Friday 22 July 2011

Slime Scene Investigations

Owen is calling this my 'murder tent' but luckily the neighbours I share the garden with see it as 'nurturing'.

Hoping to grow algae mostly... for my molluscs... then hang the pictures willy-nilly on quiet walls

Very glad to have finally found a suitable use for the horrid gold frames purchased from Ex-Hotel Furniture for £1.50 a pop which hve been taking up valuable real-eatate in the studio for four years like city commuters whose only interaction with their new village is to hire a cleaner for not enough pay.

(Thought I'd be able to use them as the basis for some luscious paintings-as-commodities activity; cheap frames = better margins, but it just didn't work for me. Don't think it works that way for paintings at all. I mean, if you are going to spend your time making objects specifically to have monetary exchange value within an existing market, wouldn't you want to make something useful like ever-better prosthetics or a new kind of shoe that helps old people not to fall over in the snow?)

Thursday 21 July 2011

we know who you are because we can see where you've been

More of the little animalcules, and billions of 'em, moving furiously with their little paws like pissabeds being thrown against a wall, as dear old Granddaddy Leeuwenhoek might have said.

Look what they did to the Chrome Green! I think some of the paint here has been floating on top of their swarming and they seem to have carried it with them.

These are Simon Park's wonderful photographs.

Wednesday 20 July 2011



Ha! My paint is full of life!

photo Dr. Park.

A maze ing

More of the triangular Park-Serratia-Roberts collaboration. Such fun!

For the benefit of my dear fellow paint-nerds, the stripes from top to bottom go:

Serratia marcescens (bacteria)
Chromium Oxide Green
Cobalt Violet
Zinc White
Phthalo Green
Phthalo Blue
Cadmium Yellow hue (actually diarylide yellows, why don't they just say that? )
Chromobacterium violaceum (bacteria)

I put the paints I thought would be the most repulsive to my bacterial friends near the top to give the purple bacteria—which I've found to be a bit slower off the mark—a fighting chance. But no! I read that the green (Cr2O3) is mutagenic to bacteria and used medicinally as an anti-infective agent. But my Serratia have just been revelling in it. Partying like it was 1999. And then, some of my bacteria-friendly paints seem to have come ready-populated.

But I love how the red guys seem to have magically jumped over the nasty purple-white space into their green comfort zone. Simon reckons they "probably snook down the side between the agar and the petri dish, clever chaps."

I know they operate by chemotaxis but I'm fascinated by the scale of their sensing abilities. If you are only 2μm long, that thing a centimetre away is far far away. I'm jealous. It's as if I, starting at the bottom of Leith Walk, could simply sniff the air and realise that the Royal Mile has nothing to offer me and I'd have much more fun taking a detour via Arthur's Seat. Without ever having been to any of those places. If only my visitors could do that...

photos: Dr. Simon Park, Sarah Roberts.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

natural history unfolding

Well the glass surface was certainly popular with diners. Not much of the spreading paint around as they were more inclined just to devour everything methodically. But this is just a test piece anyway to see how it looks if they uncover their own natural history by their real-life actions.

I felt especially close to the dude whose enthusiastic gorging dyed her head red, watching me with one eye.

the pretensions of brushes

I know what they're up to, these brush makers. They needn't think they can pull the wool over my eyes.

They know we have magical relationships with our tools, and they know about the magical relationships between the naming of things and consequent powers of those things. They want to make us believe that if we buy their tools we get extra magical powers.

Simply by using the Van Gogh or Da Vinci brush I can summon their genius to come on down and inspire mine. In effect, I become what my paintbrush sez it is.

Do you know, I hate those Connoisseur brushes (a useful, mediocre sort of a brush) simply because I don't ever have any interest in seeing myself as a bleedin connoisseur.

A short, flat/bright fine hog, on the other hand, perhaps even university bright - now that is something to be. And the ultimate aspiration for us all must be to be a Renaissance Squirrel. though in reality I suspect Factory Second is all I will ever amount to .

Monday 4 July 2011

natural history

you can guess where I'm going with this, can't you.

rock art

How do little old ladies do graffiti then? It's important, sisters, these are our streets too. And we too own the spaces within which we move. We have to find a way of throwing in our own two-pennyworth! We have to fuck with them, all those visual shock-jocks and leg-cockers, the ad-men, taggers, patriarchal council-people, land-owners, car-worshippers and anyone in general who clothes their insecurity by peppering the public arena with visual demonstrations of their dominance and wish to control by force.

A small quiet start here on the Eastern Breakwater. Some very circular circles as a marker of a definite human action and a watery solution of everybody's-favourite-skimmed-milk-powder and a bit of Baby Bio. Who will use this and how is anybody's guess, likewise whether anything gets a chance to before it gets washed off...

Other recipes for encouraging lichen include cow dung in human urine, pro-biotic youghurt, porridge and beer. Some recommend putting a layer of p.v.a. down first, though I'm not sure about this putting plastic everywhere. Though of course it is only a matter of time before something evolves that will happily munch away on our long-chain hydrocarbons all day without getting sick.

everybody likes paint

Lichen on paint on the big slabs of granite of Granton Eastern Breakwater. Presumably somebody painting their boat one day left this nice blue souvenir.