Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention — stallholders

Twigs and Apples (Preston)

Twigs and Apples is a North West UK based zine collective, started in 2009. It operates as an open collective and as such has a wide range of content, including art, writing, poetry, illustration, film and music reviews, sports writing, vegan recipes, photography, DIY and craft, philosophy and the odd rant. Twigs and Apples is fuelled by biscuits, tea, and bicycle rides into the night.



Pink Mince (London)

Pink Mince is a queer zine published in London, UK every couple of months or so by Dan Rhatigan. Its aim is “to delight, titillate, amuse, provoke, and inspire”. That is to say: it features jokes and blokes, possibly with a point behind it all.


Christa Harris/Camberwell Books (Manchester/London)

Christa Harris is a Manchester based book artist with work in several national archives including TATE Britain. At Victoria Baths she will present a stall showcasing work from a variety of friends and colleagues, including zines from Norwich based artist Sammy Merry (http://incident88.blogspot.com), and bookworks from the Camberwell Book Arts MA (www.camberwell bookarts.blogspot.com). She will be happy to answer any questions about book arts, bookmaking and small/self publishing and will be disseminating information on a variety of related topics including basic bookbinding, advice for small publishers, how to get an isbn etc.

MUSEUMS PRESS (Manchester)

Launched in June 2009 MUSEUMS PRESS is a small independent publishing house based in Manchester. Its publications have included a range of formats and subjects from heavily compiled books, comics and poster packages to photocopied fanzines and individual artists’ prints.


Manchester Municipal Design Corporation & Ultimate Holding Company (Manchester)

The Manchester Municipal Design Corporation works through cross-disciplinary collaborations involving publications, provocations, events, exhibitions and interventions. It has published two issues of Things Happen, a fanzine about Manchester and Salford, and co-produced a map of the creative ecology of the two cities with Laura Mansfield.

Ultimate Holding Company is a creative social engagement project, artists’ collective and design studio. It has operated at the junction of visual art, design and socio-political activism since 2002. UHC’s process-driven ethos seeks out co-production and public collaboration, looking to encourage new connections to the arts through social solidarity.

The MMDC now works within UHC at Hotspur House, and they are together establishing a Design Without Boundaries-esque creative space on the 4th Floor of the building. The third issue of Things Happen, due later in the year, will be a Hotspur Special, after a comic that may or may not have been printed here.




Ultra Horse (Nottingham)

Ultra Horse zines is a Nottingham based zine conglomerate split between one crafty comic drawing girl and a lovably crude zine making boy. Their style could be described as the product you’d get if Viz was cut up with David Shrigley and served as a hot quesadilla from Taco Bell.


OWT Creative (Manchester)

OWT creative is a five-strong design collective based in Manchester. OWT focuses on producing a monthly zine showcasing work from themselves and other up and coming creative talent in the North West. Each zine has a set theme to which OWT invites young creatives to contribute a response to be it photography, illustration, graphics or creative writing, as long as it’s imaginative. OWT recently produced issue #6 and are accepting contributions for issue #7, the theme of which is ‘Science’.


Threads and Letters (Manchester)

Rebecca Aimée Lanyon Willmott is a self publisher, poet, storyteller and textile artist. A love of storytelling and stitching inspired the publication Threads and Letters, uniting textiles and literature. Handcrafted on cotton paper, it has a traditional book theme, reflected in the Gothic fonts and framing. Its contents include: an article on the button collection at Platt Hall, Gallery of Costume, Manchester, embroidery as puppet illustration, activist textiles and patterned poetry. When at the fair, It comes with a button bookmark and is bound with linen thread and printed on recycled paper.


Sugar Paper (Manchester)

Sugar Paper is a bi-annual craft zine always featuring 20 things to make and do, from knitting to dressing like your favourite fictional character! The Sugar Paper Gang have two aims: to get everyone crafting and to make crafting BADASS!


Nude (nationwide)

Nude is an eclectic, independently-produced magazine covering all aspects of indie and retro culture, with a strong emphasis on the vibrant new crafting scene as well as numerous aspects of visual culture; comics, illustration, designer toys and street art and zines.


Emily & Anne (Manchester/London)

Emily Howells and Anne Wilkins met at Kingston University where they both studied Illustration & Animation BA. After graduating they decided to work together, as it is a lot more fun than working by yourself. Their first film, A Film about Poo (2009), musically promotes the importance of washing your hands, and was made with long-term collaborator and musician Billy Payne. The film went on to show at fifty film festivals worldwide, winning seven awards including the audience’s choice at New York International Children's Film Festival 2010, and the Golden Poo Award at London International Animation Festival 2009. When they are not animating, the girls also draw illustrations, and have produced three zines to date — one about growing up, one about French dogs in hats and one about poo. Emily and Anne love drawing so much they often don’t sleep, and have created work for clients such as the BFI, BBC Learning and Bolton Museum & Archives.


Silent V (Norwich)

Currently on its fourth installment, Kyle Baddeley’s Silent V is an absurdist comic saga set in a twisted cartoon world populated by mansize talking buzzards, scheming scientists, and malevolent teddy bears. Its madcap, non-linear structure often leaves the reader questioning the characters’ motivations, whilst continually throwing up new plot tangents. Filled with sudden, unexpected violence and funny dialogue, Silent V is both dark and hilarious.



Charlotte Fiona Percival and Born Restless (Sheffield/Manchester)

Charlotte is an eternal obsessive with her own enthusiasms and other people’s.


Born Restless is Hayley, an eternal doodler, embroiderer and cut and paste-er. She is interested in mistakes and trying to copy or create creepy images that usually end up looking wonky and silly instead. Her hands won’t stop.



Vapid Kitten (Manchester)

Vapid Kitten is published quarterly and is now up to its fourth edition. The ‘zine is ‘for the lazy feminist.’ It’s designed to be a platform for commentary on modern society for those of us with an opinion but no desire to protest about it. This is done through the often quirky contributions of various artists and writers around a different theme each issue. Themes so far include Feminism, Green, Craft, and digital vs analogue.


Love to Print (Birmingham)

Karoline Rennie is an illustrator who makes her own zines and small artists’ books using screen printing or Japanese gocco printing combined with digital printing. She collaborates with other women illustrators to make limited edition zines, colouring books and postcard books featuring their work. She also sells her own handmade cards, mini prints and zines made by other women.

Memo (Leeds)

Helen Entwisle is a freelance illustrator and screen printer currently based in Leeds. Her work includes hand drawn and screen printed illustration, self-published zines, hand printed stationery, limited edition prints, tote bags and accessories. She puts together a collaborative zine called Ten Fingers.


The Hare Newspaper (Glossop)

The Hare Newspaper is an independent publication, released once a month and stocked in Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and its birthplace, the sleepy Derbyshire town of Glossop.

Mr Hare and his woodland chums turn their attentions to a wide-range of topic, with sport, both international and domestic, politics, music and academia their main focuses. With 20 monthly issues under the belt and several spin-offs – such as Modern Spiv andThe Hare Sports Mag – already in circulation, it is an exciting time to join the form.

The Hare is always looking to grow its production team and, in the process, further diversify its voice. If you would like to write/draw/distribute for The Hare, you need only contact the team at theharenewspaper@hotmail.co.uk or via the website and they will gladly consider your submission for inclusion.


Salford Zine Library (Salford)

Salford Zine Library was formed in January 2010 and aims to showcase and share creative work in the self-published form. The archive is open to all to contribute. You can visit the Library at Islington Mill, Salford.


Friday, 13 May 2011

Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention souvenir Shrieking Violet special plus some directions and timings

The Shrieking Violet programme for the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention. Includes information on all the stallholders and speakers, an interview with Joe Biel, director, $100 and A T-Shirt: A Documentary About Zines in the Northwest US, an interview about letterpress with artist Amy Pennington, Deerly Beloved Bakery's recipe for stuffed bread and interviews with Antony Hall and Yu-Chen Wang, artists who are working in the building for Future Everything festival. The zine also features my article on historic swimming pools in Manchester, with annotated illustrations by Daniel Fogarty. Jacky Hall and illustrator Andy Carter have collaborated on a spread commemorating channel swimmer Sunny Lowry who trained at Victoria Baths. Paper copies will be available at the event.

Download and print a copy to assemble yourself here.


10.30am Guided tour of the building
12pm Guided tour of the building
12pm Film screening: $100 Dollars and A T-Shirt: A Documentary About Zines in the Northwest US, committee room (upstairs)
1pm, Talk: Dave Haslam, "The DIY alternative; fanzines 1977-1990", committee room (upstairs)
2pm Talk: Alex Zamora, Fever Zine, committee room (upstairs)
3pm Talk: Betsy Lambourn and Anna Frew, Vapid Kitten, "Is digital publishing the future of zines?", committee room (upstairs)

Directions for anyone coming from outside Manchester by train into Piccadilly station

1. Exit Piccadilly Station via Station Approach (the exit on the same level as the trains, next to WH Smith).
2. Follow Station Approach to the traffic lights and cross over onto Piccadilly.
3. Follow Piccadilly for 5 minutes until you reach Piccadilly Gardens bus station (across the road on your left).
4. Go to the bus stop at the far right of the bus station and get on a bus - numbers 41, 42, 43 or 142 or 143, which are very frequent, are best. These are operated by Finglands and magic bus (cheap) and Stagecoach (expensive). Ask for a single ticket to MRI (they don't sell return tickets). This should be £1.20 on a magic bus, a lot more on a Stagecoach bus.
5. The bus follows Oxford Road, the university corridor. After 10/15 minutes look out for the Whitworth Art Gallery on your right hand side, in a park called Whitworth Park. Ring the bell and get off on Oxford Road by Tesco (just past Manchester Royal Infirmary on your left).
6. Go back slightly and turn right onto Hathersage Road (the MRI is on the corner) and follow for about five/ten minutes.
7. Victoria Baths is on the left!

Future Everything will be running a regular free bus between Piccadilly Place in central Manchester and Victoria Baths, with the first bus leaving from near Piccadilly Place at 10am and the last bus leaving Victoria Baths around 4pm.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Yu-Chen Wang: The Splash and A Last Drop, Victoria Baths

When Yu-Chen Wang first walked into Victoria Baths she was overwhelmed by the space – its size, Edwardian grandeur and industrial-age history. Invited by Future Everything to produce a piece of work in the building, to coincide with the drawing to a close of a three month residency at the Chinese Arts Centre, she decided that, rather than try to fill or change the space she was working with (the former female pool, the smaller of two, now drained, pools that remain in the building), her work would focus on the way the audience experienced the building. She explains: “When I first went I was immediately in love with the space but I found myself very small. My own voice sounded very different. The space itself has already done a lot and there's a lot going on in there so I'm getting people to experience the space differently rather than constructing a lot or displaying a big artwork.”

On the final day of Future Everything, visitors to the Baths will encounter Yu-Chen's work in different spaces around the female pool as part of a sound and performance piece entitled The Splash and A Last Drop which imagines the creation of a machine that produces a last drop of water in Victoria Baths then multiplies it so the water will never dry up again. The work will function as a “moving device”, playing with the transition between different parts of the building.

The story starts at the Chinese Arts Centre, where an actress playing Yu-Chen is filmed boarding a spaceship which transports her to Victoria Baths. Visitors to the Baths will catch-up with the story so far by viewing this video in the former female cloakroom that once served the female pool. A nearby room housing the aerotone – an early, yet still slightly futuristic looking, jacuzzi that, when it was installed at Victoria Baths in 1952, became the first such public facility in the country – will be transformed into an installation of Yu-Chen's highly detailed drawings, which often focus on aspects of machines. When she saw the aeorotone's buttons and controls, Yu-Chen was struck by the feeling “it should be moving, going somewhere”. Yu-Chen's interest in machines is closely connected to her approach to drawing: “Machines are very much about structure and structure is about creating something. Drawing for me is a concept – how bits fit and are connected to each other. It's very much about movement. Machines have a performative element and quality and a human presence and spirit – I always imagine they will start moving and talking. And that's how I would describe what drawing is – it's not just about pencil and paper.” Likewise, The Splash and A Last Drop itself will consist of a number of “components”: “There are lots of bits and pieces put together. The viewer can look at it as a whole or as individual works."

Yu-Chen has been exploring the history of Victoria Baths through its archive, which includes photos, hundreds of memories donated by former users and artefacts relating to its past. Actors playing uniformed ticket officers will regale visitors with stories and hand out publications drawing on industrial heritage, which will act as a programme. The work will culminate with the Cavendish Singers from Didsbury singing a song entitled Songs of the Machine in the female pool, a 1910 poem about machines that start talking to humans that was later set to music by one of its members. Yu-Chen explains: “The space is so big it needs a group. A group of people gives power.” The performance will become a short film that will be screened in Manchester city centre in the days following Future Everything.

The work is a collaboration with writer Bob Dickinson, who Yu-Chen met through her residency, and six MA Media Lab students from Manchester Metropolitan University. She says: “I like to work with people who aren't just artists. The idea goes to writers, film makers, actors, costume makers – it organically develops and becomes a collective idea. It creates different readings – the text levels, the costumes, the actors, the live performance – it is a different way of constructing narrative.”

Visit Yu-Chen Wang's Open Studio at the Chinese Arts Centre, Thomas Street, Manchester from May 11-14.


Read more about Yu-Chen's residency on her blog.

The Splash and A Last Drop takes place at Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock on Saturday May 14. The building will be open from 10am-4pm. Free event.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Recreational science and Physical Oscillators: Interview with Antony Hall at Victoria Baths

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, gentlemen found a new hobby: recreational science. Vicars built their own microscopes. Would-be astronomers went out into their gardens and gazed up at the stars. One man kept a diary in which he wrote detailed observations about the decay of a nut whilst another, a collector, fashioned a bespoke moss jacket lined with pockets for his specimens.

Artist Antony Hall is a like recreational scientist for the twenty first century, inspired by these gentlemen of a certain age and their ability to find “interest in obscure things that weren't immediately exciting” whilst exploring new opportunities such as biohacking and nanotechnology. Often working with slides and Hele-shaw cells, he's interested in “how many different experiments you can do in a slide”.

He explains: “I always wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid – I had a sign on my bedroom saying 'lab', and I loved my microscope, but I wasn't very good at school so was encouraged not to do science. I did art instead and turned it into my science practice.

“I started doing animal sculpture. Then I looked at the natural world and how things are formed and how animals and insects behave. This got me interested in biology and ecology and the conceptual art of the 1970s.”

Antony often works with living creatures such as fish and insects. Pond Life, for example, magnified and projected microorganisms. “I like the element of collaboration with other creatures – of caring and nurturing them and getting them to behave in a certain way by providing them with things that are suitable such as food and light.”

He is a founding member of the Manchester-based Owl Project, a collective that looks at how humans interact with technology, and hacks old technology and turns it into something new, often through sound performances. Part of his practice also involves interactive workshops under the name of Tabletop Experiments. Antony explained: “I've always liked my work to be quite fun, and it makes science accessible.” Sometimes this involves showing participants how to make creations, for example 'brush-bots' – robots made from batteries, brushes and motors which draw spirographs and patterns. He describes them as: “Little units that interact. They've all got their own characters – it's as if they're alive but they're not. They dance around and back into each other. Some go round in circles and others go in straight lines.”

During Future Everything festival, Antony will be creating a “generative soundpiece” in the empty, disused gala pool in Victoria Baths, which members of the public will “walk in and compose”, experiencing invisible fields around motors via electromagnetic sensors akin to microphones that they will be encouraged to pick up and move around the space. Antony's challenge was: “How can I represent movement and liquid in this space that is now just air? How do I represent volume?” He decided the answer was to “energise objects in a big space” by suspending different motors above the pool and adding electricity: “The more energy you put in to it the more chaotic it becomes. The motors affect each other and associate themselves with each other in subtle interactions.”

He elaborated: “I wanted to represent the surface. Visitors will walk into the pool and, instead of walking under water, walk under a layer of activity. When you're beneath it you can hear it buzz above your head.” He admits: “I like going around my garden with a microphone recording the buzzing of bees.”

Inspiration for the installation was drawn from the natural world, in particular a type of beetle known as a whirligig that sits on the surface of the water and has split eyes so it can see above and below. Antony explains that: “Whirligig beetles swarm and “display” to each other. Sometimes they fight, and likewise it sounds really good when the motors clash.”

Antony's interest in capturing movement will be continued with a large wave pendulum made of jam jars hanging in the entrance to the cafe that visitors will set off with their movement as they enter and leave – simulating the continuous motion of a wave.

Antony Hall's Physical Oscillators can be experienced at Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May from 10am-4pm during Future Everything festival. Free event.