Day 29

I woke up this morning and it's raining. I have had it in the back of my mind that it might rain tomorrow. But now it's at the front of my mind. The weather forecast isn't too bad, and I think we'll be ok. IN the end I didn't actually do the "final preparations" that I was planning to, but I was "sent" a helper for tomorrow. So I'm very excited about how the day will turn out. And it rained so much that there can't be any more water in the sky!

Day 28

I decided to do a little more "publicity" on Facebook, with a Poll.

At the studio I have printed the contact details on the reverse of the feuilletons, sprayed some frames with another coat of orange, made the "A Passage for Walter Benjamin" guest book, with a rather nifty piece of creativity to keep the book from flying away (see pics), and added some contact details to a box to hold the feuilletons, including a QR code for those people with Smartphones.

I will be keeping back three feuilltons, Editions 14, 15 and 24. These are for archiving, sending to OCA, and one for the WB centre in PortBou, which I will send after the event.

From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries

Day 27

Today I photocopied the "wrappers" that will go around the feuilletons. I went on an art gallery crawl, as there were around 15-20 galleries holding an opening this evening.

Day 26

Today I re-folded all the feuilletons into their correct orders, and printed the title and edition numbers, as well as signing them all. I've just realised I haven't dated them - so I'll print the date of the event onto them on Friday, when I also add the contact details on the back page.

From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries

I was also trying to work out if I could manage to put everything I need on my moto, so that I don't need to borrow anyone's car. I can't; but i realsied that it will all fit in a large suitcase, so I can use public transport instead. I realised that I prefer the idea of independence to relying on other people.

Finally, I've written a list of all the things I need to do or buy before Sunday. It's not very long, and everything will be done by Friday night!

Day 25

Busy day with work, so nothing done for this.

Day 24

I've made a map for the route of the event "A Passage for Walter Benjamin"

Map for "A Passage for Walter Benjamin"

View A Passage for Walter Benjamin in a larger map

I also completed another print shape on a WB line print:

From Breaking Boundaries

Day 23

Today I have brought together all the quote I want for the wrapper of the feuilleton. It is these wrappers, used to help distribute the newspapers, that WB often used to make his notes of for the Arcades Project.

How Beautiful is the street!

Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin ( 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German-Jewish intellectual, who functioned variously as a literary critic, philosopher, sociologist, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist.

Use the Feuilleton to guide you from the statue of Christopher Columbus to the Jardines de Walter Benjamin, where you will see some sculptures by the artist JD Holden (1965, Switzerland), made as a temporary memorial on the eve of Benjamin’s death in Port Bou, Spain.

In 1839 it was considered elegant to take a tortoise out walking.
This gives us an idea of the tempo of Flanerie in the arcades. [M3,8]

You are passing through a great city that has grown old in civilisation and your eyes are drawn upward, for in the public squares stand motionless figures, repeating to you the solemn legends of Glory, most heedless of men, the most unhappy or the vilest, a beggar or a banker; War, Science and Martyrdom. Some are pointing to the sky to which they aspired, others to the earth, from which they sprang. They brandish, or they contemplate, what was the passion of their life: a tool, a sword , a book, a torch. Even if you are the most heedless of men, this bronze phantom takes possession of you for a few minutes, and commands you, in the name of the past, to think of things which are not of the earth. Such is the divine role of sculpture. [J34,3]

Fees for feuilletons went as high as two francs per line. Authors would often write as
much dialogue as possible so as to benefit from the blank spaces in the lines. [U9,3]

An intoxication comes over the man who walks long and aimlessly through the streets. [M1,3]

The best way, while dreaming, to catch the afternoon in the net
of the evening is to make plans. The flaneur is planning. [M3a,2]

The Press brings into play an overabundance of information, which can
be all the more provocative the more it is exempt from any use. [M16a,1]

On the feuilleton: It was a matter of injecting experience - as it were, intravenously - with the poison of sensation; that is to say, highlighting within the ordinary experience the character of immediate experience. To this end, the experience of the big-city dweller presented itself. The feuilletonist turns this to account. He renders the city strange to its inhabitants. [m3,a2]

The student “never stops learning”; the gambler “never has enough”;
for the flaneur, “there is always something more to see.” [m5,1]

“Man as civilised being, as intellectual nomad, is again wholly microcosmic, wholly homeless,
as free intellectually as hunter and herdsman were free sensually.” [m5,6]

Rest assured that when Victor Hugo saw a beggar on the road, he saw him for what he is, for what he really is in reality: the ancient mendicant, the ancient friar that forbade ownership of property, subsisting mostly on alms, on the ancient road. [C5,1]

As long as there is still one beggar around, there will still be myth. [K6,4]

Days 19, 20, 21, 22

I've had some other priorities this week, including a meeting about a space for a large scale Abstract Heads exhibition next February, and another meeting about starting my Catalogue Raisonné. However, I have at last got a copy of "Arcades Project" by Walter Benjamin (Amazon), a rather fantastic (and huge) volume of notes Benjamin was working on for over a decade before he died. It's full of quotes which will give a certain depth to "A Passage for Walter Benjamin". These quotes will be on the wrapper of the feuilleton.

I've nearly finished these "newspapers". Felipe (a carpenter at the studio) said that they are full of information, which shows that they do work. When I showed them to Núria (the student who may do my Catalogue Raisonné) she took quite a while to figure them out, but got there in the end, identifying first the paving stones, then the AH Walter Benjamin outlines, and finally the embossed manhole covers. I am sure that people who come to the event will do things in a different way, as there will be more visual clues en route.

Also, through the Facebook Event Invitation, I have discovered that there is a conference in Port Bou on the same weekend that my event will take place. . This is organised by an association called "Walter Benjamin in Port Bou" and I will be sending them an archive of "A Passage for Walter Benjamin", and I hope that I will be able to archive one of the feuilleton with them.

Here are the prints I have completed these four days:

From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries

Day 18

A fabulous session in the studio, with three prints done; the arrow of the compass, and two paving slabs (probably smaller than you think!!) I

From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries

Day 17

Today I did the final AH woodcut, in black, and then made the woodcuts for the compass point motif. This will be in black and orange.This motif is to remind the audience that this work is about travelling, moving, direction, as well as looking. I´ve also dug out the remaining pavement tiles to add to the existing blue and orange ones which were the first prints done on the feuilleton. Originally I had planned to use bits of broken brick and rubble as used in the "Groundworks" series, but I feel it will be better to focus more clearly on the ground, and also the Groundworks series willl be donated to "PapergirlBCN" in November.

Day 16

In terms of the Breaking the Boundaries task today was about getting the orange AH woodcut done and then I also created a spray stencil with the dates of WB. I had to do a couple of attempts at this. The first idea was to use cut-outs of the letters and make a "reverse image" stencil, as I have with "NOTEVERYTHINGYOUSEEISART". This didn´t really work, so I then did a more traditional stencil. I used a cream paint for this part, to distinguish it from the black, blue and orange or the main imprints, but not to give it too much prominence.

Day 15

This was my second day of printing, and I completed the blue WB AH woodcut. It's looking quite impressive, thought the strength of the line is a bit hit and miss. It would be good to get more pressure on the paper, but I am concerned that if I do that, the embossing will disappear a bit. So for now I will continue just pressing by hand. I also worked out that I need to keep the papers in sets of three, or else I would get mighty confused about which print I have made for which feuilleton. So now I take a sheet out of the feuilleton, print it and put it on the top of the pile to dry. This means that I can only really do one print a day, which is frustrating, but I just don't have the space to do any more anyway.
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries

Day 14

Today I scribbled some thoughts about the transcendence of intervention as art.

The Passage to Walter Benjamin intervention has a trqansitory nature, but in a way all works of art are transitory. It's just that we can own some, but even these we look at fleetingly once a day, or worse, put them in our storage space. So it all ends up the same - we have a memory of something the may, or may not, remain as important in our lives. I've seen Dali's "Christ of St. John of the Cross" in Glasgow, and Carl Andre's "Flanders Fields" in Grenoble exactly once each. And for no more than say 5 minutes. But the feeling I had then is etched on my mind, in my memory. So the transitory nature of this event is just fine with me.

I've also managed to print the first couple of bits onto the 34 feuilleton that I will create:
From Breaking Boundaries

Day 13

I woke up this morning wondering if the word "passage" in Spanish (pasage) has the same double meaning it does in English. It does. So there will now be a "guestbook" for people to write or draw their thoughts about the event. This will be made from the same paper I am using for the feuilleton.

I've also just sewn the corners of a folded towel together for use in the embossing stage of the feuilleton creation process.

Eleanor and James have both made comments about a "poster" that I made (with some help from Amelia) for the event. Eleanor said "Jonathan I would say to cut out alot of the writing - the background information is really for extra reading for those who turn up in my view.
I would just have one of the extra passages of information or quotes - something to whet the appetite and intrigue.

So what it is, where, and so on - but above all - an image.

I think each project needs a signature image associated with it - something that somehow sums up what it is about - the same image you would send to a paper if they wanted one picture, or almost like a brand or logo. People remember an image.

In the poster there is no indication as yet as to what it is - it doesn't say art or scultpture exhibition or event - it could be a reading or theatrical performance or anything.

Something like "sculpture event" would make people turn up to see more.

Wish I could come and see."
To which I replied: "Eleanor.... thanks for all of that.... and you are absolutely right about the image... normally.... I actually wanted the words of Walter Benjamin to conjure an image.... and so I'm going to leave it be.

However, on the facebook page, there is more....."

James said "I agree with you on this Eleanor, definitely less quotes and a good strong image.

In theory I may not to turn up to the event either because i don't know what it is!"

I suppose I want to question whether I WANT people to fully know what is going to happen, what they will see. This is an ART intervention, not theatre or a magic show. Through the publicity I am trying to get people who know something of Walter Benjamin, or who might be intrigued by the philosophical angle. There will of course be the feuilleton to give to passers-by, which should at least intrigue and direct a little. And I am planning a "breadcrumb" appoach to the publicity by putting teasers on the facebook event page.

I've also just got back froma very tiring day embossing 100 sheets of paper for the feuilleton. It has been a hot old day, but I only had one problem - when my water spray broke. Fortunately I had the moto, so I just packed up, went to by another one, and then got straight back to work. Surprisingly few people even took notice of me. I got a few strange glances, but only one person actually asked me what I was doing. It was a little bizarre, as I had just been concentrating on spraying water on the paper, and when I stood up there was a group of about 30 Germans, all standing round looking at me! So I tried to explain what I was doing, but she kind of lost interest when she realised that it was for an event in a couple of weeks' time.

Here are a few pics of me working on the embossing:

From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries
From Breaking Boundaries

Day 12

Today I have made the invitation for Facebook, and put it on my webpage. I've also been to the studio to complete chiselling the final AH WB for the Feuilleton and had a good clean and tidy up ready to start printing them. There are so many pages that I will be able to cover the floor several times over... so I'm not really sure how I am going to manage this task!

Day 11

Today I put a pdf poster together for the intervention. It's quite simple, just the details of where and when and some quotes from WB. Amelia helped with the design, making it "breathe". Tomorrow I'll have to put up the Facebook invite. The poster is here

Day 10

Today I have started to make the box to fix to my motorbike so that I can fetch and carry 100 sheets of paper. It's going to take some fixing, but it'll work, be finished tomorrow, and then I can buy the paper, and get it embossed on the streets of Barcelona. I've also been thinking about some publicity (which fits in well with the latest unit in the MFA) and will entirely be using social networking to get volunteers to work on the project, and for an audience to come and see the project.

Days 7, 8 and 9

So, I went away for the weekend. We happened to go to Port Bou, where Walter Benjamin died and where the Danny Caravan memorial to him is. But it was miserable and raining, so we went to France instead.