11 October 2012

participation // a journey to higher intellect

(i hope)

Since moving house my journey to and from work has become delightfully shorter yet frustratingly bit-y; I often find myself missing the 40 minute train journey I used to make twice a day that saw me race through books like wildfire. In my continuous (and generally so far unsuccessful) attempts to become more cultured, intelligent and generally fabulous, I've decided to 1) ensure I make the time on a regular basis to read (TOWIE can wait) and 2) work my way through some books that will actually open my mind and get my little grey cells working again.

I'm a great fan of contemporary art; I guess, if I had a 'specialist area' it would be art since-1950. Many people find contemporary art to be difficult to understand and engage with - I like it because I think it aims for exactly the opposite. I picked this little beaut up at the weekend on a bit of a whim. Part of the Whitechapel Gallery's Documents of Contemporary Art series it 'explores the desire to move viewers out of the role of passive observers and into the role of producers'. Editor Claire Bishop brings together writings from critics, curators and artists around the concept of participation within contemporary art and whilst some of the names (Barthes, Eco, Bourriaud) may incite the age-old I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND IT-fear, the 195 page-count does something to calm the fear whimpering inside me.

I actually managed to read the introduction by Bishop herself all in one go on the train the other day. Already, after just a couple of pages, I could feel the cogs moving, the rust crumbling and my brain building stamina as it moved from crawling to jogging back into gear.

Having now made a significant dent in the first of the readings, I am beginning to comprehend the complex nuances between the terms 'open' and 'closed' work, and the variant levels of participation an author can encourage. Whilst Sol LeWitt left detailed instructions for recreating his line works so that, despite who recreated them, they would always be identical to his original piece, Damien Hirst tells those creating 'his' spot paintings that the spots must be of equal size and distance with no discernible pattern - but leaves exact colour and sequence (or, rather, lack of one) up to them. With Hirst we see aspects of collaboration, a form of participation. Some artists take this concept further, and begin to create co-producers out of spectators to their work. Anything involving this element of creativity and input on from a person (or people) separate from the artist opens up the possibility for numerous different outcomes. How could you not love work that is unpredictable, fleeting and ever-changing?

It's nothing groundbreaking, but I'm enjoying it. I'll keep you updated. Plus, how cute is the series?!-

On 'participation': 'this apparatus is better, the more consumers it is able to turn into producers - that is, the more readers or spectators into collaborators' - Walter Benjamin

09 October 2012

veggie haven // a not-at-all-unbiased review of tibits

tibits is absolute veggie heaven. It's like a pick'n'mix for vegetarians and vegans alike where you have a world of pulses, tofu and vegetables at your fingertips. I'm not even going to pretend like I'm looking at my recent trip to tibits in a critical light. I'm not. I'm writing about it as an out-and-out advocate, a shout-from-the-rooftops fan.

I've been vegetarian since I was 10 and 4 years ago my mum became vegan. When I'm at home I pretty much eat a vegan diet. Except for that time last Easter when I bought a family-size bar of green and blacks and decimated in in 5 minutes. And did the same thing the next two days running. But we don't talk about that. I also pretty much never have dairy, eggs or honey at my own place either so it's only really when I'm out that I'm unable to resist the temptation of cheese in all it's cheesey splendor.

Sunday I met a friend for some dinner. She's just got back from travelling and, since her return, is trying out being vegan. Obviously I suggested tibits. Any excuse really.

Sometimes I go and eat whatever I want, sometimes I go and only eat the vegan offerings. This time, I went vegan. And boy did I go all out. Situated in the Food Quarter on Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, tibits is a little sanctuary amongst the hustle and bustle of central London. The food is set out like a buffet; you take a plate, pile it with what you want and take it to the counter to pay. You pay for how much it weighs, so if you're feeling a light lunch, you only pay for a light lunch. Pretty sweet.

The falafel is SO GOOD. I'm fairly certain it's what chickpeas aim for in life. In an attempt to be vaguely professional, I'm not going to lie, the quinoa salad let me down. Coriander is one of the worst ingredients known to man and ranks right up there with fennel - the of-the-moment but oh-so-grim herb-y devil - on my list of Things I Want to Banish to the Fiery Pits of Hell. Basically, it had coriander in it. Vom.

We both had a freshly-made juice, a good chin-wag, and a delicious meal. I honestly think if you're fairly open to eating (or at least trying) beans and pulses tibits is a place for everyone. Every time I go I leave with a happy tummy, a happy heart and a happy head because hey, sometimes it just feels nice knowing you had a completely cruelty-free meal.

Essentially, it's freaking awesome. Go. Eat. Enjoy.

08 October 2012

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

I like art, fashion, make-up and food. This blog is about to prove that.

It's going to take me a (long) while to get this all up and running; in the mean time, enjoy this-