July 3, 2012

my REAL wall photobooth edition

I met an old university friend this weekend who I haven’t seen for a few years and we went out to the South Bank to catch up on old times.

I knew I had some postcards to put up on my REAL wall, so they came with me, and we went to the Festival of the World exhibition, which was running at the Royal Festival Hall.

They have a really cool little machine there, like a retro 4 photograph passport photo machine, but inside it’s got a digital camera and it prints the 4 photos really quickly.

Anyway, they have this machine and a wall with plastic photo pockets, where people would put their photos after they were taken. The machine is free to use and the wall is rammed with photos, it’s great.

I realised that we could make an artwork within an artwork with this, so me and Dave grabbed your post and read them in the machine as it took our picture – Lovely!

Can you spot yours on here?

June 28, 2012

Real Network Profile Timeline

I’m currently taking part in a postal project in the centre of London called welovereal. They give me a “plot” and I need to fill it by sending post in. My first piece of post has to be a profile, for which the organisers have sent a preformatted profile page requesting a name, location and bio.

I’ve decided that my plot will be a pretty thorough history of my REAL wall, so I wanted to get off on the right foot with the profile, giving the audience not just the information requested, but a neat biographic preview of what is to come over the month.

Facebooks timeline format suited this idea and approach perfectly, but I did have to totally ignore the layout provided.

It was such a lovely trip back down memory lane to dig out these major events, and the whole thing took just over 4 hours to complete

June 27, 2012

REAL Social Networking – Your mailart needed for a BIG London showing! URGENT

I’ve been given a public space to display mailart at a new mail project that’s opened in the very centre of London. The project is called Welcome to Real, and bills itself as the physical first network to be run in the post. Regular readers of my REAL wall may have a little something to say about that…

my REAL wall - It's elementary you know

Anyway, the idea of this project, sponsored by Royal Mail, is that they have a public display space in a pretty prominent place in the centre of London and they are giving a number of lucky folk “plots”, which are little pieces of space to display stuff that is to be sent in by post. I’ve been given plot 45 to display in and I shall be running my REAL wall at that address until the end of the show, which runs til the 27th July.

I shall be doing a retrospective/live performance of my REAL wall, showing all the awesome stuff I’ve been sent over the years. You of course can take part and fill up my plot too mailartists and readers, just send all your mail to me this month at my plot address, which is…

my REAL wall, Plot 45, REAL, The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, 1-2 Royal Opera Arcade, London, SW1Y 4UY, UK

If you’ve sent to me in the past, keep your eyes on www.myrealwall.comand http://www.welcometoreal.co.uk/plot/plot-45/ to see if your post makes a reappearance and if you’re sending in you will definitely make an appearance!


June 27, 2012

my REAL wall presents… 5 Postcards exhibition, mailart call and website!

Regular readers of the blog will know that I like to mix business and pleasure and this week I was at it again. As you may know I work at the University of Roehampton as the e-learning advisor to the department of Education. Earlier this year, one of the lecturers in my department, Sue came to me and asked for a hand designing a reflective activity for her course.

The course was delivered to 2 sets of students – one set were leaving teaching, and the other set were entering teaching. The aim of the activity was to get students to think about their experience of school, and to reflect on how their school experience had influenced their lives.

Initially, being higher education, the assignment was a single 1000 word essay on an incident that happened to them that stood out from their school years, but Sue and I both realised that there was something not quite right about this activity.

So we sat down, thought through it and totally redesigned the activity. Instead of a wordy essay on a single incident, we opted to make postcard sized images representing 5 incidents from their school years, either as teachers or as pupils. The postcards were not assessed themselves, as that would have been unfair on the non-artists, but the students had to follow up the postcards with a 200 word writeup on each one.

Given the sensitive nature of the memories, we had to ensure that the students would feel safe to share their experiences and the use of images instead of words was one way that we achieved this. Using images the students were able to use icons and abstraction to build up their narrative, effectively telling their stories often without the need for words. Images were an excellent vehicle for expression of the emotive nature of these events.

In order to maintain this safety, we had another idea up our sleeves. When the students came in to the lesson, we had a postbox by the door and students dropped the cards into a postbox and went for coffee while Sue and I put the cards on the wall.

When they returned, they were told that if they wanted to share the story of their experience with the class they could come up, point to their card and tell the story. This way the students were able to abstain if they wished.

We heard some great stories, some really inspiring ones, some horrible stories and some totally unexpected ones too, like the one about the teacher who called his student Bob for a year.

Students fed back that this unusual activity was one of the most memorable and thought provoking activities that they had ever done.

The exhibition collected together all 230 postcards from all 46 students in both clases. I hand stamped all the labels and scanned each one personally and made them into a book too for the students to see.

The opening event in the library building was wonderful fun and was attended by teachers, teacher trainers and parents with their children as well as other members of the public and Sue provided the postcard-themed snacks and cakes.

Me and Sue are available for consultation on the use of postcards in teaching and learning, so if you are interested in using post in your classroom do get in touch and also check out my REAL wall’s educational offshoot Schoolswaps

This project was the most fun and thought-provoking educational project I’ve run this year, and we wanted to continue to investigate the 5 postcards experiences with YOU – the rest of the world. We couldn’t contain our excitement about it so we went out and bought www.5postcards.com and launch our first joint mailart call to the rest of the world.

The challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to illustrate 5 incidents that you can remember from school, using any media that you wish that will fit in the post 5 postcards. Once you’ve done this, just send them to us, either straight to the blog or in the post by going to this address http://5postcards.com/submit-your-5-postcards-here/ and we’ll share your 5 postcards with the world.

June 24, 2012

REAL to Real

Earlier this week I heard about a new social network that really tickled me. Called Real, the physical network, this new social network can be found at www.welcometoreal.com.

So what makes it different from other social networks, you may be wondering. Well Real is a project sponsored by Royal Mail which gives a select few people some wall space in a premium location in London. All that the people have to do in return fill that space by sending in Real post.

It’s a real wall to be filled with real post. Sound familiar?

Anyway, i’m not bitter, even about the bit where they say they’re the first real social network as I applaud any effort to connect people, especially using post, and i’m throwing my full support behind the project.

I’ve been given a plot to fill, plot 45, and the lovely folk at Real have sent me a welcome pack, complete with lots of awesome pre-paid envelopes. I have some ideas and will probably ask for your help to fill my plot, so watch this space!

I’ll get started on my first pieces for the plot tonight. In the meantime, I decided to take all the post out into the real world, so here is the contents of my inbox on the tube between Hammersmith and Goldhawk Road. I think it all looks very happy there.

if you want to help new full my plot and show London what postal social networking is really all about, drop me a line!

May 27, 2012

my REAL wall in Kent part 3

The last in the series of REAL walls taken in a park in Kent, this one features work by Jen Staggs, Stripygoose, Limner, Mary England and an unknown artist.

Me and Elena took a little time out at the end of our walk to send replies to everyone who we posted up here, so hopefully by now you’ll all have received a piece in the post

May 26, 2012

my REAL wall in Kent part 2

I really liked this little park we went walking in. They had these cool little wooden insects and animals everywhere and lovely scenery. It all made for a very appropriate backdrop for displaying some of the work from awesome mailartists that I’ve got for you. What a treat!

On the wall today we welcome back Dumpsterdiversanonymous, who is not only one of my all time favourite collage artists but also carves a MEAN rubber stamp. She sent me this New Years card at the start of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. Next to her you can see a lovely collage from Ruckus, who I would dearly love to see more of in my postbox.

Heleen de Vaan from Holland is the next one along the leg and the green one is the 1001st piece (of 365) from Katerina Nikoltsou, who is possibly the most prolific mailartist around at the moment. Now that #1001 is in, she’s going to stop numbering, but I have no doubt that she’ll keep creating en masse.

Possibly the only person I know who can keep up with this rate of art production is Mim4art, who is possibly mine and Elena’s best friend on the mailart scene. We’ve met twice, once on our wedding, when her and Chuck came to visit, then again in Paris when we went to visit them. She’s lovely and we can’t wait to pop over to Richmond, Virginia to see her.

Finally on the wall we have a piece by Kiera Pannell, who seems to have endless talents. Not only is she an awesome collage and drawing artist she was also a maths teacher too. Dewi told me when we met (he came over to stay in our house) she’s possibly the coolest person he’s ever met. I don’t doubt that.

Thanks to everyone for all the awesome post as ever. 🙂 Our postbox is always happy over here

May 13, 2012

my REAL wall in Kent part 1

I haven’t posted up a REAL wall for months and the pile of incoming mail is about 3 inches high so this weekend, when Elena took me out, we made sure to pack all the carryable post into the bag and our travelling blu-tac and kept our eyes open for nice public wall space.

As we were walking in the countryside, there weren’t that many buildings, so we found some wooden sculptures to stick your postcards to.

All of these postcards are from members of the Mailart 365 group.

March 26, 2012

British Summer Time arrives on my REAL wall 2012

I’m not great with winter and this winter seems o have dragged on right the way through spring. not really sure that my little Vietnamese body is really built for this sort of thing.

Today the clocks finally went forward and I dared to venture outside, where I put up the first outdoor REAL wall since getting here to Kingston. And what a wall it is!

If you look closely enough you’ll see contributions from some established mailart legends like JJAltheway, with her final piece from mailart 365! What an adventure it’s been JJ! I too feel kinda gutted that you’re not posting everyday and I can only imagine the sense of emptiness (I’m still stuck on 140/365) There’s a Valentines day card from Laura Podob and Mrs Thundercat appears on there all the way from Holland too.

As well as the established mailartists, there is also one piece I’m REALLY proud of, and that’s the very first appearance of a new mailartist called Stripeygoose, who is now on #25/365 over at mailart 365. The reason I’m really proud of this particular artist is because I work with her and we’ve worked together on all sorts of projects. There’s her work in the bottom right had corner, reminiscing of Wimbledons Big Draw. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Stripeygoose had signed up for MA365, and am still reeling that, 3 years on my REAL wall still inspires new artists to make and send post!

The sun is shining in Kingston and I’m smiling broadly 😀

March 3, 2012

my REAL wall presents…Using Postcards on the Art Education PGCE at TMRoehampton

I had a hand in putting together the first Teachmeet at Roehampton, the university where I work and decided that doing the tech bits and the organising wasn’t enough work for me, so decided to present 2 presentations too. One of the presentations was on the use of postcards on the secondary art PGCE (teacher training course) last year.

The original post, with video and powerpoint presentation slides is up on the teachmeet site at http://tmroehampton.posterous.com/andy-hoang-presents-7-minutes-on-using-postca (yes I put this up too – can’t get enough of all that lovely work)

I mainly yabber on about how postcards are a modern day alternative to all that electronic noise our children are used to these days. As much as I love the internet, I do still strongly believe that REAL tangible communications are key to a happy life as humans