There were two very comprehensive shows by Yto Barrada and Bedwyr Williams; leaving the rather pleasant problem of being spoilt for choice for material to contemplate.

My visit actually commenced outside the gallery, on the “IKON Slow Boat” narrow boat cinema where I viewed a screening of “Balcon Atlantico” by Hicham Falah and Chrif Tribak (Morroco, 2003; duration 20 mins) [all the films being screened had been selected by Yto Barrada]. This was an interesting piece, subtitled in French and English, that captures a series of excerpts of fleeting conversations that took place on sea front, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. At times it was difficult to follow the duel subtitles, especially when there was also arabic text on screen; but this confusion did actually resonate with the rest of the piece. I thus wonder whether or not it was intentional; either way it did not prove to be too much of a distraction. Watching the film in a long boat, that although mored still moved a little on the camel water, resonated with the film and made for a more immersive experience.

It was interesting to see the Bedwyr Williams “My Bad” show in the light of his “walk a mile in my shoes” that I had seen in Ipswich eight days earlier. I was impressed by how effectively BW‘s work had transformed the gallery spaces where they were situated; I especially enjoyed how he had even transformed the entrance to the whole gallery building by his “Ikon Under Siege” (2012) piece:

This formed a commentary on how the arts are being effected by all the cuts in the current economic climate. I enjoyed his intelligent use of humour, or satire, as he performs his social commentary; this leads me to again consider what place, if any, does/ should honour and satire have in my own work. It has also been interesting to later read Laura Cumming’s review of “My Bad”.

I found my self even more effected by the other show – which I found myself viewing multiple times: Yto Barrada “RIFFS”. I was especially moved by the two films: “Beau Geste” (2009, 3min) and “Hand-Me-Downs” (2011, 14min). It was also good to subsequently find a 7min film that introduced Yto Barrada as the Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2011. I was drawn to the detail in her large square format photographic prints that draws the viewer into examining the apparently unremarkable scenes in some detail that rewards by revealing almost hidden layers of detail and meaning which are sometimes signposted by her use of titles. I am attracted by the contemplative nature of these works and this has reaffirmed my ambition to be able to make such a significant and contemplative show with my own work that deals with my concerns for social ethics.