Furtherfield: Art, Technology and Social Change
Written by: Gráinne Regan
Finsbury Park; home to amateur footballers, joggers (with and without the silent “j”), families, power walkers, dogs and deviants. A fairly standard list of characters for a large London park.
Look a little deeper and you’ll uncover something more unusual however. Lurking in the shadows of Lidl and overlooking the boating pond are two inconspicuous brown brick buildings which house Furtherfield Commons and Gallery. Home to a group of artists, activists, creators and innovators, the Commons and Gallery are the nucleus of a wider online community which brings together art, technology and activism in the hopes of inspiring discussion and creativity.
The group was founded in 1996 by Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett in response to the Young British Artists movement that was dominating the art scene in London at the time. Basically, if you weren’t buddies with Charles Saatchi it was a little tricky to get your name out there. Using the Internet in its earliest form, they distributed their work and connected with other likeminded people who were interested in the idea of collaboration and “disrupting the norm”. Since then, the Internet has morphed beyond all recognition into a powerful, #filtered, data hungry beast. But that in itself has fuelled the direction that the project has moved, focusing on the impact that constantly being connected is having on our lives.
Since the project was set up they have hosted a range of exhibitions, workshops and community outreach projects, all of which aim to get participants and visitors talking about something more than the X Factor – not that there’s anything wrong with closely monitoring how high Simon Cowell wears his trousers on a Saturday night – but you get the idea.
The concepts and themes that the group address can appear spookily complex and are often accompanied by lengthy paragraphs of blurb laden with multi-syllabic words, but ultimately they are themes which affect us all in some way and deserve to be discussed.
The current exhibition, Deep Water Web, which has been extended until October 30th, takes global warming and capitalism as its central themes in a collaboration between London based artist Steven Ball and Sydney based John Conomos. Encapsulating all that Furtherfield stands for, this exhibition is the result of a global collaboration facilitated by the Internet, documenting the impact of capitalism on our environment. Apocalyptic images of flooded London streets greet visitors to the gallery and the exhibition: encouraging conversation by presenting a database of real examples linking economic decisions and the world’s ecology. Live streams of the Thames and Sydney Harbour bring the message home as you realise the global impact of damaging our fragile planet. Dark.
John Conomos will be in the Gallery on Saturday 29th October at 2pm to give a talk about the exhibition before it closes, so be sure to head along if this sounds of interest.
Central to the group’s ethos is community engagement. They want to remove the air of exclusivity that may prevent people from getting involved in art. The Gallery is open every Saturday and Sunday during exhibitions and passers-by are encouraged to drop in, with staff members ready and willing to answer any questions you might have.
In addition, there are a number of talks and workshops that Furtherfield host or promote, details of which can be seen by checking out the Events section of their website.
To find out more, head to www.furtherfield.org and sign up to the group’s newsletter. Don’t be put off by the mish mash of content and complicated terminology that litter the site. Get along to one of their events and prepare to get lost, baffled, engaged, amazed and impressed in conversation with people who really care about what they’re discussing!
Photos by Pau Ros
It’s pelting it down, it’s cold, the Arsenal v Everton match just finished. We raced to Hammerton Brewery for their monthly taproom opening, dodging and weaving our way through the masses of footie fans emerging from the Emirates Stadium after a good two hours of watching a bunch of blokes kick a ball around a field. Football fan I am not. After sweeping through a maze of cobblestone side streets on a forced detour, we finally arrived to Roman Way. We wiped away the sweat and rain running down our faces, parked our bikes up and headed into the darkness. Hidden away from prying eyes in an industrial estate just a few streets parallel to HMP Pentonville, you’d never even know the brewery was there. Thankfully, our contributor Emmie informed us of this piss-up in a brewery last year so we’re in the know, you know?
National disability charity, Sense, has championed the development of arts activities tailored towards individuals with sensory impairments. Coining the term ‘sensory arts practice’, their latest project explores the relationship between music and art through the creative expression of nine artists to be showcased iat artsdepot in Finchley next Thursday 1st February.
When danger reared its ugly head, Brave Sir Robin turned and fled… to his namesake pub on Crouch Hill for a craft beer and a top-notch meal from kitchen residency Cue Point. Warm globes of light hang above intimate booths, specially commissioned wall design offers a rich backdrop, and cosy sofas, deep armchairs and plentiful cushioned stools ensure no one is without a seat.
Flocking to Holloway Road on one of the many Sundays that we’ve spent at the Nag’s Head Car Boot Sale, we spotted a new Vietnamese place called Pho Hot getting ready to open up their doors. Being the nosy folks we are, we peeked inside and spotted a menu. Banh Mi was on it. It's a baguette, but not as you know it. Glory of all glories! It’s been far too long since I last consumed this distinctive sarnie and I'm happy as Larry that there's a new Banh Mi joint on my doorstep.
Baby, it’s getting cold outside, and what better way to aide our frostbitten noses than a chat to a professional skin person? We’re talking to Lee Garrett, founder of The Garrett Clinic, accomplished skincare specialist and heralded by many as the UK’s leading Skin Guru. Read on to find out his insider tips for surviving this winter season with your skin looking as radiant as the moon that breaks a stormy night.
Joined by over 50 other artists incorporating printmaking, painting, digital art, photography and small-scale sculpture, Tomorrow’s World presents us with utopias, dystopias, predictions, prophecies and visions of the future. We hit up the private view last Friday and it was pretty damn bleak, in the best sense of the word.
Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.
Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon
Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.
Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.
Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.
Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!
By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.
Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.