Zanna Gilbert: Curator

Friday, 12 August 2011

David Horvitz event at firstsite March 2011































Mail from jail...imprisoned for graffiti




This is a letter from a young man in Wellingborough Prison to the exhibition Intimate Bureaucracies, earlier this year:

'I'm currently serving a 26 month sentence for painting graffiti on walls adjacent to train tracks. You can only appreciate the specious nature of the British justive system once you've been at the sharp end...How many people are on indeterminate sentences for relatively minor crimes, how many people are on remand (essentially guilty until proven otherwise) for non-violent crimes, and how the whole prison system is awash with class A drugs. Only this morning I looked down from the landing outside my cell to see someone sat on the pool table sprinkling brown powder into their cigarette.

My experience of criminality previous to jail was limited to smoking cannabis as a teenager and climbing fences to paint graffiti. I now know how to rob securicor vans, convert firearms and cut cocaine...luckily for society (and myself!) I'm not easily led!

I can't think of a situation where postal correspondence is more important, especially in maintaining my relationship with the girl I love. Visits are so forced, you sit in this horrible room opposite one another and then turn on the conversation tap until the screw cuts it short - with letters you have time to think, time to express yourself - it's the most genuine interaction jail affords.

I've received hundreds, possibly a thousand letters in the last 8 months - from people I haven't seen for 10 years, even people I've never met before. I've received a letter every week from my dad whereas outside we struggle to speak more than once a year. I've received holographic postcards from Peru and mysterious blank postcards bearing a New York postal mark. I've received letters that have made me anxious for a month and ones that have made me happy for the last 8...

Anyway if you'd like to write to me, I'd be very happy...My address is: Samuel M A7185AV, HMP Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN8 2NH...


Monday, 14 March 2011

Pose Your Question - David Horvitz in Conversation at firstsite


David Horvitz will be in conversation at firsite on Wednesday 16th March, 6.30pm to talk about his work and his project Some Cut Flowers.

Horvitz will answer questions posed by worldwide participants randomly selected.
If you would like to propose a question for Horvitz, please email me: sgilbe@essex.ac.uk

The audience will also have the opportunity to take part in a mailing project - Send Someone Else a Flower, etc.

We would love to see you there!

Booking essential as places are limited: email info@firstsite.uk.net or call 01206 577067
Confirm your attendence on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=207384142609402

16th March, 6.30pm
firstsite 4-6 Short Wyre Street Colchester Essex CO1 1LN

As part of the exhibition programme for Intimate Bureaucracies: Art and the Mail, we are very lucky to have a visit from artist David Horvitz, who has created a mailing project especially for the exhibition. Some Cut Flowers is a mailing project in which David sends individual flowers in plastic water bottles from the United States to the exhibition on a daily basis. Due to customs regulations controlling the import and export of fresh cut flowers, it is possible that some of the flowers will be confiscated. But this is Horvitz’s intention - the flowers are meant as gift for the customs officials, not their ostensible destination.

Horvitz thinks of the container of the flowers as a carrier 'moving through the global transport infrastructure', but points out that 'the flower is a carrier too - to customs, as a carrier of pests, disease and potential hazards, but to the sender - a carrier of sentiment, affection, love.' The project is growing as the exhibition continues - the flowers that arrive, the emails and photos Horvitz sends every day and the customs slips that arrive without their packages are all on display. So far several of the bottles have arrived, but we have also received a flimsy customs slip without the accompanying bottle.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Martin Herraiz Composition/Performance - Can you help?


Brazilian composer Martin Herraiz has written a piece of music especially for Send Me a Flower, etc. -Invertible/Subvertible/Pervertible. Herraiz has left both the realisation of the piece and the 'three melodic instruments' used to play it to chance, saying 'depending on the obvious bureaucratics involved in getting any piece of new music performed, the work itself may or may not happen. you may end up with just the recipe, that is, the score, which is of course not the preferred method of fruition for any piece of music, but hopefully it still makes a point about the process'.

Herraiz's participation in the project also shows the ways that exhibiting a composition (as an artwork?) 'carries a potentiality for multiple significations that goes far beyond what it would ever be able to transmit as a "concert piece".

It would be wonderful to try and organise a performance of Herraiz's piece for the closing party - whether at the University of Essex or virtually (a recording posted to Youtube?). Can anyone help? I would love to hear from you if you think you can. You can email me at sgilbe@essex.ac.uk.

See the top of the page to download the composition.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Bureaucracy: Artist's Book by Franklin Valverde


I came across this on an artist's book blog today. 'Bureaucracy' by Franklin Valverde. It is a really good example of how artists using rubber stamping are able to completely subvert the in-built rationality of their medium, turning a bureaucratic means into a beautiful end.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

David Horvitz: Some Cut Flowers

David Horvitz has been commissioned by firstsite to create a new work for the exhibition. Some Cut Flowers is a mailing project in which David is sending individual flowers in plastic water bottles from the United States to the exhibition on a daily basis. Due to customs regulations controlling the import and export of fresh cut flowers, it is possible that some of the flowers will be confiscated. But this is Horvitz’s intention - the flowers are meant as gift for the customs officials, not their ostensible destination. As you can see, some of the flowers have arrived unhindered, but yesterday I received just the customs slip and no bottle. Hopefully that means we have a happy customs officer out there somewhere. David Horvitz will give a talk on Wednesday 16th March 2011, more details to follow.


I’ll be posting photos of flowers and you can view a PDF (on this blog in the Downloads section) made by David that he will add to every few days. You can sign up to receive the daily emails containing a photo of the flower that David sends before posting the flowers by email me at sgilbe@essex.ac.uk until March 26th.






The customs slip that arrived yesterday, without its accompanying bottled flower.

The lost rose.


Monday, 28 February 2011

Intimate Bureaucracies Site 3: Jann Marson's Bedroom



The most recent incarnation of Intimate Bureaucracies: Art and the Mail has taken place in Fulbright Scholar Jann Marson's bedroom.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Intimate Bureaucracies - Opening Night


James Barnard putting the finishing touches to the installation.

Lovely flowers given to me by Art Exchange Director, Jess Kenny, become part of the exhibition.


Che Kevlin.

Milena Galli, designer, and Joanne Harwood, Director of UECLAA (University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art).

Sarah Demelo, UECLAA.

Priscilla Bushinelli, James Barnard and Sarah Demelo.

Jess Kenny, Zanna Gilbert.

David Horvitz, Some Cut Flowers.



Drawing envelopes on the paving slabs.

Milena Galli's poster for the exhibition.





Zanna Gilbert, Milena Galli, Jess Kenny.

A nice man Milena and I met on the way home, looking at his copy of the Intimate Bureaucracies catalogue.
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