Monday, July 31, 2006
TRAFALGAR SQ. FESTIVAL: Martin Firrell exclusive interview
One of Thursday's showpieces is I Want to Live in a City Where by Martin Firrell, a large-scale text projection onto the portico of the National Gallery. Further down the blog entry, we have the artist's impressions to give us an idea of what it will look like on the day.
Martin was described by the Guardian newspaper as 'one of London's most influential public artists’ and his work will certainly be one of the highlights this coming Thursday.
Trafalgarsquareblog caught up with Martin for an interview to discuss his ideas, his favourite work and why this one nearly didn't happen!
Hi Martin, how would you describe what you do?
All of my work is based on the idea that art should be for everyone, and meaningful to everyone. Art should be available to everyone and no prior knowledge should be necessary to enjoy it - art and life are really the same thing anyway, and I have a profound belief in the power of art as a force for good… not as some obscure activity that takes place on the margins of society and is only really appreciated by a self-appointed elite.
One of your works - that was covered in the Guardian (go to www.martinfirrell.com and click on 'the guardian' link) - was the text projection on the Houses of Parliament stating that When The World is Run By fools It's The Duty of Intelligence to Disobey... would you therefore describe your projects as generally political?
It really depends on the circumstances. For me, every project is different- at the moment, for example, I'm doing a project on heroism and what the definition of 'hero' means in the 21st Century. But yes, I suppose everything in public life could be defined as political...
Do you have a favourite piece of work that you have done so far?
I think it would have to be the work I did for the Trafalgar Square Divali Festival last year (go to Martin's website and click on link 'Trafalgar Square' for more details). The message was The One Irreducible Truth About Humanity Is Diversity. The message being that everyone is different and we should appreciate it and try to work with it.
I think it was a timely message after the problems London went through last year because the message is about inclusion. I don't think I am politically motivated, but I am a humanist and there is just so much richness that can be derived from possible experiences with people from other cultures.
So how did this project for the Trafalgar Square Festival come about?
Well, it's been made possible by the Mayor of London, with the kind permission of the National Gallery.
I was asked to make the work by Martin Green (Head of Events for London, GLA) and creative director of the festival, Bradley Hemmings. Their brief to me was the theme of the festival- all about the city...
Was it hard to come up with your idea?
I'm always working on projects at Maison Bertaux in Soho, so I spent many weeks there trying to find my way into this one.
I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew because I just couldn't find a way into what the content of my work here should be - it had to be something I felt strongly about and also chime in with Bradley's themes of the city.
So I was about to tell the lovely people organising the festival that I couldn't really think of anything - lame, I know!
But then... it just came to me – as it is often the case for me, I work and work, bang my head against the brick wall and then suddenly it all comes to me actual and whole!
What is the idea that you eventually decided on?
I realised I wanted to write a meditation called I Want to Live in a City Where - a statement about the kind of city I'd like personally: with a wish list ranging from practical things like, for example, wanting the infrastructure of the city to be well maintained, to the more esoteric, like freedoms and justice.
I thought, if I shared my wish list, it might prompt people seeing it to think about their own priorities and wishes for the city they live in.
Thank you very much for the interview Martin, and I look forward to seeing the results on Thursday!
Thank you very much. Keep blogging. It's great.
Trafalgarsquareblog will have a report from the festival starting Thursday, including photos of Martin's project there.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
'Voices For Lebanon and Palestine' rally
Today from 12-3pm, 'The Voices for Lebanon and Palestine' rally was taking place, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop The War Coalition.
Speaking to demonstration officials, I was told that around 7,000 people were in attendance. The policemen I asked could not confirm yet what they believed to be the number.
As you could imagine, many people from the Lebanese community were also present. Betty Hunter, from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said summing up, 'this has been a day of unity between the Lebanese community, the Palestinian community and the British community. This is what we need if we want to change the foreign policy of the British government.'
There were a couple of Orthodox Jews present as well by one of the lions where they were distributing handouts, shadowed by a mild police presence. They were from Neturei Karta International, demanding the 'end to Zionist atrocities in the Middle East'.
This is a picture of some handouts I received, including one from http://www.antiwarart.co.uk/:
Overall, it was an amicable and intensely heartfelt rally. Noone really knows what the outcome to the Middle East crisis will be, but let us hope it is a peaceful one. Keep up-to-date with the BBC here.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Mécanique Vivante: one of Thursday's performances
One of next Thursday's performances will be 'The Song of the Sirens' by the French company Mécanique Vivante.
This will be the first time they perform 'The Song of the Sirens' in London. The aim of the company, they say, is 'to identify media where imagination and pleasure can flourish, to build a new moment, a unique object, new experiences...'
More information about the performance (including some music video clips) can be found by clicking on 'The Song of the Sirens' link on the left hand side of their website. Expect something quite different from the norm!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The Trafalgar Square Festival 2006 is coming...
It all kicks off on Thursday 3rd August, 6pm. Rich and diverse acts from Australia to Spain will be performing at the square.
It will be happening for 3 weeks every Thursday - Sunday.
For more information visit http://www.london.gov.uk/trafalgarsquare/tsf/index.jsp where you can read and download a brochure of the festival and keep in touch with the latest going-ons.
Here at the Trafalgar Square Blog we shall try our best to get interviews from artists and the organisers to see exactly what they have in mind for this year. Let's hope that they shall be willing to talk.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I thought today I would post some pictures from the 10/06/06 England vs. Paraguay 1-0 post-match celebrations at Trafalgar Square. I had just come out from watching the game with some friends in a nearby club and this was the scene at TS:
And as more people made their way to the square... it got quite packed!
To say that the crowd was jubilant would be an understatement!
Considering England had won only through an own goal, I wasn't sure if that deserved a dip in the fountain personally, but at least these guys enjoyed it while it lasted!
Where you there that day? Were you one of these people? Let me know!
Monday, July 24, 2006
BBC'S 'BLAST' LIFTS OFF (Blog entry 2/2 for the day)
BBC BLAST: A PLACE FOR CREATIVE YOUNG PEOPLE
The dancing was all in collaboration with the BBC Blast team, whose tour stopped off today at TS.
I spoke to one of Blast's representatives, Caspar, who said 'Blast is aimed at 13 to 19 year olds who are interested in creating; whether it be in art, dance, film, music or writing.'
Go to their website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blast/ or call 0800 011 011 to find out more.
It seems like a great site to learn more about developing ideas for these various mediums. I went into the films section where there were articles, clips and advice on how to create good short movies and clips (useful to anyone who is interested)... so let's hope the next, er, Guy Ritchie is just around the corner?
For information about the other event taking place today at Trafalgar Square, the 'Big Dance A to Z Workshops', see the blog entry below.
BBC DANCING IN THE SQUARE (Blog entry 1/2 for the day)
Yesterday, Trafalgar Square played host to BBC's 'Dancing In the Street', hosted by Bruce Forsyth.
In a night of dancing, there was also an attempt to break the world record for the greatest amount of people taking part in a dance club at the same time.
Today, TS was in a mellower condition, but it hadn't shaken off dance fever altogether!
The dance floor was still there and as I made my way across the square, cha-cha classes were taking place (see picture above).
Also at the top of the steps; there was a very enthusiastic instructor teaching small groups at a time dance moves for The Clash's song 'London Calling', which I never actually thought would've been possible, but he proved me wrong:
What would Joe Strummer have made of all this!
Also at the square today the BBC's Blast scheme for young adults stopped by. Check out details of that in the blog above.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Why this blog exists
This is a blog about all things regarding Trafalgar Square in London, UK.
Events, demonstrations, activities, information and general observations in and around the square will be the focus here.
TS has witnessed many important events throughout its history; including the VE celebrations after World War II, political demonstrations on nuclear weapons in the 60s and celebrations on winning the 2012 Olympic bid in the noughties.
Basically, anything important that happens in London will usually in some way be represented in this square. Which is why this blog will help you keep up-to-date with the going-ons in London's most important location.
What will make it special from any other page however will be the personal touch: first-hand reporting on what takes place.
I hope you find it useful and interesting.