Cu is an exhibition by Contents May Vary for the Arts Programme of Future Everything 2010 Festival.

Palace Hotel basement bar, Oxford Road, Manchester

13th - 23rd May 2010

Art & Media Quiz: Friday 21st May 2010

Richard Barks, Richard Bevan, Black Dogs, Alice Bradshaw, David Cochrane, Michael Day, Sarah Farmer, Roddy Hunter, LabBinaer, Pete McPartlan, Elizabeth Murphy, Edward Payne, The Projection Gallery, Catherine Pudner, Sarah Sabin, Richard Shields, Robin Tarbet

Contents May Vary have previously worked in a variety of spaces and explored a multitude of subjects, disciplines and media. Through opportunistic experimentation, the collective have learned to be jack of many trades. Now, in the depths of the Palace Hotel, they take on new media as their latest challenge.

For Cu, Contents May Vary respond not only to the physicality of the space itself, but also to the context of FutureEverything 2010. They have invited 14 artists, collectives and galleries to exhibit alongside themselves based on each artists' ability to work in multiple disciplines with a strong conceptual awareness of their implemented media.

Cu showcases diverse and experimental contemporary art from national and international artists. This eclectic selection of work individually and collectively responds to the new media platform and the unique and charismatic temporary exhibition space they will occupy.

Raising questions and instigating dialogue, Cu seeks to address the debate around what could be defined as connections or disconnections between new media and visual art. How should we choose to distinguish and define these terms? Where is the overlap? What commonalities do they share? How do we choose to discuss work in relation to these disciplines and what arises as pertinent or paradoxical from this discussion?

Steve Lilley's photos

Supported by FutureEverything, Castlefield Gallery and MA Net.

Richard Barks

Resonant Queue
Mixed Media

We as humans rely on our five senses to guide us through the world. Utilising our sense of touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing constantly without even being aware of it. Our brain has an uncanny ability to adapt our senses depending on the situation that it is presented with. Over time we develop natural responses to certain types of stimuli on a purely subconscious level. We cannot say why scratching on a chalkboard distresses some people whilst having little if no effect on others. Or why we seek solace within a various array of audio environments. As an artist I look to play on these subconscious reactions by creating sound based sculpture using found objects. Using the familiarity of the found objects as a way of drawing the viewer into the work. This then allows me to engage them on an audio level. Creating a purely personal interaction between the viewer and the work.

Richard Barks is a Canadian born sound artist currently based in Manchester. Richard works across various media which often incorporate everyday objects which produce kinetic and sound components. Richard received his BA from Manchester Metropolitan University and is currently completing his MA at Salford University.

Richard Bevan

7" vinyl (double sided)

Statement: A record of 'usher'. Taken on day 1 and day 3 of its first version. Slade School of Fine Art, June 2008. Includes some words by Tamsin Clark of Furnished Space.

Black Dogs

Audio Almanac
Vinyl record

The Audio Almanac is a compilation of songs, music, recordings, collages and aural oddities produced by individuals with varying degrees of affinity with the epithet 'artist,' compiled and produced by Leeds-based artist collective Black Dogs.

Whilst not every contributor can be said to be wholly comfortable with their individual works framing as a piece of art, Black Dogs are keen to point out that the enjoyment and attention spent in the close-listening to and immersion in this product could be considered an artistic act. Whereas in the past they have described the books produced by the collective as an exhibition between covers, in this instance you are invited to imagine the record as an exhibition on a turntable.

If you are interested in owning a copy of the Black Dogs Audio Almanac please visit our website

Black Dogs is an artist collective with a fluid and dynamic membership whose activity spans formal exhibitions, publications, events, interventions, workshops, social engagement and curatorial activity. The collective includes members living in various locations in the UK and internationally with a core based in Leeds who meet regularly.

Formed in Leeds in 2003 as a means to conduct artistic activity in the city at a self-organised level, Black Dogs subscribes to a DIY ethos of not-for-profit motivation and ideals of active participation. It is the group's aim, through its artistic activity, to understand and facilitate a transformation from a passive-consumer 'society of extras' through to a stronger, more participative form of social organisation.

Recent projects include a series of interventions and events based on the Tower Works site in Holbeck, Leeds; initiating an 'autonomous learning project' (Free Art School) using unused office space in Leeds, and designing a dialogue-facilitating event for Bankside residents as part of Tate Modern's 10th year anniversary celebrations.

Alice Bradshaw

Video installation

Static is the remains of a hole-punched text The Rocks Remain in constant motion. The found, mass-produced object has been manually hole-punched and the remains captured as stills. The stills created a frame pool which were randomly sequenced to create the moving image based on a random number from the computer's operating system entropy pool.

Static won the Best in Urban Ideas Award at Toronto Urban Film Festival 2009.

Alice has exhibited prolifically in the North of the UK and internationally including at several film festivals. Recent exhibitions and festivals include Repurposes at the Baron and Ellin Gordon Galleries in Virginia (US), The Big M / AND Festival in Preston, Short Cuts Film Festival at the University of Leeds, Contents May Vary at NoiseLab in Manchester and Contents May Vary at Red Gallery in Hull.

Alice is co-founding member of Contents May Vary, co-founder of Fundada Artists' Film Festival and she also co-directed Temporary Art Space in Halifax in 2009.

Alice studied at Manchester Metropolitan University with the co-founding members of Contents May Vary and is now based in Halifax.

David Cochrane

Single channel digital video

David Cochrane makes single and multiple channel videos that address notions of time, memory and the formation of identity through habit, daily routine, and simple processes. While his practice does not contain autobiographical narratives, it does often use his own experiences of death as a starting point.

The work's narrative is frequently determined by a single process, and shot in close proximity to the action in order to develop a sense of intimacy between the viewer and subject. Using common, domestic materials in habitual and often futile procedures such as tying ties, extinguishing candles and breaking pencils the works manifest as investigations into existence through materiality.

Utilising these simple techniques and an economy of means, while exploiting the sense of tension and frustration within these recorded tasks, his intention for the work, is for it to act as a reflection of the futility and absurdity of our collective existence, coupled with the shared knowledge of our eventual deaths.

David Cochrane studied at Manchester Metropolitan University and recently completed his MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. He has exhibited widely over the past eight years including having solo shows in London, Berlin and Manchester, and being included in group shows in Manchester, London and Amsterdam. In 2008 he received the A.H.R.C postgraduate award and was recently selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009.


Michael Day

The General Situation
Single screen video, sound

The General Situation is a video work that experiments with temporary minimal electronic interventions into the landscape. It documents the installation of a number of small light sources on Chesil Beach beneath a Jurassic period cliff top. Each light source switches on and off to its own time schedule, creating a semi-random pattern of lights that gradually become more visible as dusk draws in. By placing electronic timers in a landscape that is normally used for the purposes of tourism, the piece conflates the immediate, real-time nature of electronic media with the timescales of leisure, contrasting this with the geological timescale of the cliffs.

Developed and produced at LabCulture Artist Residency, Burton Bradstock, Dorset, UK, 2009. PVA MediaLab is a dedicated artist-led space which supports creativity and research through a process-oriented environment, nurturing artist experimental and practice-based research. They offer support to multi-disciplinary projects, diverse artists and new media practitioners, particularly those investigating new areas in their practice. Supported by Arts Council England, SW and Dorset County Council.

Michael Day is an artist based in Sheffield, UK. His artistic practice is interdisciplinary in nature, and uses a wide range of media and technologies, including digital media, sound, installation and video. His work is characterised by a visual economy and sense of displaced distance from the viewer, often highlighting moments of transit, stasis, solitude in space, or the passage of time. Using legacy technologies such as analogue radio in order to highlight the modular characteristics of digital media, his recent work plays with ideas of the sublime in order to explore the pathos engendered by the ephemerality of artefacts in the digital domain.

Previously based in Cardiff, South Wales, he has exhibited work in venues in across the UK, and has had his work shown at events in the Netherlands, France, Norway and China. Until recently, he has focused his curatorial practice on his participation in the Sheffield-based HAG (Host Artist's Group), co-developing and producing HAG exhibitions and screening programmes for four years until February 2008. During this time, he worked on HAG projects including Host 4: Cinema, a screening and DVD of short video works, Host 6: Beauty, a print project for the Sheffield Pavilion 2007, premiered at the Venice Biennale and Documenta XII, and Host 8: Observatory for the Art Sheffield 08: Yes / No / Other Options* citywide event. He is currently a lecturer in Fine Art at Staffordshire University.

Sarah Farmer

Organised Sound (by Gloggomobils, record player, timers and found objects)
Installation/Kinetic Sculpture - Wood, electronic timer switches, drill, record player, DC power supply, found objects

Organised sound (by Gloggomobils, record player, timers and found objects) combines an interest in technology, old and new, with a make shift DIY approach to objects and art. The Gloggomobils (copied from a Swiss musical toy) function as programmable barrel organs, triggering a hammering action which hits objects and therefore makes them resonate. The adapted record player acts as a wet finger to a wine glass, again causing the object to resonate at it's natural frequency. Timer switches cause the electronic objects to stop and start, adding a rhythmic structure to the sounds. The sounds are partly arranged by the artist following existing musical and mathematical systems, and partly dictated by the technologies used.

Sarah Farmer is an artist and musician working in the West Midlands. Her practice is based in sound and focusses on the relationship between space, objects, sound, and ourselves, with particular interest in ambient noise. Attention is paid to the aural aesthetic of sound, the physics behind it and the schemata that have evolved from these. She graduated from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design in 2008 and is a member of The Lombard Method, an artist led space in Birmingham.

Roddy Hunter

Civil Twilight: Sun-bleached / Un-bleached Maps of Baghdad and Los Angeles
Laserjet prints

Civil Twilight: Sun-bleached / Un-bleached Maps of Baghdad and Los Angeles' emerged from the art research work 'Civil Twilight (IV): auto-agora', a performance/manoeuvre consisting of four three hour walks along Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles over corresponding periods of sunrise and sunset in Iraq between 11-12 April 2003. In preparation for this work, I studied and then digitally superimposed aerial photographs and maps of both cities upon each other. I printed two copies on a domestic inkjet printer and unintentionally left one on my windowsill for one year following my return from Los Angeles where it became bleached by the sun.

Civil Twilight: Psychogeographical Drawings of the Plaça de Catalunya
Pencil and pen on paper

'Civil Twilight: Psychogeographical Drawings of the Plaça de Catalunya' emerged from the art research work 'Civil Twilight (II): The Failure of the Plaça de Catalunya', a performance/manoeuvre consisting of six three hour walks in and around the Plaça de Catalunya, Barcelona over periods of sunrise and sunset in between 24-27 October 2002. The 'failure' referred to the social segregation effected by the division of the square into three concentric circles that also seemed to segregate users of the square along ethnic and class lines. The drawings were made in a notebook while sitting in the same part of the square at two different points in time: at 19:15 hrs, Saturday 26 October and then at 07:20, Sunday 27 October. They record the varying effects of this urban environment as central to an understanding of this space.

That Which Is ... Recording

'That Which Is ... Recording' emerged from the art research work 'That Which Is .... ', a performance exploring notions of organic and inorganic architectural space and structure through live and mediated presence. This video work is an edited loop of the recorded output created and shown during the original three hour performance on 20 February 2010 in Space 109, York as part of 'The Sixth National Whippit Night' curated by Victoria Gray and Nathan Walker. Much of the work consists of cutting the shape of a decagonal star into the surface of copies of drawings by Le Corbusier.

Untitled (The Production of Simulacrum)
4 x large format photographic prints

'Untitled (The Production of Simulacrum)' belongs to a new body work inspired by readings of Henri Lefebvre's 'The Production of Space' which among other things concerns relationships of representation and actuality between social, physical and mental spaces. 'Untitled (The Production of Space)' is a site-related series of large format photographic prints investigating the production of simulacrum in leisure environment.

Courtesy Bodor Hunter Studio Archive

Roddy Hunter (born Glasgow, 1970) is an artist-researcher who works internatioanally and whose interests include aesthetics, pedagogy and the art of action in relation to social and urban realities. He is presently Head of Fine Arts at York St John University; Chair of the 'Turning Point Yorkshire and the Humber' Interim Steering Group; Vice-Chair of 'Art Bloc' artists' cooperative; moderator of, an online web platform for new art and research; and member of East Street Arts, Leeds.

Lab Binaer

Death Calls the Tune
Record player, Microcontroller, Glow paint, UV-LED, Software, RSS feed

The mass media penetrate us day in and out with news from all around the world. Over the years we got used to this flood of information and the editors come up with ever more sensational news to catch our attention. But do we really have to know all this? Our work is about the increasing role death plays in the daily news and the over-stimulation coming with it. We want to show the resulting desensitisation.

From all the news items published throughout the world minute by minute, the light sculpture "Death Calls the Tune" selects those that are about doom and misery on our planet. Being driven by a micro-controller, the pick-up of the remodelled record player "burns" the headlines into the steadily rotating light-sensitive disc.

However, the brightly glowing headlines soon fade just as quickly as in our memory. Due to the incredible flood of shocking news, though, there will be no break. Accordingly, the light arm writes headline after headline and one which caught our eye a few seconds ago is immediately overwritten and does not matter any longer.

Lab Binaer, a lab for media arts, was founded in 2007 in Augsburg, Germany.

Pete McPartlan

I'm a Tape Recorder Maniac!!

"I'm a Tape Recorder Maniac!!" is a collection of videos by youtube user CassetteMaster. CassetteMaster is a Virginian teenager who collects vintage audio equipment. For each tape recorder he finds he films a dead-pan introduction, explains the features at length and tests them out in front of the camera. He performs small experiments - routing mics through different decks, re-recording video from betamax or trying to sync audio from wobbly tapes with the digital video.

These once loved bits of equipment are being recovered from yard sales to be breathed new life by the very technologies that have replaced them. Images of TVs rendered useless by the digital switchover in the US are now being broadcast through broadband lines - their qualities now muddied by youtube's compression algorithms.

Kline's naïve experiments share in spirit with early video art, showing genuine curiosity about the medium over and above the content (occasionally interrupted by his brother beating him up or his mom sneaking into shot). It's also a reminder that the current cutting edge is tomorrow's nostalgia - maybe a criticism of fetishistic digital art.

Pete McPartlan makes short films, live video performances, installations and drawings. His work is often reflexively preoccupied with the medium and processes that constitute the work. Often using analogue equipment to experiment with audio visual interrelationships and exploring the meaning of current and obsolescent technologies.

Recently Pete has completed residencies at Nottingham Trent University in Norway, Finland and at the Experimental TV Center in New York state. His recent shows and screenings include KinoKino centre for art and Film, Sandnes, Norway - Sound, Sound on Film Lichtblick Kino, Berlin, Expériences Paranormales, Festival des Cinémas Différents, Paris, Annexinema in Nottingham and RED gallery in Hull. Pete McPartlan graduated from the fine art BA in Hull in 2004 and is now a member of the Nottingham based studio group StandAssembly.

Elizabeth Murphy

The Picture of Innocence

'A Picture of Innocence' is a hand drawn animation which follows the story of Lionel Bell, a black and white photography enthusiast who whilst photographing his favourite oak trees in Luxton Wood was strangled with the cord from his light meter. His body was found in the woods with a memory card from a digital camera in his mouth.

Since graduating from Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 Elizabeth has exhibited extensively throughout the UK. Liz's work incorporates sculpture, installation, drawing and performance, often using familiar social references from mass media and substandard television to build narratives that are both imaginary and nostalgic.

Elizabeth has recently completed a residency at Rogue Project Space and has also undertaken her first solo curation project, BUILT.

Elizabeth is a Contents May Vary co-founder and the Artistic Coordinator for the BMCA.

The Projection Gallery: various artists

Cu - Connect/Disconnect (A Sort of Dialogue)
2007 - 2010
DVD-PAL distribution, single screen and monitors

What could be defined as connections or disconnections between new media and visual art? Is communication through technology possible? This showreel asks where do these junctions exist, and what is left of human compassion, mediation, volition? A selection of contemporary single-screen moving image works which instigate discussion in surprising ways.

Contemporary artists' film from The Projection collection. The Projection is a Contents May Vary partner organisation, which supports the development of artists' film and video through the collection, archival, exhibition and distribution of works in lens-based media and allied practices. Based in London, it holds an extensive database of emergent artists from around the world.

Edward Payne

Thinking Through Method (Cooper)
Wood, paper, paint

'Thinking Through Method (Cooper)' centres around research that I have undertaken about traditional ways of making. This research focuses on hobbyists blogs and websites, looking at techniques which were technologically superseded in the industrial revolution. These crafts face a crisis when it is no longer financially viable to train an apprentice. The Internet has enabled the enthusiastic amateur to learn and pass on knowledge on a peer-to-peer basis. In being communicated this knowledge undergoes metamorphosis as it is transmitted through language (in html), rather than through accumulated experience (hours of repetitive tasks under watch of the master). In this way of learning advice is just as readily ignored as followed and although the product may look the part in a jpg, the intricacies needed to function may have been overlooked. The objects may initially look the same but the emphasis is different. The Sculptural nature of the piece acknowledges the importance of the site where two points in technology meet- that of an individuals ongoing practice, and specifically in this case that of a visual artist. The gathering of trajectories brings into view new conceptual models, their crossings revealing a thought of where we are now.

Edward Payne is currently studying for an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. He has recently shown in Weissensee Berlin, Edinburgh College of Art and Take Courage Gallery London. His sculpture 'Table-Shelter-Stack' is currently installed in Battersea Park London. His work deals with our experienced environments and the relationships within them predominantly through methods appropriated from furniture making and systems of logic.

Catherine Pudner

Workbench Cinema

In 2005 Catherine Pudner completed a BA in fine art at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work looks at how objects that have a flux in their state change in our perceived landscape over time. Imagery that feeds into her work includes stalagmites under bridges, cars with moss and the flotsam of the road. Using materials such as building sand, tar and wood her palette of materials give the work a robust edge to it. The piece Workbench-Cinema is a flat pack assembly, which is quick to erect and simple in form. Using short pieces of video to link together the happened-upon with the constructed she draws attention to the inevitable changes that occur when we are not present. Catherine lives and works in London.

Sarah Sabin

Reclaimed wooden architectural feature with laser cutting

Reclaimed wooden architectural feature with laser cutting

Newell Post
Reclaimed wooden architectural feature with laser cutting

A selection of reclaimed features from buildings; where past events have eaten their way into furniture and architecture.

I use a wide selection of media in my work. Having always been an artist who enjoys 'making;' employing different materials and methods to explore themes and concepts, the use of digital technology and production techniques has recently allowed me to explore exact duplication, and extremes of cutting technologies from minute and intricate to huge.

Sarah Sabin works across a wide range of media ranging from small, delicate highly crafted objects to large site specific installations.

Sarah also works in collaboration with other artists and organisations to make artworks with public participation, and in the public realm.

Sarah is based in Colchester, Essex.

Richard Shields



If visual art in its more traditional sense is different than New Media Art then what bonds are there between them and what separates them? What are they? As someone based heavily in the traditional visual Art camp I have always had the simple idea that New media Art is something with a tele or some electronics in it. What is my relationship to New Media Art as a Visual Artist? I'm told that John Logie Baird is my great, great grand mothers cousin. He died penniless despite being the inventor of television.

I have an interest in objects and materials that would have low self esteem if they had the capacity to feel such a thing. I am also interested in what has been placed on a pedestal and be can be easily identified as a process of worth. Getting these two to meet can raise the value of one element and devalue the other, creating a piece of work that struggles to define itself.

I have a degree in sculpture but I mostly draw and paint. I have as co founder and co director of Contents May Vary organised and shown within many alternative spaces that are otherwise not attached to the art world. I have shown regionally, nationally and internationally and I fucking love it but sometimes it makes me sad.

Robin Tarbet

Monitored Landscape No. 16
Mixed media / CCTV camera, monitor

Live installation created by a small camera transmitting an ongoing live feed to a monitor.

Playing on our desire for wonder and curiosity, whilst prompting us to question our everyday perceptive assumptions, my work inhabits an ambiguous place between reality and fantasy.

My own fascination with illusion and the unusual effects of scale and perspective leads me to dismantle, dissect, and distort everyday objects and appliances. I purposely re-generate the redundant, which enables me to create work that at a first glance is aimed to be familiar, but subtly transforms to be intriguing and not what it first appears to be.

Tarbet's work combines live film making with sculptural installations. Descried below by Chris Fite-Wassilak published on 27/07/09 on is 'Monitored Landscape No. 12' a recent large gallery installation made for East International (group show - July 2009) which then toured to Trafo Gallery in Budapest (solo show - January 2010).

Robin Tarbet's live video installation Monitored Landscape No. 12 (2009) attempts to straddle both worlds, presenting us with a passing industrial wasteland created by the relay from a camera mounted on a model train track as it passes an assemblage of circuit boards and electronics. Tarbet doesn't cling to his illusion, but rather opens it up with a structuralist filmmaker's hard honesty.

Robin Tarbet graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006 and is an artist based in East London. He was awarded the Stanley Picker Tutorship in Fine Art teaching at Kingston University in 2006/07, where he continues to work as a lecturer, whilst also being a familiar face as a Visiting Tutor at Norwich University College of Art. Tarbet's work combines two-dimensional media, photography, printmaking and live film with three-dimensional sculptural assemblages.

Whilst showing in many group exhibitions ranging from the Hayward Gallery to the London Underground network, his work has featured in Blueprint Magazine, and in 2007 he had his first solo show at Outpost Gallery Norwich. Tarbet's ongoing series of live installations entitled 'Monitored Landscape Series' was exhibited as part of EAST international in 2009, and then recently toured in 2010 to be his first International Solo exhibition at Trafo Gallery in Budapest.