Thursday, 11 March 2010

Thank you

Thank you so much to everyone who has been involved in 100 days. It has been a pleasure and a privilege. To finish I thought I'd put together a list in the style of Elise.

Ways 100 days has made me a better person
  1. I have met lovely people and feel part of a community
  2. I have tried new and different exercises and discovered the joy of spinning
  3. I have learnt about modern art
  4. I talk more to strangers
  5. I have a better vocabulary
  6. I try new things
  7. I have discovered Sam Smith pubs
  8. I am better at technology
  9. I can make a great banana bread
  10. I have learnt that I am creative and that I can do far more than I think I can
  11. I'm new to London and although sometimes it seems big and scary I now know that it is filled with friendly, creative and lovely people who do amazing things (and that probably applies to everywhere).
  12. I discovered magnetic inkjet paper
  13. I've met some lovely people, learnt some great words and am happier than when I started
  14. I search for more obscure ways to complement people (nice pen)
  15. I am stronger now and can count better
Not all of these are mine- some were contributed at the museum last night. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

And thank you xx

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Untitled #24

Still, my hands down, absolute favourite 100 days blog is Howard’s art history blog Untitled #23. Howard only did the project up until Christmas. Then he signed off never to return. In the weird way that Twitter lets you get attached to people you barely know, I miss Howard and I hope he’s doing well wherever he may be.

There are only 14 entries for 100 days on his blog but the quality is immense. His posts will educate you, they will entertain you, they will make you laugh, make you cry, make you wish you were a gay man named Pete living in Bristol (or maybe that last one’s just me). If the only thing I had got out of 100 days was to read his first post I still would have left the project a better person.

I know very little about art but part of the reason for this plagiarism project is to challenge myself. I want to be able to look at a work of art and learn about it and really understand it. So it was with this aim that I went to possibly my favourite place in all the world, the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The V&A does something amazing. It focuses on the art and design created throughout history, throughout the world. By looking at the objects created it tells human history in a way that avoids so many of the euro-centric patriarchal interpretations. It is history where clothes are equally as important as crowns, where you can find out as much about the lives of the elite as of the poor, where embroidery from Aztec and Spanish women are placed side by side and valued equally. Through experiencing history through artefacts rather than written facts I feel you gain a huge and overwhelming sense that history happened to real people, how similar and how different we all are.

Where the V&A goes even further is that it allows us to look not only at the past but also the present and how our lives are shaped by and reflected in the art and design of today. Jason Bruges' Mirror Mirror a commissioned work as part of the Decode exhibition of digital art very literally reflects us and the modern world around us. This installation features over 40 panels made up of LEDs and a camera encased in a double layer of acrylic. These units are placed in formation in the pool of the John Madejski Garden. The cameras act both as sensors to detect when there is movement in front of them and to capture the image of what is moving. This is instantly played back on the led screen until the object stops moving and the screen returns to white. These images not only reflect what is in front of them but they, in turn, are reflected in the water of the pool.

Technologically it is amazingly clever. Each LED displays in 250 shades of grey allowing the small screens to display remarkable recognisable images. It even works in darkness with the cameras picking up infra red light beamed onto participants form the balcony. It showcases how far we’ve come. How technology can be manipulated and used by us. How we can create and reflect nature, and how, with each image reflected in the pond, we can make nature reflect us.

With technology playing such a huge part in our lives it is easy to forget that there is a human hand behind it. Mirror Mirror reminds us of the human element of technology- when we interact with the piece we literally make it happen, human energy is the force that drives it.

At the same time there is something sinister about technology. The grainy images that are projected back are reminiscent of surveillance footage and CCTV. It is almost as if we are being watched although we don’t know by whom. The multiple cameras that capture us at every angle as we walk by are a reminder of how often our image is captured every day.

But where is the line between being watched and wanting to be seen? Take a few minutes to watch how people interact with the installation and you will see how they dance in front of it, wave at it, pull funny faces. Almost everyone takes delight in seeing themselves reflected. It is the idea of ‘digital narcissism’: we fall in love with our digital reflection- not only in this piece but all over the internet, we love to see ourselves reflected in blogs, on Twitter, on YouTube, we create and replicate our image in technology in a myriad different ways.

Through complex technology Bruges is showing us a basic human instinct- the desire to see ourselves reflected in the world. The pond itself could have provided us with a reflection of ourselves but the installation offers something more. Walk past the camera and it will play back your image for the second you go past but then will continue to display the backdrop of the museum behind, the stunning architecture of the past, of a museum that houses almost all of human history. We are only passing through. However, if you don’t move out of shot, if you stay still, after a few seconds the screen returns to white- in this world of technology if we stop moving we are rendered invisible.

If you got to the end of this post- congratulations and thank you! I didn’t come up with all of these ideas by myself- I went to a talk by Bruges at the museum which was fascinating. If you haven’t yet seen the Decode exhibition and you get a chance do go, it’s incredible.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Sticky notes

Matt Sheret
's writes little notes and leaves them around to entertain and bemuse an unsuspecting public. I've been trying to think of something good to write and somewhere good to stick it for the last 10 weeks. Unfortunately I'm just too much of a chicken to 'deface' public property. Tonight I was making my book for the 100 days museum and I came up with a way to plagiairse without the fear of prosecution.

I'm too much of a wuss to stick this sticker anywhere else.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

A photo a day

The community feel of 100 days has been the best bit for me. I started the project shortly after I moved to London and it's been a great way to feel part of something and not all alone in an uncaring city. And it's been great that the people I've met in real life have turned out to be just as lovely as their online personas suggested.

One of the first people I connected with through 100 days was Mel. Her simple but effective photo a day project provided a snapshot of her life which was both compelling and very satisfying to a nosy parker like me. She also probably gave me the idea for this blog when early on in the project she said that she felt other people's ideas were more creative than her own. I was feeling similarly and decided the best way around this was just to copy all of those fabulous creative ideas! Mel took the very sensible step of finishing her project early to focus on more important things in her life. As we are nearing the end I wanted to remember some of the great stuff from the beginning.

(I'd like to point out this post is also pretty similar to Sophie's photo a day which I also loved)


Today I visited my friend Sammie in Kent to celebrate her 22nd Birthday. Tomorrow is also our 3rd anniversary. We met in Barcelona through mutual friends when we were both living out there. Sammie quickly became one of my best friends and we lived together for a year. After Spain she moved to Argentina while I moved to Scotland. Now we are pretty close to each other but don't see each other as often as we should. It was lovely to see her, to meet some of her friends, to speak some Spanish with her (French) boyfriend and to eat good food and drink cava. The cake in the picture is chocolate and beetroot! Sadly I was good and stuck to my lent resolution of not eating choc so didn't get to try it. I did eat some pretty good cupcakes though.


I have never played a full game of Monopoly, never even got to the stage where you can buy hotels and houses. Monopoly always took too long and my sister would get bored and steal from the bank before we could get a game going.

Despite my lack of familiarity with the game I was very excited to join Ade Brown on the second half of his Monopoly walk yesterday. Ade has been walking an hour a day everyday for his hundred days and you can follow his progress over at his blog where he has some pretty impressive Google maps that chart the over 300 miles he has walked since December. I had never plagiarised in person before. Most of my work consists of ripping off people's stuff from the internet and hoping they don't mind. It was nice to do someone's challenge alongside them for a change.

I hugely enjoyed the walk, the sun was shining, the company delightful and London was on top form. I saw buildings I had never noticed before, discovered some great pubs and generally got to know this amazing city better. A lovely day with lovely people. I don't know if I'm a better person because of this project but there are times when my life's pretty darn good because of it.

Also Ade has a just giving page where you can sponsor him for his very impressive walking acheivements- go to

Monday, 1 March 2010

140 characters

One of the best things about 100 days for me is that it has introduced me to the wonderful world of Twitter. There is something horribly cringe-inducing about talking about Twitter and I can't even bring myself to use the word 'tweet' unless I'm talking about real birds. But as wanky as it sounds to say it- I love Twitter.

I love that I am more informed about news and politics than I ever was before. I love that I am exposed to the best the internet has to offer from the amazing jokes to the joys of fat fashion. I love stalking minor celebrities. I love reading about random people's lives. I love that I can chat with other 100 days people. I love that the 100 days people I have met since in real life were just as lovely as their tweets *shudder* suggested.

Fitting what you want to say into 140 characters is hard though. Especially if, like me, you tend to go on a bit. Re-editing my comments so they fit in the limit has led to no end of horrendously formed sentences where I didn't re-read to check if my sentence scanned. Mind you I'm not much better at proofing blog posts- I wrote 'photo's' yesterday when I only wanted a plural.

The master of the 140 character post though is undoubtedly Greg Wohead who has provided us with a brief yet perfectly formed play everyday for the last 90 days. I got in a quite intense drunken argument about Greg's plays with someone at a party a few weeks ago. I was explaining the 100 days project and used twitter plays as an example of what people were doing. The person I was talking to claimed that 140 characters was too short to be a play. I quite vocally disagreed and dragged him upstairs where I had signal on my phone to read some of the plays and prove him wrong. "Look you only get a couple of lines but they are characters- you get a sense of who they are, you can imagine what happened before or after, they are art, they make you look at the world in a different way, you are better for being exposed to them, there was one about baked alaska, it was amazing" I slurred. I think he probably only agreed with me to shut me up but I was right: Greg's plays are brilliant. In his own words 'themes range from grief to ageism to Jonathan Taylor Thomas and back again'. There is a lot going on in those 140 characters.

I've tried on several occasions to write my own. This is the best I can do.

Jen: I wish we had more than one saucepan.
Tim: Why don't you buy another then?
Jen: Yeah but I bought the second plate.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Lego and lost gloves

There are some people's projects that I think about doing almost every day- I am constantly listening for a line I think will be good for one of Greg's twitter plays and I have been planning my introduction for my 300 words about art since before I created this blog.

There are some things that I did before but now am more likely to, like complimenting people, taking opportunities to talk to strangers or being open to trying new things, and I don't really feel I need to blog about them. (Although doing one big new thing before next Wednesday is definitely something I want to achieve.)

Other projects require strategic planning, like taking a trip to Hamley's to play with Lego. I'm no Daniel Weir but I had fun.

I started off simple with some European flags.

Then I attempted something slightly more complex- a tree (and flower).

The little boy next to me put me to shame though. He was making some kind of epic spaceship and the second I stepped away from the table my tree was stripped for parts to be added to his craft.

Neither of us could quite compete with this though.

And then there are times where the opportunity for plagiarism just presents itself. Like today when walking along Regent's Street I spotted this lost and lonely glove. (For more and better photos of lost gloves I direct you to grant_me's flickr.)

With only 10 days left I'm hoping lots more of these kind of opportunities present themselves but I am also doing some planning to try and fit everything in that I want to do. Please let me know if you think there are any projects I really have to do before our 100 days are over.