Les Commandos Percu avec La Companie Elixir seen at Clermont Ferrand photographed by Andrew Butler

As far as I can make out this is Les Commandos Percu avec La Companie Elixir we saw them at Clermont Ferrand last night. Wow!

Let’s make it clear yesterday’s trip from Paris wasn’t easy, I have never managed to retreat from the place correctly. The journey was fraught with the elements. I have never been so wet on a bike, NEVER! And after that I have relived my greater motorcycling dislike, riding through wind. Or should I say cowering behind trucks whilst passing across the wind farms of the Massif Central.

Anyway, the journey into Clermont Ferrand did nothing to dispel the preconceptions of the place from fifth form Geography. But, step into the old centre and there is a different place, old, interesting a bit knarly.

And after the first couple of drinks, whilst off in search of food this is what we saw against a backbeat of great music and a backdrop of extinct volcanoes.

I will try and find out more…

Leica M9

Arts Award (Arts Council England) Dance and Performance Photography

Arts Award (Arts Council England) dance and performance photographed by Andrew Butler.

An awfully long time ago I had the pleasure to work with Arts Council England designing the original brand for the Arts Award. The project started around 2002 (ouch) and I’m pleased to see that much of the original work and look seems to have passed the test of time.

As part of the project I travelled around various locations in the country photographing young people involved in Arts Award projects. The photographs here are from two events, one in Bradford, West Yorkshire and one in Newquay, Cornwall.

I’m actually doing a bit of computer housekeeping at the moment, pulling everything together and getting a double level backup system in place, which is why I came across them.

They were shot in what for me was the early days of digital on a first generation Nikon at ISO 1600 hand-held, no flash and many around 1/15sec or slower. I’ve always loved working at these speeds, there is a challenge to it and an unprdictability.

Sponsored by destiny – Vimeo: Just Because

Another Vimeo delight Slagsm̴lsklubben РSponsored by destiny by Tomas Nilsson. This appeals to my graphic sensibilities and is also quite funny in places. Tomas says,

School assignment to reinterpret the fairytale Little red ridning hood.Inspired by Röyksopps Remind me.

Music: Slagsmålsklubben, Sponsored by destiny

Animation: Tomas Nilsson

Feel free to watch in HD at Vimeo

Berlin, Everyday’s Like a Sunday Here

bauhaus posters

One of the reasons I ride a motorbike is that I don’t like sitting in traffic, and when sat in traffic in Exeter I may well rant,

“if I am sat in traffic at least it could be because everyone’s going somewhere interesting!”

No such problem in Berlin, the argument falls over on both sides. It is difficult not to find somewhere interesting but if you are in traffic you are unlikely to get stuck: these roads are wide, really w-i-d-e. As a pedestrian it is wise to plan your journey across one well, there’s not a huge amount of traffic but you will need to cover ground at pace.

But these wide empty roads are one reason why it feels like everyday’s a Sunday here.

I like Cycling – but

Now I like cycling but I’m not sure about the Berlin cycling scene. I did go into a seriously cool little bike shop but, if I may refer briefly to the exhibit to the left, WTF?

There is an overland gas pipeline in Berlin, a rather jaunty pink affair, it travels throughout parts of the city, up and over roads, along the central reservation. What we are looking at here would seem to be a fairly close relation, indeed the lovechild of the gas line. This ‘bike’ is not so much a ‘step-through’, more a ‘trip-over.’

Part bike - part gas pipeline

Part bike - part pipeline

The cyclists here are seriously militant too. Once you have acclimatised to the semiotics of the cycleways (basically a tone or two darker than the host footpath) things aren’t too bad, but stray onto the dark grey stuff as a pedestrian at your own risk and when the bicycles are made out of gas pipeline they will hurt.

However these upright cyclists are well dressed, not in lycra and are another reason why every day feels like a Sunday in Berlin.
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So we are in Berlin for a few days, East Berlin and as ever walking , walking, walking.

As before the photos are from a little Canon Ixus 70, yes at some point I really must get my own travel camera.

The images here are from an afternoon’s walk from Natalie’s apartment in Rosenthaler Pl, culminating in a visit to the Neue Nationalgalerie. The gallery houses an impressive collection: Beckmann, Ernst, Dix. I first saw many of these works in the ICA London, many many years ago: I suspect the late 1970s.

Sofern der gesamte Museumsbau anlässlich großer Ausstellungen nicht als Sonderausstellungsfläche genutzt wird, zeigt die Neue Nationalgalerie hier ihr Werkspektrum von der klassischen Moderne bis zur Kunst der 1960er und 1970er Jahre. Sammlungsschwerpunkte sind Arbeiten von Vertretern des Kubismus, des Expressionismus, des Bauhaus, des Surrealismus der Gruppe Zero und der amerikanischen Farbfeldmalerei sowie Künstler wie Pablo Picasso, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix und aus der Zeit nach 1945 Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Barnett Newman, Morris Louis, etc.

Of course what tops it off for me is that the gallery was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Littered with Barcelona chairs, the gallery quite simply works (well it does for me anyway.)

Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin

Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin

The Sandpit by Sam O’Hare: Vimeo

Another great Vimeo moment here, a day in the life of New York City, in miniature. This short by aero director/ VFX artist Sam O’Hare is inspired by films like Koyaanisqatsi

Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction 2010
Original Music:
composed by Human, co-written by Rosi Golan and Alex Wong.

Please view in HD and full screen for best effect.

SAM: It is shot on a Nikon D3 (and one shot on a D80), as a series of stills. I used my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 lenses for all of these shots. Most were shot at 4fps in DX crop mode, which is the fastest the D3 could continuously write out to the memory card. The boats had slower frame rates, and the night shots used exposures up to two seconds each. The camera actually has an automatic cut off after 130 shots, so for longer shots I counted each click and quickly released and re-pressed the shutter release after 130 to keep shooting.

ME: That has to be a lot of stills!

SAM: I shot over 35,000.

For more of this discussion about the shoot, camera, lenses and workflow, please see here.