After a lot of exhibitions elsewhere, Robert
Montgomery’s first London solo show in
over a year has opened at KK Outlet.
'Montgomery’s work references the
Situationist tradition of capturing the
audience’s attention in unexpected ways
within the public realm. For his show at KK Outlet Montgomery
has created a series of 3 large
billboard poems on Old Street, which
reference the moral failure of
Capitalism, the concerns of the Occupy
movement, and new ideas of freedom in
Good to see the whole thing was sponsored by that arch-enemy of capitalism - Red Stripe (owned by Diageo).
Anyone who's taken a river trip along the Spree in Berlin will have seen the wonderful range of sheds along the river bank, structures whose spirit is reflected in the work of Berlin based artist Gabriel Dubois that Edel Assanti has brought to London Art Fair. (Thanks to Andrew Davies for the link.)
Abraham Bloemaert (1564-1651) obviously liked his sheds. There's a landscape in the Gemäldegalerie by Bloemaert featuring St Tobias and an angel with a fine shed in the background. But this picture in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (1624), predates The Wire by several centuries and shows a couple out of it on a corner, although the main interest is surely that fine shed tree house.
And finally Caspar David Friedrich with a Cabin covered in snow.
If you chance upon other images of sheds in pictures online or in galleries please send Shedman a link. And don't forget that Shedman is still compiling the anthology of shed poems - so send your favourites through for inclusion.
Daventry is a place of roads and crossings: the A5 and A45, Watford Gap and the M45/M1 junction. For Shedman growing up in the Midlands it was somewhere below Coventry, geographically and alphabetically; a place viewed distantly from a rainy car window, but with the curious magic and mystery of those giant transmission masts. On departure Daventry symbolised the wide world, pumping radio signals far and wide. On return, Daventry marked the first outpost of home. Shedman has a long attachment to Daventry, so he's delighted to have been invited to be part of the very first Daventry Arts Festival.
Daventry was the original wireless community, globally connected. It's the home of BBC World Service. It was also the site of the first successful experiment with Radio Direction Finding (RDF) or, as the Americans called it, Radio Detection and Ranging, now better known as radar.
Shedman is looking forward to doing some of his own direction finding during his stay in Daventry, conducting one of his inimitable shedquests and exploring not just Daventry itself but also the surrounding area - Wolfhampcote, Nethercote, Newnham, Braunston, Ashby St. Ledgers, Welton, Weedon, Long Buckby, Muscott, the Catesbys and the Everdons. He's looking forward to exploring lots of Littles, Nethers and Uppers.
During his sojourn in Daventry Shedman will be based in his shed at the entrance to New Street Recreation Ground. If you're in the area come on down and and check in at the radio shack. Swap stories with Shedman about your sheds and have a go at writing a poem or a story.
Wikipedia points out that in this region, 'the pre-contact Acjachemen built cone-shaped huts made of willow branches covered with brush or mats made of tule leaves. Known as Kiichas (or wikiups), the temporary shelters were utilized for sleeping or as refuge in cases of inclement weather. When a dwelling reached the end of its practical life it was simply burned, and a replacement erected in its place in about a day's time.'
Yesterday's post sent me hunting for other South Bank sheds. In 2007, another group of artistic sheds appeared, overseen by Antony Gormley's figures during 'Blind Light', his first major London exhibition (appropriately sponsored by Eversheds LLP).
Described as an 'alternative allotment for the South Bank'.
Shedman feels as though every time he goes to the South Bank someone has put up a shed - and not just for builders. Until September 4 you can enjoy a promenade of pleasure past a variety of artistically decorated pavilions.
You may have thought 'hogan' was a not very nice word for someone from the Netherlands or else the name of a gigantic wrestler. However, a hogan is also 'a North American Indian (esp. Navajo) building usually made of logs and earth, and traditionally built with the door facing east.' (Thank you OED online.)
Shedman saw an example in the flesh - well, wood - on a recent visit to the Heard Museum in Phoenix Arizona.
'This hogan is referred to as a female hogan because it simulates the roundness of the female body of Mother Earth. While most Navajo families do not reside in hogans today, their modern homes almost always include a hogan near the main house. Hogans are used for ceremonies that are still practised by Navajo people including the Kinaaald, a coming of age ceremony for young Navajo woman. Other family members spend quiet time in the hogan as a way to reconnect themselves with Navajo teachings and to remind themselves from where they have come.' Interpretation panel at the Heard Museum, Phoenix.
Wikipedia tells Shedman that:
The hogan is considered sacred to those who practice the Navajo religion. The religious song "The Blessingway" describes the first hogan as being built by Coyote with help from beavers to be a house for First Man, First Woman, and Talking God. The Beaver People gave Coyote logs and instructions on how to build the first hogan, now known as a "forked stick" or "male" hogan, which resembles a pyramid with five triangular faces. Earth may fill the spaces between the framework logs, hiding the five faceted shape and creating thick, winter-protective walls. The "forked stick" or "male" Hogan contains a vestibule in the front and was used only for sacred or private ceremonies.
The "circular" or "female" Hogan , the family home for the Navajo people, is much larger and does not contain a vestibule. In it, the children play, the women cook, weave, talk, and entertain and men tell jokes and stories. Navajos made their hogans in this fashion until the 1900s, when they started to make them in hexagonal and octagonal shapes. The change in shape may have been due to the arrival of the railroad. A supply of wooden cross-ties, which could be laid horizontally to form walls of a larger, taller home, allowed the retention of the "female" hogan shape but with more interior room. The doorways of the hogans always face east.
Many cultural taboos are associated with the hogan and its use. Should a death occur in the structure, the body is either buried in the hogan with the entry sealed to warn others away, or the deceased is extracted through a hole knocked in the north side of the structure and it is abandoned and often burned. A hogan may also become taboo for further use if lightning strikes near the structure or a bear rubs against it. Wood from such structures is never reused for any other purpose by a Navajo.
Navajo hogan - inside
Today, while some older hogans are still used as dwellings and others are maintained for ceremonial purposes, new hogans are rarely intended as family dwellings.
Traditional structured hogan is also considered a pioneer energy efficient home. Using packed mud against the entire wood structure, the home was kept cooled by natural air ventilation and water sprinkled on the dirt ground inside. During the winter, the fireplace kept the inside warm for a long period of time and into the night.
Shedman is just back from a wonderful holiday in Sicily. Italy may not be that well noted for its sheds but on Mount Etna they certainly come into their own. The landscape is pretty fast changing and the Italians seem to have realised that temporary wooden structures make a whole lot more sense than any attempt to build permanent brick or stone buildings that can be swept away or buried beneath the next lava flow. It gave Shedman pause for thought about the whole idea of the 'shedge' - that curious zone on the edge of everything frequently occupied by sheds. It might be the edge of the world or the hedge bordering the garden, but the shedge is archetypal shed territory.
In 1893 a small shed was built to film the first Edison movies. It was designed by W. K. L. Dickson, the unsung genius behind many of Edison's inventions and patents. The shed was painted black inside and out and became known as 'The Black Maria' as it resembled the police vehicle of the same name.
The shed revolved on a base to follow the sun and featured sliding roof panels to provide continuous overhead sunlight to illuminate the actors. It became the world's first film studio in which Dickson was the world’s first film director.
The original has long since burned down, but a reproduction of the structure is located at the Edison National Historic Site (a museum with a preserved laboratory facility) in West Orange, New Jersey.
Be courageous; try everything until something works; and dedicate yourself to your passion, trusting that 'what you are will show in what you do'.
Shedman supports Butabika, Uganda's national psychiatric hospital
KING TOADFISH and the all weather riders present A BENEFIT FOR BUTABIKA An evening of poetry and music featuring the fabulous Shedman, David Amery, Gavin Selerie, Frances Presley, and other poets and minstrels of the urban night… THURSDAY 15th MARCH 7:30-11:15 at the Dalston Victoria, 451 Queensbridge Road, E8 3AS £8 waged, £2 concs
All proceeds to supporting the development of mental health services in Uganda
Shedman creates a fascinating visitor attraction, enthralling workshops and lively events that explore the place of the shed, literature and creativity in everyone’s lives. To discuss your project please get in touch...
Writer, poet and film maker John Davies is the original Shedman. He's inspired by all kinds of sheds – garden sheds and aircraft hangars, shed antlers or skins, shedding tears or shedding light. He’s writing a book about his shed experience and on his travels, researching the subject, he creates residencies and workshops at different events and locations, using sheds as the focus for a unique interaction with people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.