Monday 27 June 2011

later still

Another night, another bite. This time repainted with the coloured veggie mashes mixed with skimmed milk powder (everybody's favourite) , gum arabic (oh yes, actual paint) and Herman friendship cake dough (full of wild yeasts).

So here we have the guests arriving promptly for dinner, and a lovely homage to Van Gogh.

Note the decided preference for the paint over the delicious bit of cucumber. Now I'm not doing these cross-species collaborations for vindication of my own practice as a painter-in-watercolours at a time when it was neither popular nor profitable, but I must say I'm pleased about it.

Saturday 25 June 2011

serious grown-up work

More scribbly fun responses to the marvellous and generously shared work of Howard C. Berg et al. This is 'Swarming Serratia marcescens', again, tracing the paths of individual bacteria.
About three seconds of the film here, took me a day.

The background—or substrate as I like to think of it—if you're interested, is a cannibalism of a thing I made playing with Shiori and a stethoscope, which I couldn't use for anything else because it just looked like a watery plagiarism of Juan Usle's work, no surprises there as he paints to the rythmn of his heartbeat.

Friday 24 June 2011


Now we wait... I'm hoping these will establish different zones of bacteria, algae, and fungae.

I'm looking for a modern take on our national anthem, Ilkley Moor bar-t'at: "Then slugs shall come and ate up microbes..." at which point a hedgehog or similar edible species could be introduced into the food chain, eventually allowing me in a round-about way to eat my own paintings, which of course is what every painter really wants more than anything.

No I'm not, that's a lie. Actually all I want is to have some nice gentle take-it-or-leave-it interactions with whoever is up for it.


I think they are Limacus flavus. And very nice. I am enjoying their unhurried itinerant curiosity and their calm voraciousness. Have completely got over the overnight decimation of the job-lot of marigolds I got from B&Q last year which were supposed to cheer up the shared drying green but just made it look like a Paul Nash painting.

They liked the oatmeal so much they took some of the top of the paper off while they were at it. So next time more protein, more starches, complex carbohydrates for my molluscy friends.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

drawing with slugs

Thought it was high time for another sluggy collaboration. This is some nice watercolour paper painted with carrot, beetroot and red pepper juices, also macerated spinach, oatmeal, honey and turmeric.

I put the picture out in the yard at 11.00 p.m. , people started turning up at around midnight.

Saturday 18 June 2011

dark matters

More of this paintings to be seen in the dark lark.

Monsters, memories, microbes, maths, the mysteries of the universe, manual workers... I want to talk about things that are hidden, invisible, overlooked, all those important things that you may be happy to address sometimes but generally find a bit scary-please-get-that-out-of-my-face.

Now you know me, it's not my style to go around epater-ing the bourgeoisie and all that, (if I wanted to do that I'd have gone into pensions, hit 'em where it hurts). None of that nonsense for me, thanks! This way you get to find these things for yourself in your own good time, using your own hand-eye gestural activities. ("It's interactive.... got a button you can push!")

Thursday 9 June 2011


Ha! Course it's not data. As you have probably gathered by now, dear friends, data is what I think other people do, and very nice in its place, but not for me, thanks. No, this is Natural History, if it's anything.

I'm following the activity of individual bacteria at the edge of a thinned-out swarm of E. coli on an agar slip. This is "12 seconds at the swarm edge" and is a kind of transcript of video sm05 published in a paper by Yilin Wu, Basarab G. Hosu and Howard C. Berg.

In this case, I'm just following the paths the bacteria take, but there's more, so much more in Wu et al's grainy grey fountains of delight...

showing off

Here in a gallery setting, some of Simon Park's nice photos and my paper thing talking about bacteria-in-the-world doing their thing and humans likewise.

Looking very posh in their white frames. (Although posh is exactly what I have a problem with as what you gain in attractiveness you lose by alienation.

"Why should I pay any attention to you?" you ask
"Because I'm Posh"... it's not a very good answer is it, though it is still standard issue for western culture.
My beef is that it makes everything so horribly ad hominem, steers the conversation away from what actually is interesting and what might start out as genuine enquiry into the whats-going-on-here-then gets trampled by the tired old choreography of performances of authority and dominence. So we start out having a fun chat and end up talking about nothing but who's the bleedin' Daddy.

"Why on earth are you dipping your toes into this murky can of worms at this hour of the day, when it is clear you are going to do nothing more than trot out a couple of personal platitudes and wander off on a new half-formed itinerant rant?" I hear you ask.
But of course you know the answer, don't you, I'm avoiding doing something else. It's breakfast-avoidance, in this case.)