Well, barely a week into my year away from work and we’ve moved all of our belongings out of our home in Canterbury, packed them into storage in Hampshire, said goodbye to my parents and briefly relocated to Leiden in the Netherlands. It’s been a bit strange here the past two days as the annual celebrations commemorating the siege of Leiden in 1573 and 1574 have been going on.
Basically, celebrating this extraordinary act of historical resistance now seems to involve thousands of people taking to the streets and drinking inordinately large amounts of Heineken, weird old mechanical pipe organs playing on every other street corner, a large fun-fair, far too many discos playing really dodgy Eurotrash dance music (think Ace of Bass!!), and the obligatory firework display. Now that’s all over and a strange post-hangover calm has descended over the city, with every other person you see on the street (or narrowly avoid being hit by as they wobble by on their bike) having that haggard and haunted look that says, in the inimitable words of Frank Booth in Blue Velvet – “HEINEKEN…FUCK THAT SHIT!’
Despite the odd festivities here (or perhaps in spite of them) I seem to have made a good start with my plans for writing more by spending the last two days actually finishing a piece for Claire Morgan. This is a piece for an exhibition catalogue for two (almost) simultaneous shows of her work in Sweden – Nässjö konsthall 2 November – 11 January 2014 and Växjö konsthall 31 October – 12 January 2014. Ever since first seeing Claire’s work at an astonishingly good exhibition back in 2008, I have written a few pieces about her work for various catalogues and magazines, two of which are on her website here. Last year I wrote a piece to accompany her exhibition at the Mission Gallery in Wales. There is a really good interview with Claire here. In this latest short piece I pursue the theme of ecological restoration and animal communion in her work, which is something I am very interested in.
Having made a good start, I’m going to spend the next two days doing all of the photography at the WordCamp Europe meeting here in Leiden, but once that’s done I plan to get straight back to more overdue writing. This time it’s back to Levinas and Hegel….