Testing Testing…

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A lot of fun (and just a few gremlins) at ALL HQ last week as we grappled with technology for our first live link between ALL friends and Committee members across the globe. We met to discuss plans for new projects, share ideas and pool resources beyond boundaries – exciting times! More soon…

Big thanks to Iberia Perez in Puerto Rica, Susi Gutierrez in Cornwall and Sara Lerota in Mostar who joined us via live link, and Simon Macuh who listened in from Slovenia and Elisa Vladilo who connected from Trieste. Many thanks also to Anglia Ruskin University and especially Veronique Chance for setting up the conference call and to committee members Catherine Cleary, Rebecca Ilett, Rosemary Catling and Olga Plocienniczak who took part in Cambridge.

ALL Change!

Dear Friends
We’re pleased to announce that after much discussion we’ve decided to restructure Art Language Location and refocus away from our festival approach to a project-based series of events and activities. Whilst it will be a wrench to move away from our traditional October slot and formula of extended exhibition plus symposium, we’re also really excited by the prospect of fresh challenges and some more agile and responsive artwork interventions around Cambridge – and elsewhere…?

It has been five years of fantastic festival fun. Art Language Location has been a wonderful experience so far, connecting over 200 artists with around 100 locations across Cambridge and beyond, and we’re hugely grateful to all our sponsors, supporters, location holders and above all our lovely artists for bringing so much creativity to Cambridge.

So whilst you wait to hear more as we regroup, reorganise and relaunch, take a look at some of the highlights from ALL2016 – another great video from the masterful Jonnie Howard. Thanks for the memories, and here’s to the future!

ALL will be bringing you more news of our new projects and collaborations – watch this space!

Robert Good and the ALL Committee

Banner picture credit: Annamaria Kardos, Until Further Notice, ALL2016

That’s ALL Folks

It’s time to hang up our curatorial hats and head for winter as we say goodbye to this year’s ALL. Many thanks to everyone who has helped make it happen – artists, location holders, sponsors, supporters, committee members and visitors – it has been a great opportunity to welcome so much art to Cambridge and we have enjoyed it all.

We will continue to post snippets of interest, pics and updates. In particular, don’t miss a video documentary about ALL by the wonderful Jonnie Howard that will be aired on Cambridge TV soon (details via social media in due course), and we hope to have some great footage from our closing Big Draw event to share as well.

But for now we leave you with a closing portfolio of fab photos by our roving photographer Josh Murfitt as he sought out this year’s work. Thanks Josh!

If you have any feedback, thoughts or comments for the future, please do let us know.

Very best wishes

Robert Good and the ALL Committee

 

Out and About

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Sarah Coggrave – Letters from Astra at Oxfam Bookshop

There’s still time to catch some of the intriguing, entertaining and thought-provoking ALL artworks around town as we head into the final week of this year’s festival. Walking seems to be a big theme this year, with Kenji Lim, Laura Denning and Sally Stenton all offering you a chance to engage differently with your routes through Cambridge, whilst Elena Cologni invites you to join her for a nomadic conversation about place attachment and parenthood.

Don’t forget you can download our free app (search for ALL2016) to help you plan your journey and alert you to nearby nuggets. And this Saturday 29th you can join Robert Good on a guided tour of work around Anglia Ruskin University as part of Cambridge Festival of Ideas – click here to book.

In the meantime, take a look at some photos from events earlier this week…

Friends of Kettle’s Yard Walk

A very good afternoon organised by Derek Matravers and Friends of Kettle’s Yard. We started at the hoardings of Kettle’s Yard and made a linear walk via Museum of Cambridge to Scruffs, Oxfam and ARU, ending up at The Tram Depot for a well-earned half.

Meanwhile in Bloomsbury…

Very good to catch up with ALL2015 artists Nick Gear and Jeremy Dixon. Nick gave a very interesting talk about the role of walking in his work, whilst Jeremy lead a wonderful found poetry and micro-book workshop. Robert Good created a trail of bookworks around Goodenough College – with particular thanks to Laura at Plurabelle Books, Cambridge for the generous loan of some great books, and thanks to Liz Murton and DJ Roberts for joining us on the day.

Artwork after dark

It is well worth staying out a bit later in order to catch two after-dark artworks. Sally Stenton is running a particularly striking projection in the central courtyard of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, whilst Rosanna Greaves‘ gold leaf canopy comes to life at night.

And finally…

Some of our ALL artwork is by its very nature ephemeral and easy-to-miss. So if you didn’t manage to see Annamarie Kardos’ portable sign, here it is for you in her lovely video  documentation of the event:

ShowTime! Shootout

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Tom Hackett makes no attempt to save from Julian Woodcock

Big thanks to everyone who helped make our annual ALL Showtime! event such a success this year. We had a great day of performances, discussions and all-round artfulness.

Particular thanks to the lovely Tom Hackett for taking the trouble to write a review of the day – head over to a-n to read his report.

Finally, take a look at our ShowTime! Photo Album below – some great shots by Matthew White and Sandra Martins.

Book Now for ShowTime!

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Nadja Daehnke – autobiographies

The Box Office is now officially open for our annual Showtime! symposium and day of performances which will take place on Saturday 15th October at Anglia Ruskin University.

This will be your chance to engage directly with ALL artists and artworks through our programme of talks, performances and discussions, moderated this year by our guest speaker, curator Tom Morton. Tom will lead discussions about the artwork and talk about his experiences as a curator of events such as The British Art Show.

Highlights include a performance by Ana Mendes, a remote interactive orchestration from Female Laptop Orchestra and a new work that considers rising sea levels devised by Felicity Barrow.

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Ana
Mendes

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Female Laptop
Orchestra

THE UNDERWATER OPERA

Felicity
Barrow

This is likely to be a very popular event with limited availability so book your tickets now for a fun and engaging day of experimental art.

ShowTime! runs from 11.30-17:15 on Saturday 15 October. Ticketed event. £12.50/£7 to include lunch and refreshments. Click here to book.

Special Delivery!

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Very excited, as the first delivery of artwork for ALL2016 has arrived in the post this morning – with thanks to Kenji Lim for a wonderful new work.

This is always a red-letter day for us and marks the start of the build up to our Art Language Location festival in Cambridge this October. So as the summer slowly draws to a close and the days crispen and shorten, stand by for a refreshing blast of creativity and allow us to once again bring you the very best in contemporary and performance art.

Our full line-up and website will be revealed next week, so keep your eyes peeled for our brand new logo and a dazzling array of artists to tempt, delight and challenge you. And until then have a lovely late summer Bank Holiday.

Smile Please!

 

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l-r Catherine Cleary, Karen Stamper, Ines Nunes, Robert Good, Rose Catling, Rebecca Ilett

Its that time of year again as we practice our best smiles for the camera (more work needed?) and hold our Annual General Meeting. Many thanks to everyone on our lovely committee for so much hard work behind the scenes – ALL2016 is shaping up to be a very exciting mix of sounds, performances and installations, and yes, even some painting.

With so much relentlessly downbeat news in the air at the moment it can seem difficult to stay positive, but I do believe that making more art is as good a remedy as any: creativity is good for the soul as well as for society.

So we will be back at the end of the summer with full details of our ALL2016 artist line-up and locations, plus a relaunch of our website with new logo (thanks Karen!) and much more besides. We hope it will be our best ALL yet and a refreshing counterblast of positivity. But for now, as August fast approaches, we wish everyone happy holidays and hope you catch some sunshine!

Our Travels Begin

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Elisa Vladilo at work

Tomorrow ALL committee members Robert Good and Rebecca Ilett begin a week-long fact-finding trip to Europe – to visit ALL friends and artists Elisa Vladilo and Sara Lerota. The trip, which has been kindly sponsored by an a-n travel grant, will be to explore possibilities for future exchange exhibitions between ALL and art communities abroad.

As part of ALL we have always been interested in the ‘Location’ element of art, which is why we originally planned the visit, but of course in the current circumstances our trip is tinged with a wholly unexpected new political dimension. As we try and come to terms with the new realities it seems even more important than ever that we use art as a means to reach out to other communities and make new friendships and connections.

You can follow our progress during the trip on a blog over at the a-n website, and we shall no doubt be reporting back via the ALL website in due course. In the meantime, thank you to our friends in Europe for having us to stay, we are very much looking forward!

An artist’s perspective: Sarah Coggrave

We´re delighted to present you a fresh introduction to Sarah Coggrave´s work, who will be participating in Art Language Location 2016. Sarah gave us a sneak peak preview of what will be presented in Cambridge this October! Enjoy and make sure to let us know your impressions!

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I’m Sarah Coggrave, one of the artists taking part in Art Language Location 2016. In October I’ll be coming to Cambridge to tell a story – one that’s inspired by real events. I’ve been researching this story for three years now, and it’ll link Cambridge with Manchester and Constantinople. I’ll be using performance and written artefacts to bring it to life. Here’s a little introduction…

The story began in 2013, when I lived in a house called ‘Massis’ in Manchester.

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Above: ‘Massis’ (my photograph)

This unusually titled red brick villa is located in Didsbury – a leafy suburb in the south of Manchester.

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Above: Pine Road – the quiet street on which the house stands (my photograph)

I rented a tiny room in the basement between 2013 and 2014, whilst studying for my art degree.

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Above: My tiny basement room (my photograph)

From the moment I moved in, that strange word – Massis – had intrigued me. It marked the house out from the others on Pine Road, and was carved into the gateposts, suggesting that this particular home had a history worth looking into.

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Above: From the gatepost (my photograph)

Massis (alternative spelling – Masis) is an Armenian word. It’s a name for Mount Ararat in Turkey, but also refers to a city in Armenia, a football club, a periodical and is a popular name for Armenian men and, seemingly, restaurants. To my enormous shame, I’d never come across Armenia or its history prior to that time, in 2013. The country’s connection with this Mancunian house became clear when I searched the census records, which revealed that my home once belonged to the Funduklians – an Armenian family from Constantinople.

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Above: The Funduklian family and servants outside the house they occupied before ‘Massis’ (Image courtesy of Manchester Archives+)

The Funduklians arrived in Manchester at some point during the late 1800s. Hailing from the city now known as Istanbul, this Armenian family joined many of their co-patriots in seeking a new life in Britain. Whilst living in Turkey, as a Christian minority, Armenians did not enjoy the same advantages as many of their fellow citizens – in work, education or in civil life. Persecution led to massacres in the 1800s and later, in 1915, genocide.

The Funduklians had escaped just in time.

Karnig Funduklian and his relative Tigrane were the first to arrive. They set up a textile shipping business in Manchester, and its success enabled Karnig to give his wife Aznive and four children a large, comfortable home in Didsbury, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many other Armenian families lived nearby. Karnig employed two servants to help run the household, which also included wife Aznive, and their four children – Arto, Astra, Vahe and Nazar. Three sons and a daughter.

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Above: Nazar Funduklian as a child (Image courtesy of Manchester Archives+)

Arto was the eldest child. He studied at Manchester Grammar School, and won a scholarship to study languages at King’s College, University of Cambridge. He was a star student – he achieved a First, worked in military intelligence during WWI, collected art in Paris in the 1920s, and eventually settled in New York, where he managed a branch of the family business.

To see a picture of Arto, please click here.

Vahe, his younger brother, loved sport, particularly rugby, as well as the Lancashire countryside and down-to-earth Northern humour. Nazar (short for Nazareth) collected art and books, and, like his sister Astra, lived with parents Karnig and Aznive until they died in the 1930s, after which Vahe took over the family business. Only scraps of information survive about each individual – a mention in a book, a sentence in a newspaper article, but each tiny clue is revealing, and I found myself wishing I’d known this generous, and in some ways, slightly unconventional, family.

Astra is perhaps the most mysterious of all.

Unsurprisingly, as a woman, very little information survives about her. All I know is that she never married or had children, she travelled widely, played the piano and once was charged with smuggling silk. None of her siblings had children either, and Vahe, as the last surviving sibling and proprietor of the long-running Funduklian business, commissioned a gravestone for the family in Southern Cemetary near Didsbury. When he died the family line ended – only distant relatives remain.

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Above: The family grave in Southern Cemetery, Manchester (my photograph)

The Funduklians, like many other Armenian families, contributed much to Manchester. They donated to various causes, including the city’s university, they gave books and art work to local institutions, and they campaigned tirelessly to help their friends and relatives who had been unable to escape the horrors of the massacres and genocide in the Middle East. Manchester’s specially established Armenian Church was a central gathering place, and the community formed numerous societies that undertook charity work, cultural activities and social events. I was intrigued to find information and pictures relating to this in Manchester’s archives. I worked with Archives+ in 2013 to digitise and blog about these materials, and in 2014 I created an exhibition at Didsbury Parsonage, inspired by the history of my home and its occupants. I performed there as Astra and created artwork about her.

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Above: Performing as Astra at Didsbury Parsonage (my photograph)

Later that year I spoke about my research as part of the BBC Radio Four documentary Out of Armenia. In 2015 I worked with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery on an exhibition of Arto Funduklian’s art collection, also part of Buxton Arts Festival. Here I performed as Astra again. I feel as if her voice has been lost from official records, like those of many women from that time, and as an artist I try to address this issue creatively (and respectfully) in my work.

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Above: My interpretation of Astra (my photograph)

I’ve known for some time that Arto went to Cambridge, and that there were records about him held there. However, work, distance and other commitments prevented me from pursuing the story further. Now, Art Language Location has provided me with an opportunity to do this, and to find a creative way to commemorate Arto’s time as a student.

Like Arto, I too was once a Cambridge student, prior to becoming an artist, so this project holds a great deal of meaning for me. Same university, but, I presume, very different experiences of studying there.

In July I’m visiting the King’s College archive to see documents concerning Arto’s time there, and in October I hope to bring my imagining of his younger sister, Astra, to Cambridge. Here she’ll be writing letters to her brother, reminding him of the home he left behind, questioning him about university life, and debating with him, the events of the day, from 1911 until 1914. In 1911, Astra and Arto were only teenagers. These siblings grew up during turbulent times, and their respective stories (or rather what remains) offer opportunities to explore unexpected links between Cambridge, Manchester and Constantinople.

I’ll be blogging about the progress of this project in more depth here, as the festival draws nearer.

Sources and Links

The Funduklian Story: Part I – Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The Funduklian Story: Part II – Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The Funduklian Story: Part III – Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Articles on Manchester’s Armenian community for Archives+ (scroll down to see early articles)

George, J. (2002) Merchants In Exile: The Armenians Of Manchester, England 1835 – 1935, Taderon Press.

Record at King’s College, University of Cambridge