Somewhere (artist collective)

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Somewhere is a multi-disciplinary UK-based creative organisation founded in 2001 by artist / film-makers Karen Guthrie (born 1970) and Nina Pope (born 1968) to produce and support projects with a concern for under-represented subjects, new audiences and innovative uses of media and technologies.

After studying together at Edinburgh College of Art, Pope & Guthrie completed MA's in London and began collaborating as artists in 1995, with their installation "Somewhere Over the TV" at the Collective Gallery in Edinburgh, followed by their live online travelogue "A Hypertext Journal" in March 1996,[1] which was one of the earliest blogs. One of the UK's earliest artists' websites, www.somewhere.org.uk has been online since 1996.

Somewhere has long-term collaborators including composer Tim Olden and technologist Dorian Moore. In 2008 Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope won the first ever Northern Art Prize Northern Art Prize.

Works[edit]

The Floating Cinema[edit]

In 2010/11 Somewhere was appointed as guest artists to programme and create content for the Floating Cinema, part of Up Projects' Portavilion series of temporary cultural spaces for London. Housed in a customised narrowboat designed by architects Studio Weave, the Floating Cinema is an Olympic Development Authority commission taking place across summer 2011 on London's East End canals. Guest speakers and performers aboard included Olympic polemicist Iain Sinclair, broadcaster Michael Smith (who premiered his directorial debut 'Drift Street' aboard) and nature writer Richard Mabey.

The project was recommissioned by the Legacy List (the charity leading the transformation of the former 2012 Olympic Park) to relaunch in 2013 with a new vessel designed by London architects Duggan Morris.

Jaywick Escapes[edit]

The third feature documentary produced and directed by Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope was also shot by the directors, in 2010/11. This atmospheric and poignant film follows the stories of a handful of residents of the blighted seaside town of Jaywick in Essex, cited in Government statistics as Britain's most deprived place. The film premiered at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in summer 2012.

What Will the Harvest Be?[edit]

In 2008 Somewhere gained a major public commission from London Borough of Newham to rejuvenate a barren site with Scheduled Ancient Monument Status close by the site of the 2012 Olympics in East London. The resulting proposal - What Will the Harvest Be? - became major project to create an unregulated, publicly accessible harvest garden where anyone could grow and harvest vegetables and flowers. Working with an active residents' group Friends of Abbey Gardens (FOAG) from spring 2009, the ruins of 19th-century housing and a medieval Cistercian gatehouse were stabilised and protected, and the plot was transformed with bespoke raised beds offering 1000 linear metres of growing space. The garden design was influenced by historical research (e.g. the Plaistow Landgrabbers' Triangle Camp & the legacy of Cistercian gardens) and includes many specially designed elements which create a spectacular public space. WWTHB? was initiated as a temporary site-specific project, and Somewhere also created a permanent design for the site. At the time of writing there are no plans to implement the permanent scheme. FOAG now manage the garden, holding numerous and diverse events for the community and visitors.

Living with the Tudors[edit]

The culmination of four years spent incognito within the UK historical re-enactment scene, "Living with the Tudors" is a documentary feature film shot entirely inside the 2007 Tudor (16th century) 're-creation' at Kentwall Hall in rural Suffolk (UK). Among the 500 volunteers spending their summer holidays re-creating every aspect of 16th century English life, the film meets a core of loyal and protective re-enactors whose real life stories form a fascinating counterpoint to their chosen Tudor roles. Shepherding through the thousands of paying visitors who keep Kentwell afloat is owner Patrick Phillips, a distantly paternal leader who describes the epic spectacles as his ‘game’.

Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future[edit]

In 2005 Somewhere co-produced Pope & Guthrie's first feature film, the unorthodox documentary travelogue "Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future", which was selected for the 2005 Edinburgh International Film Festival and has since become something of a cult success. The film followed a group of former Bata shoe factory workers travelling from the UK to Zlin in the Czech Republic, on a free coach trip hosted by the artists. The film sees the travellers visit the origins of the global shoe empire built up by early 20th century Czech entrepreneur Tomas Bata, in search of what his maxim 'We are not afraid of the future' can mean in a changing Europe. The film originated in a commission by agency Commissions East and the project has since become a benchmark for the contemporary public art genre. Bata-ville has screened in many festivals and art venues, including at Tate Britain.[2], SXSW Festival (Austin, Texas) 2006 and the Zlin Film Festival 2006.

TV swansong[edit]

In 2002, Somewhere produced the innovative media art project "TV swansong", the first live UK-based webcast of artists' projects commissioned specifically for the WWW, which took as its subject the demise of television in the age of convergent media. Featured artists were Graham Fagen, Jordan Baseman, Jessica Voorsanger, Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich, Rory Hamilton & Jon Rogers, Chris Helson, Giorgio Sadotti. The project is archived at www.swansong.tv.

/broadcast/ (29 pilgrims, 29 tales)[edit]

In 1999, Pope and Guthrie organised a contemporary version of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which was 1999's Tate Modern (bankside) Annual Event.

For this event [3] they chose 29 people to act as pilgrims, and on September 11th they broadcast the pilgrim's tales live in Borough Market (Southwark, London) as well as webcasting them from this site onto the net. The website is now a record of the day's events, containing all the pilgrims' tales and prologues. The website contains an index, "The order of the day" and there is a link to each pilgrim's home page, with details of the journeys they made to their chosen destinations within the project's 24 hour period.

The contributors tales were as follows: The Fisherman's Tale, The Poet's Tale, The Artist's Tale, Interlude, The Management Consultant's Tale, The Tarot Reader's Tale, The Parishioner's Tale, The Scientist's Tale, Interlude, The Van Driver's Tale, The Analysand's Tale, The Friend's Tale, The Punter's Tale, The Counsellor's Tale, The Nun's Tale, The Fiddle Maker's Tale, The Phototherapist's Tale, The Writer's Tale, Interlude, The Scholar's Tale, The Diver's Tale, The Environmental Manager's Tale, Interlude, The Passenger's Tale, The Shopper's Tale, and The Dilettante's Tale.

At the end of the 24 hours, there was a feast where all the pilgrims met at Borough Market, ate and talked about their experiences.

Other works[edit]

Other works include:

  • Almanac, Site-specific permanent commission for Cinema City in Norwich (2007)
  • Sometime Later, Commissioned by BBC & Arts Council England, web / film project at www.sometimelater.org.uk (2005/6)
  • Seven Samurai, Site-specific project for Echigo-Tsumari Triennale, Japan - curated by Grizedale Arts
  • A Fair Place, British Council Group show, Nouvelles Peripheries, Istanbul, Turkey (2001)
  • The Festival of Lying, Grizedale Show, Cumbria, in collaboration with Anna Best and Simon Poulter (2000)

External links[edit]