'Artepreneurs' Coordinator and artist David Palazon first met John Latham in 2004 and set up an initiative for students of Camberwell College of Arts to visit Flat Time Ho and to be shown around by Latham. These meetings were an amazing opportunity to have a personal question and answer session with one the UK's most influential artists of the 20th century. This exhibition owes much to these initial meetings and the following profiles are testament to the continuing interest in John Latham for a new generation of artists.
For further information about The Least Event click here.
David Palazon: 'Take Me Away'
"There's no doubt that John was a great mind, ahead of his time and sure of his findings. I met John several times at Flat Time Ho in Bellenden Road, we normally ended up talking about pretty much all things in life, although one comment he made remains looping in my memory: After an immediate spray-gun painting onto a white piece of paper, he said: 'What you see in this side, it's not what is going on on the other side' .
It will probably take a few more years for people to fully understand and develop John's theories, nevertheless I do believe there is a bit of John in every one of us.
Before The Least Event I noticed lots of junk food leaflets arriving through my mailbox. I didn't intend to collect them, but somehow they seemed to accumulate by the door for the last 6 months or so. I talked to the postman but he replied he was not responsible for all that mess. "What could I do with all this junk mail for junk food?"
We live inundated by many kinds of information, a variety of channels which influence the way we think, behave and constantly consume. All this junk propaganda has something in common: the undesign. With the aim of rehabilitating my mind, I looked into finding a solution to re-interpret and recycle this annoying literature.
TAKE ME AWAY is a set of four books forming a round pizza in a box. A statement as artefact in response to those information devices that intrude on the privacy of my home.
Enjoy the mail."
Letitia Fox: 'TheLeastEvent.com'
"I wanted to create a site that was unique and continued to be unique each time the user viewed it. This site is based on Latham's original website, which used one of his 'One Second Drawings' as a background and used some of the dots as the navigation. My site is different in that a new one second drawing is randomly generated each time the user clicks on the screen. I like the idea of the user experiencing a different set of events each time they visit the site.
Latham was an artist who was never restricted by one media, and if he was still here today I think he would have been as excited about the possiblities of the web as I am. More than any other media it is brings the specialisms of art and science together, and Latham's theories and ideas are going to become increasingly relevent. I think it is important to continue to document and archive his work online so future generations can be as inspired by his work and develop his ideas."
Marc Cowan: 'Impulse'
"When I first encountered John Latham I had never heard of him and only met in responding to the letting of an apartment above Flat Time HO where he lived. Outside art circles and in his hometown of Peckham, I felt that many people had not heard of John Latham. Millions of people are crammed into cities often not knowing anything about the person next door. John Latham introduced spray paint to the art world, advanced science theories and was generally very interesting and interested. Until last September I didn't even know he existed.
I have created a navigational system from the surrounding area to Flat Time HO to create an awareness of John Latham in the community, at the same time as guiding them there. The navigational system acts as a sequential set of posters and stickers that change according to the distance from the house. Within a 1-mile radius you are able to track your way to the house (without a map).
Starting points can take place from:
o Camberwell Green,
o Burgess Park Pond
o Ruskin Park/Denmark hill Station
o East Dulwich Station
o Queens Road Station
It has been said that Latham felt “the way we present the world in the visual arts is unlike our experience of life itself”...which “leaves a space-based record of time-based idea”. Creating a sequential poster campaign takes a step in the direction of addressing this problem.
Each poster is created from screen-printed black dots in a spray painted form representing John's theories of the least event (minimum change of state in minimum duration).
I was keen to only present the posters through fly posting, as I believe that this reflects John's anti-establishment attitude (evident in his borrowing, chewing up, and returning of a book from St Martin's Art College library in the 60s). Since his introduction of spray paint to the arts, many have taken this medium to the streets in the form of stencilling and graffiti. It seemed fitting to publicise John's exhibition alongside such work, as homage to his influence on youth culture.
I would like to thank Margarida De Costa (and studio), Stewart Murrow and Tom Drury without which I would have been left twiddling my thumbs."
"For flat time house I'm creating a piece that pulls on images and ideas that I took away with me from the first visit to the house. The materials in John Latham's work and the ideas of construction- are taken from the books structures, splitting up books with glass, transforming them into spheres with plaster and expanding foam, and exploring these structures through distorting, stretching and pushing the book to its limits.
Through these experiments ideas have been found that, like my work, uses the joins, connections, seams and construction to deconstruct the process and components. Electrical Cable, fuses, plastic tubing, and glass deviders have led me to draw plans for a site-specific construction, that will go through the glass roof, above John's main studio named 'the hand' where he physically made a lot of work. The houses connection to the human body, applying areas in the house to correlating uses of body parts, links into ideas of joints between rooms, books and limbs. This is like an analogy for the underlying thought process which is visable when you see the house and the background to John's work.
By using paper, a light structure can hang from the ceiling and attach to the glass which can intersect the form, which will then come out of the conical glass roof and be visable from outside. Using materials that are in the garden I want to create a sense of pulling together parts of rooms with the outdoor space, the recycled materials- such as bicycle wheels and bricks, and recycled notions of books and ideas that John worked into each other."
Sarah Enderby: 'Unpeel'
"I am going to project a short video onto the beige muslin 'membrane' drape in the front window of the Flat Time House. The projection will be visible form both sides; from outside and inside the house and would especially stand out at night, catching the attention of passers by. This idea picks up on the dual-sided, transparent element of art that John Latham remained constant to. His questioning of the creation of the universe has always intrigued me, and his enthusiasm for the truth continues to inspire me. That explanations exist in questioning the nature of time and chance is something I pursue in my own work.
Books are time-based journeys; to John they represented thought; I consider video as our modern day form of literature and escapism. The video entitled 'Unpeel' considers patterns of movement over time, revealed using the movement of water. It highlights the powerful rhythmic overlap of image and sound and is accompanied by an optional static soundtrack. The piece is intended to be on loop rather than a sit-down affair. I like the idea of it being a small projection, as if it were almost to go unnoticed as another complex element in the face of 'the body'. In this context 'Unpeel' could be interpreted as the workings of the retina of the eye."
John Hill: 'Q-U Niddrie Woman'
"I came across John Latham's work just after I started my degree. His SKOOB towers of burning books from the 1960s caught my attention as very powerful and complex statements. As I read more about him and his work I saw how important the interrelation between his action, sculptural and theoretical work was. I was lucky enough to meet him at Flat Time Ho in December and hear more about his theories first hand. When the opportunity to produce work in his house based on what I learned came up I was very excited.
My piece relates to Latham's work with 'Niddrie Woman' in the 1970s. He proposed to turn several massive shale spoil heaps call Bings in central Scotland into artworks, placing giant book monuments on top. This work was never completed but remained important to him for many years. By researching this work in the Latham's papers and travelling to the site I hope to create an enhanced relationship between this work and his Time-Base theories."
Isabella Pitisci and Alicia Logan
"Artists Isabella Pitisci and Alicia Logan have collaborated for the first time to pay homage to the recently deceased artist John Latham.
Latham's interest in the existence / non-existence relationship within time is explored via the medium of sound. His voice and theories will echo around the garden, with emphasis put upon the strength and resolve which he had in searching for a universal answer, as the experience will rely upon the subjects’ ability to listen long enough for an answer to the end of one of his quotes.
One could argue that Latham's presence in their work is one of the longest roots, and they almost try to bring back his presence in relation to his theories on time. Times that have past almost exist through the sound to become part of the experience of present time. Furthermore because only bits are given, the universal whole of Latham’s theories is simply alluded to. Thus the figure of John almost becomes the spray paint on the side of the paper which is unseen, the score unfolding while being there all the time.
Their research is cut up and selected, but the whole of their research will not be represented in this piece and it is hoped by both artists that this project is an ongoing one."
Rachel McCowat Taylor: ' Flat Time House Man'
"I was lucky enough to be shown round the house by John Latham last year, and was struck by the way he talked about the house as a body. At the time I had been drawing a character called bookman, so it was logical to make ‘flat time house man’. Although dealing with many complex ideas I find much of Latham’s work very humorous, I hope to have captured a little of that humour in this piece."
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