The Laboratory Arts Collective



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Creating a forest garden

"My favorite book is “Creating a Forest Garden: working with nature to grow edible crops” by Martin Crawford (published by Green Books ISBN 10: 1900322625).  This book explains how to create a forest garden, which is a natural eco-system that contains many types of useful plants that live in synergy with each other.  The idea being that you can go into your garden during any season and find something to eat. The planting is such that there is no digging required and each plant benefits from its neighbour.  I began work on such a project in my own garden four years ago and have found the experience fascinating as year by year I learn to work for the plants, not have the plants work for me.  Did you know that if you leave a patch of urban ground, town centre/motorway, in ten years it will have become a forest.  The forest is natures default format."


David by Bernini

"David  by Gian Lorenzo Bernini is to me the most inspiring piece of sculpture.  To stand next to it, life size white marble, a perfect representation, a self-portrait and achieved by a lad only 25 years of age, it sends goose bumps up and down my spine.  Did you know Bernini was a fruitarian?"



Silent Running starring Bruce Dern and directed by Douglas Trumbull. 

"I saw this film when it first came out in 1972.  It showed in the cinema as the B movie.  Films were often shown as a pair in cinemas in those days.  There would be the B movie and then the main movie.  Everyone in the cinema seemed to take no notice of the film. They were rustling crisp packets, chatting, generally fooling about.  But by the closing scene I sat there tears rolling down my cheeks, popcorn being flicked past my ears. A science fiction prophesy, planet earths last forest sent into deep space aboard a bio capsule to be saved for a future somewhere else ... I won’t tell you the rest … better you watch it yourself."


Open Furniture Month at The Wallace Collection

"A rare chance to peep inside some of the most important pieces of furniture to glimpse the rarely seen interiors, hidden compartments and elaborate mechanisms of works by Riesener, Lelu and other great makers.   An amazing amount of creativity and skill can be witnessed in hidden details.  The museum also has one of the best restaurants in London - al fresco dining protected by the elements."



"1948 Chevrolet Fleetline Car that I recently purchased … am obsessed.  Spontaneously pressed the Buy it Now Button on Ebay.  It is just the most spectacular piece of vernacular sculpture I have ever seen.  A time in American car design when steel was pushed into great loveable curves.  A joy for all to behold."



"I very rarely go back to the same place twice … but if pressed it would be New Zealand … the country of my birth.  It is like stepping back in time ten or fifteen years.  It is easy to get frustrated with the non-European pace but when you give yourself to it you realise that New Zealanders don’t want it any other way.  To walk barefoot through damp moss brushing aside a jungle of tree ferns … the smell of decaying leaf mould and the haunting sound of the many birds found only in New Zealand has, for me, a special signature."






"I am devoted to my kittens … Siamese called Ping and Pong.  Kittens is a subject that has profound cultural importance and yet the so-called serious art world looks the other way.  My Muse and I are custodians of 2 beautiful Siamese cats - it is more accurate to say that we are controlled by two cats, though we do not refer to them as cats - we call them kittens because the word kitten is without doubt the most charming word in the English language.   I hear you ask what is the profound cultural importance of kittens Mark? 

Well it seems to me that the whole of the Internet is a system of sharing images of kittens.  That and obscure images of people doing strange things to each other.   So it would seem kittens are at the very least, the second most interesting subject to humanoids on this planet.  So that is your cultural importance proven.

Did you know that the Royal Academy of Arts has thousands of kitten paintings submitted for entry to the Summer Exhibition and every year the judges systemically reject all of them.  Now tell me what is that about?  The planet loves kittens but serious art decision makers are in some kind of denial.  Is it that real art has to be difficult to understand?  Is it that real art has a license to engage with all human emotions except one ... the emotion that has no name ... that is inspired by cuteness.  I think perhaps the Japanese might have a word for that emotion, that cuddly warm glow but not us, we are far too arty.

Here’s an idea for any bright spark entrepreneur out there … why not gather up all the rejected Royal Academy kitten portraits and hold an alternative exhibition in London at the same time over the road.  Charge £1 a head and get ready for the coach loads of kitten lovers.  And that idea is for free."

Mark Brazier-Jones :

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