Stations of the Cross project – update

Stations of the whatnow? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my original blog post here. Don’t have time to read two whole blog posts right now? Well here’s a quick reminder:

Stations of the Cross is an exhibition currently taking place “across 14 iconic locations in London, using works of art to tell the story of the Passion in a new way, for people of different faiths”

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have been making a short series of videos documenting the progress of artist Michael Takeo Magruder in creating and installing his piece for the 13th Station, Lamentation for the Forsaken (scroll down to ‘Station 13’ to read about it and listen to a podcast where Michael talks about how he conceived and developed the work).

Originally I had planned to create seven videos altogether, but the first four seemed to capture the whole journey so nicely I felt that finishing with the work in situ was a good place to conclude the series .

You don’t have to be a church regular to appreciate the interesting and provocative works of art currently on display, so if you haven’t caught it yet go and take a peek before the exhibition ends on Easter Monday.

Watch the videos (yes I’m going to keep on politely insisting)

Don’t have time to get down to London? Or maybe you’ve checked out the exhibition and are dying to know about that awesome installation at St Stephens? Watch all four videos on the Coexist House website here.


More information

Find out more information about the artists, works and locations here where you’ll also be able to listen to podcasts featuring conversations with the artists about their work, and find links to a map of all the venues and an app you can download to help you navigate the Stations trail. The exhibition opens tonight and will run for the duration of Lent (until 28 March) – more information about related events here.

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Analysing story structure with small folks today

Using Frozen as an example, I asked my youngest afternoon group at PQA what messages they thought the film was trying to send its audience:
“Don’t fall out with your sister”
“Don’t trust men” …then after some debate…
“Don’t trust bad men”
“Don’t trust someone you’ve only just met”
“Don’t hide who you really are”
“Love can thaw a frozen heart” (cue lots of ‘”aw”s)
“Don’t take snowmen outside in summer” (there’s always one)

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Stations of the Cross project

It’s always fun to have something new to get one’s teeth stuck into, and at the moment I am in the process of producing a series of short videos – vignettes if you will – to document the progress of artist Michael Takeo Magruder as he produces a new artwork for Coexist House‘s Stations of the Cross exhibition. If you aren’t familiar with Coexist House:

“Coexist House will be a new global centre in the heart of London for transforming public understanding about the practices and perspectives of the world’s religions, promoting better, more peaceful, relationships across divides”
“…reaching out to people of all faiths and none

Stations of the Cross is an exhibition that will take place “across 14 iconic locations in London, using works of art to tell the story of the Passion in a new way, for people of different faiths” (if – like mine did – your knowledge of the 14 stations needs brushing up a bit, brush away here)

The artwork: Lamentation for the Forsaken

Michael was commissioned to create an artwork for the 13th station, in which Christ’s body is taken down from the cross. His work, Lamentation for the Forsaken, “offers a lamentation not only for the forsaken Christ, but others who have felt his acute pain of abandonment.  In particular, Takeo evokes the memory of Syrians who have passed away in the present conflict, weaving their names and images into a contemporary Shroud of Turin”

If you want to know more, you’re going to have to…

Watch the videos

In my video series, I am documenting the entire process of the creation and exhibition of this work. The first three videos, Context, Research and Production, are available to view here.

  1. Context – Michael’s ideas and inspiration for the work
  2. Research – gathering data to form the various elements of the work
  3. Production – constructing the artwork
  4. Installation – installing the work at St Stephen Walbrook
  5. Curation – a conversation with curator Dr Aaron Rosen
  6. Conversation – conversations with other artists involved in the project
  7. Reflection – final thoughts on the exhibition

Don’t want to leave the cosy comfort of this blog? Here’s the first video to give you a taste:

Arriving at Station XIII – 1. Context from Emma Puente on Vimeo.

More information

Find out more information about the artists, works and locations here where you’ll also be able to listen to podcasts featuring conversations with the artists about their work, and find links to a map of all the venues and an app you can download to help you navigate the Stations trail. The exhibition opens tonight and will run for the duration of Lent (until 28 March) – more information about related events here.

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Documentary – Every Child Is An Artist: Digital Arts

Every Child is an Artist

At the end of last year I was one of a group of artists taking part in Every Child Is An Artist, a project created by Mercurial Dance which aims to develop the skills, ability and imagination of all the children at Oasis Academy Hobmoor (check out this post about what I got up to).

Filmmaker Jamie Sergeant has made a video documenting the digital arts phase of the project, in which you can hear us talking about the kind of work we did with the children, and see some examples of what they made. Here it is for your viewing pleasure!

Every Child Is An Artist: Digital Arts from Mercurial Dance on Vimeo.

Visit our page on the Oasis Hobmoor Blog to see what the children have been making; this term they are focusing on visual arts.

Spring Term activities

This term I am continuing to work on a couple of projects at Oasis Hobmoor; I am still working with the Hobmoor TV crew, a small group who report on events and happenings at the school. See our broadcasts here!

I am also working with a group of year 3 and 4 students on Tuesday afternoons who are making some short films to document and promote learning activities at the school – their videos will be posted soon so watch this space!

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Every Child is an Artist project

This term I have been one of a small group of artists working with pupils at Oasis Hobmoor Academy, Birmingham as part of the Every Child is an Artist project, an initiative led by Oliver Scott of Mercurial Dance which seeks to uncover and nurture the innate creativity and potential artist in every child. We have been exploring a variety of art forms including animation, dance, augmented reality and getting creative with electronics. The school has a really forward-thinking approach to arts and technology, housing an ‘Innovation Studio’ complete with greenscreen capabilities as well as iPads for every year group.

I have been working with years 2, 3 and 4 using basic video and animation iPad apps to introduce them to some of the basic concepts and to learn by ‘doing’, giving them simple exercises and projects to help them on their learning journey. We started out using Vine as it’s a great introduction to making and sharing short videos (I’m sure you can imagine how happy they were to make a Vine of however many silly faces they could pull in six seconds!) We then got into some stop motion using I Can Animate, and just before half term we began our meanderings into Comic Life and iMovie. Here’s a blog post describing the first three weeks of the project.

Animating drawings with I Can Animate on iOS

Animating drawings with I Can Animate on iOS

Extra curricular funtimes

We are also running after school clubs for those who are interested in doing more with the art forms on offer during the school day. I run the after school film and animation club on Wednesdays for year 5, and two weeks ago Oliver and I began training a small group to become Hobmoor’s own TV crew who will be reporting on events around the school – looking forward to seeing their reports!

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Documenting the Apocalypse

Even if threatened with an impending apocalypse I don’t think I’d get it together to get these blog posts out in a more timely fashion… still, better to be doing than writing about doing eh?

Late last year artist extraordinaire Michael Takeo Magruder had an awesome solo show entitled De/coding the Apocalypse at Somerset House, Kings College London. The exhibition was a fascinating look at our continued fascination with the idea of the apocalypse and exploring the Book of Revelations’ prophecies in the context of a modern, science and technology-driven society. There’s a good interview about it here.

For those who weren’t able to make the show, fear not! I recently started putting together some short videos documenting each of the installations, the first two of which are available to view below – they feature video footage from myself and a few snippets from a short documentary piece by, as well as photographs by Jana Chiellino and David Steele. Enjoy, more coming soon…

A New Jerusalem from Michael Takeo Magruder on Vimeo.

The Horse as Technology from Michael Takeo Magruder on Vimeo.

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Still here!

So I went off the grid for a while there, sorry about that… a few weeks ago I hooked up with my pal (and far superior blogger) Stu, the mind behind London street art blog Inspiring City, and he quite rightly gave me some grief for not updating this page more often. So here I is!

Video doings

PQA  recently had red carpet events for both the AM and PM academies in January – these events are screenings of all of the video work that the students had produced over the past year (I mostly spent the Christmas break editing furiously) and so we got dressed up for the ‘premiere’ and the kids got to show their friends and families all their hard work. I also produced DVDs for both screenings (it was going to be blu-rays, but I guess most people still don’t have the tech yet), so that they will always have a memento of the time that they harassed bemused parents with vox pops, or got killed by ghosts/zombies.  It’s not always easy putting projects together with these guys but I’m often impressed by their knowledge, instincts and abilities, especially among the younger groups – I reckon there are a few stars in the making there!

In the autumn half term I also did another wave with NCS The Challenge, who are always really fun to work with and do great projects with young people – hopefully I’ll be doing some more with them in the summer.

Non-video doings

I haven’t been very active on here lately because recently I’ve been putting more of my energies into non-video projects – I’m currently living in the movie ‘The Money Pit’ and have been renovating a house for a year (look I’m rubbish at DIY and I can’t get over there very often alright), thankfully on the home stretch with this now (I hope? Please?) and I am looking forward to having some semblance of my life back… So yeah. Video producer, gardener, painter and decorator, many strings to my bow.

I’ve also started getting back into writing. I’d had an idea for a novel in my head for the longest time – to the point where I started dreaming about the characters – so although it may never leave my hard drive let alone make me a fortune, I’ve had to get it from brain to page for the sake of my sanity. There’s still a long way to go with it, but I’m enjoying writing it even though I don’t really know if I’m going about it the right way… Like Bruce Lee, mine is ‘the style of no style’. I’ve done a few other short stories and poems (with the exception of Blake I hated poetry at school, go figure) so another blog is in the works for my literary ramblings; will post the link when I deem it sufficiently presentable!


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