i took a bundle of photos for 80s rewind festival for festival annual 11, commissioned by independents united and have uploaded a dozen here for those of you who remember the 80s! the early eighties were actually fantastic for music but it would be fair to say that none of the good stuff was at this festival but a lot of dressing up and fun seemed to be had by all the punters...
it was a sad day when mary anne-hobbs show stopped on radio one but i tuned in to xfm in the car the other day and there she was... turns out she has her own show and a new one starting with a bundle of guest mixes online...
just back from greenbelt which everyone seemed to think was a great festival - congrats to jenny and team! i hardly got to a single thing - was either talking to friends or talking with people interested in cms pioneer training . for peple who attended the two grace services most of the liturgy pieces from yearn are here (the adult version which was made more family friendly) and we can add the confession, and the pieces from love thy 6 billion neighbours are here.
mirazozo is a colourscape construction lit solely by daylight and designed by architects and kept up by being filled with air pumped in and through it. chilled sound plays inside and it's delightful. these photos are all taken on my phone which couldn't seemingly handle the colour saturation but i rather like it because of that... i encountered it at edinburgh festival.
doug gay has a new book out remxing the church: towards an emerging ecclesiology which is absolutely a must read. i found myself very moved by it, no doubt because i have shared so much of the journey that doug is mapping and reflecting on.
it's a work of practical theology that explores 5 moves in a creative structure/narrative - auditing, retreival, unbundling, supplementing and remixing the emerging church. without unpacking them all, let me pick one example - unbundling. doug takes the notion of unbundling from software packages and suggests that having audited its inherited low church protestantism and then retrieved all sorts of treasures in the catholic tradition the emerging church was faced with the challenge of realising that some of the practices and theo-logics that seemed worth retrieving were then tricky to negotiate especially in relation to church order and ministry around issues such as ordination and the eucharist.
the emergers realise sometimes with a degree of shock and dismay, sometimes with a casual shrug of their shoulders, that the guardians of catholic tradition are fiercely committed to the principle that browser and operating system belong together in one 'bundle'.
equally there is an unbundling of belief and practice going on from inherited evangelical 'bundles' - it cuts both ways. so how far are linkages between belief order and practice theologically necessary? this isn't a pithy work or a pithy set of questions. it really does drive to the heart of what is going on and what is at stake. and doug uncovers some very creative resources to justify unbundling in a way that remains faithful to tradition or at least can make a claim to catholicity. for example he draws on moltmann and volf to discuss apostolic procession. and he uses what is an amazing resource - lamin sanneh's translation theme explored in translating the message (one of my favourite mission books ever which by the way the first chapter of is online here as a pdf free) to show what a key resource missiology is because those crossing cultures have had to explore the unbundling of gospel and culture.
what the book is driving towards is reflecting on ecclesial practice into the future and what doug calls a hermeneutical ecclesiology. he has a passion for a generous and humble ecumenism and thinks that the emerging church has some instincts and clues to help point the way. i so identify with this theme. it's a hard journey doug is pointing to and in some ways a call to maturity to a movement. i personally think it's the direction that has to be embraced if there is to be any kind of future for what has been emerging. i simply don't think the voices that call for leaving the church writ large to be the latest greatest radical thing on the edge wash - i'm actually rather bored and tired of them. i sound rather pompous there - sorry about that! i like things at the edge and they can be renewing and are a way to remix as well but i'm uncovinced that the future is there.
he concludes by outlining some church pragmatics - i.e. implications for practice such as being a pilgrim church of disciples, mission shaped, liturgically versatile, political-prophetic and so on. i was excited by the picture being painted of the church being beckoned into the future in the apostolic procession. and everywhere i go and turn at the moment the language of prophetic imagination and mission is confronting me.
anyway see what you think. i get called a fellow grandfather of alt worship in the intro which made me smile - am i really that old?! and the cover image is a photo i took at slot festival a few years back...
thank you doug - the book is wonderful. you have been an inspiration to me personally over the years and nothing has changed there!
pechakucha - no i'd not heard of it before but greenbelt has two evenings with people presenting in the pechakucha format of 20 slides giving a spiel for 20 seconds on each one. i am giving one (as is steve collins and presumably about 5 others) on sat night 8pm called small adventures on my approach to photography
silent pilgrimage - pick up a set of headphones and follow this year's trail which has been put together by proost and is all spoken word on the theme of home exploring longing, wandering, exile, and homecoming. we have three poets - pádraig o tuama, harry baker and chris goan - should be pretty good!
DJing - i confess i loved playing tunes in the wine bar a couple of years back and so had to say yes when mike rose and i were invited to play tunes in the beer tent on friday night. i think our slot is from round about 9:15-10:30pm. expect a pretty chilled selection - horizontal dancing. whether you'll be able to hear anything in there above the chat i have no idea! but at least come and say hi and buy us a beer :-)
grace are taking part in the worship programme as ever with two services and an installation. yearn riffs on the parable of the prodigal son on sat at 12 noon (which sadly clashes with harry's spoken word show in the big top - grrrrr) and love thy six billion neighbours on monday explores our planet as home at 2pm and we are adding kitchen to the horsebox installation on home.
cms have a stand in g-source and pioneer training will be one of the things featured. do come and say hi or if you want to meet me to chat about it i will happily see you in the tiny tea tent or bar. there's a workshop in there at 5pm on saturday which i am taking part in along with guys from ripon college on ordained pioneer ministry.
...and i'll be taking a photo along to the photoswap i mentioned below
but no doubt i will be mainly talking to friends old and new from near and far thinking i really must go to something!
the last couple of years at greenbelt there has been a photoswap. it does exactly what it sounds like. and you get a photo exhibited over the weekend. i have taken part the last two years and no doubt will again. here's some blurb on it
Bring your photograph along on the first evening of the festival and see it hung as part of an exhibition that will last all weekend.Bring your friends to see your work, and eavesdrop as people try and understand your "motivation".Then, on the final evening, watch as your fellow photographers fall over each other for the privilege of taking home your art and sticking it on the fridge.You bring a photo, you take one back. Simple. Inspirational.
i took a photo of another lightbulb that was in the corridor of one of the buildings i visited for another exhibtion in edinburgh
ron arad's curtain call at the roundhouse is totally brilliant! it is a huge curtain made of translucent elastic/plastic tubes that form a huge circle inside which movies are projected onto in the round. a bundle of artists have been commissioned and together make up two hours of material that plays through. the challenge for the artists i assume is how to make the most of the context - a huge round screen. greyhounds racing round, a huge circular piano keyboard, wonderful immersive animations and patterns are some of the ideas on display. my favourite and seemingly quite a few other peoples is david shrigley's walker who simply walks round, pauses and sighs i took a little movie on jen's camera which you can see above.
and you donate what you can. the roundhouse us one of my favourite venues in london and this seems a perfect way to celebrate five years since it's relaunch. it works perfectly in the space. the evening we were there there was also a performance of experimental music and projections and various things are going on like that. you must go and see it if you have the chance - it's on ujntil 29 august i think. belgos is over the road so a couple of belgian ales with joel made for a perfect night out in this wonderful city london...
a plus was that there didn't seem to be any embargo on taking photographs which made a refreshing change. the screen of course is the envy of alt worship groups everywhere - what could be a better environment for worship?!
curating worship has been out a few months now in the usa but it was nice to have a copy land on the doormat to see. i hope it sparks some imagination around worship leading, planning and practice in the usa. it has come out at a similar time to mark pierson's book the art of curating worship and i think the two are very different but complement each other well. i had a scout around to see if any more reviews were out there and found some so have updated the reviews page with a selection of comments here. broadly speaking the reviews are very encouraging. the two negativeish ones perhpas unsurprisingly are from evangelical magazines or sites.
if you come across any reactions to the book stateside do let me know.
as well as the david mach exhibition i meant to say i had visited a bundle of exhibitions in the edinburgh art festival which i really enjoyed. a particular highlight and surprise was stumbling across lineage at edinburgh printmakers (partly to get out of the rain) and absolutely loving the prints by all the artists but julian opie in particular. he had these lenticular landscapes that were amazing - a kind of three dimenisonal print. this page doesn't even begin to give the impression of what they are like but you'll get a vague idea of the effect here.
then the other part of edinburgh i discovered was some of its brilliant coffee particularly as it seemed to rain for virtually the whole time i was there so i needed shelter! there are quite a few independent coffee shops - but my recommendations would be for a place to sit and have breakfast urbanangels, for a cheap lunch and good vibe and decent coffee black medicine, but for simply the best coffee you will get in edinburgh artisan roast is in every way totally amazing! no idea how it rates on glasgow's best coffee, but this article helped me out in edinburgh...
(oh and yes i did visit some comedy shows, free fringe and all that!...)
in edinburgh one of the highlights for me was david mach's exhibition precious light. this is a project exploring the themes of the king james bible as part of the 400th year celebrations. david says he is not a christian but finds the themes of the bible resonate with today's world in a way that he has loved exploring. he explores around 17 bible narratives with a mix of sculptures and collages spread through 5 floors of the exhibition. he has set up studio there and a team are working on a huge collage of the lord's supper to be added in september (the exhibition runs until mid october). i came across david mach's incredible scultpure of christ on the cross - die harder - at gloucester cathedral last year. in a similar vein he has created golgotha which is in the entrance to the exhibition and the only piece you are allowed to photograph - i have added a set here. it is a really powerful exhibition - do go if you possibly can. and the catalogue is incredibly well done - i had to buy it...
david's approach seems to be to make his art from everyday stuff - coathangers, cut outs of magazines... and matches. he has been sculpting heads from matches for decades and they look amazing. for this exhibition he has done christ's head and the devil. the devil looks particularly brilliant. at the start of the exhibition he set fire to the devil in what he describes as a creative act - creative in that it doesn't destroy the piece but makes something else beautiful. he talks about it here on youtube and you can see the devil's head being set alight. this created quite a controversy in the run up to the exhibition because his intention was also to burn christ's head in what he sees as a creative act. i guess it's unsurprising that it caused a stir. like a lot of these kinds of things it depends on how you read it but a burning effigy in the daily mail says one thing. a construction of christ that might stop us seeing other images of christ being burned to see beyond it is another. he may still burn or have burned christ's head - i couldn't catch the latest. pete rolins would love this as the ultimate act of pyrotheology perhaps?!
because harry had a show in the edinburgh festival free fringe i decided to take a few days off work, head up and surprise him by showing up and enjoy some of the festival while there. his show was wonderful - delivered with a lot of confidence and a lot of laughs and an hour whizzed by. it's weird to think that a year ago he only really had two proper poems. i remember when he said he was going to do a gap year focused on poetry wondering how that was going to work but it's been an amazing year and brilliant to watch… if you are in edinburgh next week his show is back on from mon to thurs.
if you've not been to edinburgh festival there is an astonishing amount on in all sorts of arts. there's the official festival, the fringe festival (paid gigs but relatively cheap), the edinburgh art festival (more about in another post), and the free fringe. when you arrive there are so many programmes to pick up it's really quite overwhelming the amount of choice at any one time. and events run in virtually any available space. lots of the free fringe events are in small rooms in basements or the back of pubs like the one harry is in here which seats around 30 people.
[update: since i wrote this entry harry has retained his title in the edinburgh fringe poetry slam winnng for the second year in a row - congrats! and how about this for a wonderful five star review of his show by what's on stage]
walking through islington to meet jen to go for a meal to celebrate 24 years being married. 5 riot vans and bikes drive by - just about got the iphone out in time to take a photo. a reminder we live in strange times...
[update: little did i know that was the start of a horrendous night to unfold in london. by the time we returned to ealing the station was shut, sirens wailing and gradually twitter flowed with news of fire, looting, cars overturned and so on in haven green, ealing broadway, west ealing - we stayed in and live about 15 minutes walk away. we could hear helicopters overhead and sirens through the night along with the smell of burning on the wind. what a sad night!]
having shown you one of angelika's portraits of me here's one of mine of her
as i blogged below, in the ealing photography group we had a recent challenge whereby we were paired up with someone in the group to take photos of each other. here is one of the ones i took of angelika [the one i liked best angelika hated so i agreed not to show it in public!]. often when i have taken photos of people i have simply captured them in a natural pose or setting. but somewhat inspired by anton corbijn's work in star trak i decided to try and get out of my comfort zone and be a bit more directive with location, instructions and props. in this instance angelika had a mask hanging on the wall so i asked her to take it down and wear it and she then produced a couple of others of which this was one. her favourite was this one.
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.