last missive from his residency on the Island of Spike, I am stepping out of his third person narrative and addressing you, the blog reader, directly. I can now confirm that everything he has relayed thus far – even his outlandish claim to have forged a bowl from meteorite – is true. Although his proposal to remodel Spike Island as a feminist Utopia has yet to come to pass. That, I hope, is just a matter of time. Whilst both The Affligare Unit and...

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Shape Director Tony Heaton reflects, as the dust settles on this, the third Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary.

19 May 2010

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Photo of a hand holding a lump of rock from a meteorite

For Shape, setting up and negotiating this annual event is a challenging but hugely rewarding activity. The call for Artist submissions, pulling together the decision-making panel, the increasingly harder job of selecting the winner from a growing number of applications; the negotiating with venues and also raising all the funds to make it happen. Of course when it all comes together it is a great relief and a fantastic pleasure. The thing you can never control or predict is the nature of the...

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Aaron Williamson signs off with the Feral 4

19 May 2010

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black and white photo of 4 performers posing as the Beatles

This is the final posting for this blog. My time at Spike Island on the Adam Reynolds bursary has been immensely rewarding and productive. Far more than I’d anticipated. The sculpture work particularly took me a long way out of my comfort zone as an artist and challenged me to think about new ways of working. It particularly got me thinking about how to frame work in a way that’s innovative rather than presumptive. I’ve had to consider how art situates itself and takes place...

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Aaron Williamson's new retrospective of videos/films and sculpture installation is at Spike Island from 30 April

14 April 2010

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photo of artist in studio

In addition to the new sculptural installation that I’m currently working on, Spike Island’s curator Marie-Anne McQuay is also staging a retrospective selection of my video/documentation together with films by the Disabled Avant-Garde, 15mm Films and two video works by Katherine Araniello. These will be exhibited on a large screen projection in one of the two enormous galleries downstairs on a showreel, lasting up to 90 minutes. Trying to avoid sounding immodest, this will be a key...

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Aaron Williamson explains the 17th Century Glimmerers, Dummerers, Whipjacks

12 April 2010

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photo of art objects

On the Subject of Begging The association of begging with disability is very well-established and so, almost equally, is the counterfeit claim of ‘sturdy beggars’ who impersonate disability in order to maximise their takings. Indeed, there is a branch of literature (representing a decidedly reactionary outlook) that claims many ‘crippled beggars’ to be not only bogus but, in fact, secretly wealthy; accumulating much more money through playing on the public’s...

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Aaron Williamson explores stories about disability and money...

9 April 2010

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In the course of this project – which, roughly, is about the interface between begging for money and worshipping meteorites for their being lucky bringer-ons of ‘pennies from heaven’ – I’ve recalled, or been told, darkly amusing, rueful stories about disability and money. Firstly though, a bit of background theory. Historically, receiving charity has been overwhelmingly the most prominent source of monetary gain for disabled people. Most charity advertising (even...

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The Disabled Avant-Garde record some ‘institutional classics’ - check them out now on their website!

24 March 2010

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two performance artists on stage in strange gothic style makeup and clothes

From Iron Aaron to Iron Man I have described some of the Disabled Avant-Garde’s recent japes and dodges in making our new film in previous blog posts. In the meantime, before ‘No Room at the Igloo’ is completed, Katherine and Oriana Fox have edited and posted all ten of the songs we performed at the Bluecoat in Liverpool last November as ‘The Top Ten Institutional Classics’. One of these must have been a premonition of my current endeavours as it consists in the...

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Iron Aaron continues with the task of smelting down a 2kg lump of meteorite into a bowl

19 March 2010

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shows a metal bowl with interlocking 'A' symbols in the centre

Last week I was back in London on the Monday when I received a series of dramatic texts from Spike Island’s Marie-Anne McQuay and David Martin. Mike at the Foundry had called to say that the porringer would have to be cast as soon as possible since he expected that the incredible amount of heat required to smelt the very dense iron (denser and heavier than any earth metal) would be ready in the crucible in an hour’s time but probably not again. And so the erstwhile Spike Island...

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Aaron Wiliamson goes in pursuit of the Affligare

6 March 2010

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shows a crucible full of molten metal in the middle of a foundry

After posting the last blog I went to visit the Bristol Foundry to talk with Mike Brett about smelting and recasting my 2kg meteorite into a bowl purportedly used for begging by a tribe of medieval crips (‘The Affligare’ – see previous post). It sounded even to me like a bizarre proposition and Mike wasn’t at all sure that the whole meteorite iron might not just evaporate back into the ether it came out of, since he’d never worked with – or even seen –...

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Aaron Williamson suggests the establishment of an independent art state on Spike Island, Bristol

25 February 2010

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photo of building

This is my 4th week as the Adam Reynolds Bursarist at Spike Island and whereas the actual business of making things has still to be attended to, I think the work is coming into focus. More on this later, but first a description of / homage to Spike Island. It actually is an island being a thin strip of land about a mile long with bridges at either end taking you over to ‘the mainland’ and it is also – roughly - in the shape of a harpoon spike. Once over the small footbridge...

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Disabled Avant-Garde at Royal Festival Hall

18 February 2010

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black and white photo of two performance artists

On Monday I was back at the Royal Festival Hall with Katherine Araniello working undercover as the Disabled Avant-Garde to make more footage for our upcoming film ‘No Room at the Igloo’ – soon to be released on YouTube. We were accompanied by our small crew of volunteers – Abby and Eliza, (erstwhile Fine Art students and brilliant non-actors from Byam Shaw); and Oriana and Marja who did shifts on the DAG camera – a wee pink thing that conveniently looks like you...

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Week 2: Aaron Williamson blogs his residency at Spike Island, Bristol

10 February 2010

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hand holding a lump of black rock

The mystery material According to the editor of DAO this blog has a decent sized readership stretching into double figures now and my previous promise to reveal the ‘mystery material’ that I’ll be fashioning sculptures from has not been forgotten. If I’d only ran a guessing competition then any manner of prize might have safely been proffered without danger of it being claimed... A few weeks ago I bought a job lot of rusted meteorite iron from a dealer in Alaska who gets...

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Week 1: Aaron Williamson blogs his Residency at Spike Island Bristol

3 February 2010

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artist launches himself against a white wall with windows above

Arriving to a large, completely empty studio lit by an overhead skylight I had to immediately think about how to become its occupier for the next 12 weeks as an artist. Working largely through performance I’m not emphatically a studio artist – wherever I hang my hat normally suffices – but I’m aware of the cultural idea of the artist’s studio and what it means and represents to others. During performance art's highwater period in the late 60s/70s, the notion of art...

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