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Posts tagged “poetry

Four Wheels

Another month, another great opportunity to extend my Perfume as Practice body of work beyond portraiture.

Notes of the Bard combines fragrance, poetry, colour and photography in order to highlight how each of those disciplines can act as a foundation for creative processes. It also attempts to elevate perfumery as a viable medium for communication, as when placed within the context of other creative disciplines a capacity for interpretation, investigation and inspiration is revealed: When removed from its preconceived context, perfumery can readily be regarded as a tool for creative action.

The idea of placing 4 disciplines together emerged through the idea of the colour wheel; I have one pinned up in my studio, alongside a light wheel and a fragrance wheel, and after a little research I also came across a poetry wheel. The fact that each discipline could be quantified and measured based on a set of rules intrigued me, as it revels the similarities between the application and treatment of each discipline – including perfumery.

Innocuous beginnings, maybe. But of course the ramifications for providing alternative modes of thinking about fragrance extends beyond the face value of a box with some stuff inside; it instigates change, provides agency and can empower sets of communities in a manner that forges new connections. In this instance it smells pretty nice too.


Notes of the Bard will be displayed as part of a group exhibition entitled TalkEx17, at St. Ann’s Building, Rotherham, from 3rd – 7th April.

Loving the Court of Love

This week has seen the opening of The Court of Love – a group art and poetry exhibition examining Valentine’s Day. The exhibition is held at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield and has been devised and curated by myself.

Initially, the exhibition was driven by purely selfish reasons – over the last two years I have neglected the chance to use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to exhibit Perfume as Practice and I didn’t wish to miss the opportunity for a third year.

However, further research into Valentine’s Day and it’s historical and social contexts saw the exhibition develop into a group show. As I wanted my work to reveal the historical connections between fragrance and medicine, it seemed pertinent to reference within the exhibition the first occurrence of Valentine’s Day; which consisted of a feast, poetry competitions and jousting. Over time I knew that a solo exhibition wouldn’t satisfy these needs.

And so, the exhibition references a Tudor Court both in its design, in its poetry competition and through some of the artists choosing to incorporate the theme in their work. The result is a collection of high quality responses to Valentine’s Day that reference the historical virtues while just being contemporary enough not to be cliched. Indeed, the responses are varied; banquets, saints, dance steps, the zodiac, cartography, graffiti, cosmic ordering, modern culture, sexual orientation and poetry are all cited as sources of inspiration.

From a curatorial perspective, I have afforded space between each work – allowing the audience to contemplate each piece as both an isolated work or within the context of the exhibition. This allows connections to emerge between each piece while simultaneously allowing each piece to exist in it’s own right. This is how I ideally like to curate as I believe it affords an audience richer and multi-faceted engagement. Logistics, or the sheer amount of work received sometimes means I have to curate with restrictions or caveats. Here, I was able to curate how I wanted and the result is a strong and confident exhibition that utilities the immersive properties of colour transform the space thematically – allowing each work to sit with cohesion and coherence beside each other.

The Court of Love once again reinforces Exchange Place Studio’s presence as an arts venue, with the poetry competition inviting a new audience through our doors. It’s important that our programme of events remains varied, supportive and nurturing to both new and established audiences. Not only does this allow us to gather momentum and reputation but the positive virtues of providing a platform for as many sets of people as possible should always be on the agenda.

The Court of Love Crowdfunding Campaign

We are currently crowdfunding for The Court of Love – our upcoming art and poetry exhibition examining Valentine’s Day at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield.


The Court of Love is a group exhibition that sees artists and poets respond to the theme of Valentine’s Day. The exhibition itself is themed like a medieval court – referencing the first ever occurrence of Valentine’s Day which featured a feast, poetry competitions and jousting. Some artists have chosen to incorporate the theme in their work.

15 artists from around the UK will each deliver their unique and intriguing interpretation of Valentine’s Day. And poets who submitted to The Court of Love’s poetry competition will see their work displayed. In the spirit of competition, the public will get a chance to vote for their favorite poem, and the poet receiving the most votes will win a prize.

We hope that the exhibition provides a fun, intriguing and alternative Valentine’s Day experience. However, for the exhibition to be the best it can be, we need your help! Your contribution will pay for materials needed to stage the exhibition and a means to stage two special events. In return you can receive fantastic rewards & invitations to our events. This is also a wonderful chance to own fantastic original art works such as these:

Your donation will also help support artists and help further cement Exchange Place Studios’ presence as a prominent arts venue in Sheffield.

Click here to be sent to our crowdfunding page. Many thanks!

Poetry Open Call – The Court Of Love – Responses to Valentine’s Day

The Court of Love seeks poetry submissions responding to the theme of Valentine’s Day.

The Court of Love is a group exhibition due to take place at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield, from 9th – 18th February 2017. Each of the artists involved will be responding to the theme of Valentine’s Day in whatever manner they wish. The exhibition will include an opening evening and a Valentine’s Day special event.

The exhibition will be themed as a medieval banquet – referencing the first known example of a celebration of love occurring on February 14th, which involved a feast, songs, jousting and indeed poetry. As such, we are devoting an area of the exhibition to the poetry we receive from this open call: Successful poems will be printed and curated within this area and credited accordingly.

We are looking for poetry of any style and you may respond to the theme of Valentine’s Day however you wish. You may wish to reference the medieval theme but this is by no means an obligation.

If you are successful, as well as having your poem included physically within the exhibition, you will also be given the opportunity to read your poem at our Valentine’s Day event and you will be placed in a people’s choice completion, where the public get to vote on their favourite poem. The poem with the most votes will receive £25 and some chocolate. 2nd and 3rd prizes will also receive chocolate.

Please send your entries to Michael Borkowsky at The closing date is Sunday 29th January 2017. Good luck!


Reflecting on Patterns and Poetry

Three collages, in situ in an exhibition at Unity Theatre, Liverpool alongside the work of six other artists, each responding to the theme of ‘Patterns and Poetry:

Patterns and Poetry

I appear to return to the premise of extracting poetry from video games a few times a year. Almost in a hobbyist fashion. I tend to use certain exhibitions as an opportunity to develop the premise, which has altered slightly from writing poetry about video games to extracting poetry directly from video game code: This offers only a finite and actually rather limited set of text to respond to – providing both a challenge to me personally yet also offering something more considered and nuanced to an audience, as the text directly references the very fabric of a video game. I shall persist with this body of work from time to time when the opportunity arises, as I feel that it is both worth undertaking and is becoming more disciplined in its application.

Patterns and Poetry runs at Unity Theatre, Liverpool until 13th February.

An Invitation to the Patterns and Poetry Opening Evening

Three works of mine – all based on extracting poetry from video game coding then responding to the end result visually – will be on display at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, from tomorrow (13th January) until 14th February. Here’s a sneak peek at all three of them:

To see them in all their glory – alongside the work of 6 other artists all responding to the theme of ‘Patterns and Poetry’ – then pop down to Unity Theatre tomorrow, 13th January, from 5.30 – 7.30pm: We will be hosting an opening evening for the exhibition, where artists from the group will be on hand to chat to. Should be a fun and intriguing evening! You can find more information on our Facebook event page here.


Beginning the Year with Patterns in Poetry

What better way to kick of the year than three collages that extract and illustrate poetry from video game code?!

'No Origin' (2016)

‘No Origin’ (2016)

All three pieces, including the one pictured, will be on display at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, from 13th January until 14th Febrary. They will be displayed alongside the work of six other artists, all of which have responded to the theme of Patterns in Poetry. My particular work seeks to extend the experience of video gaming onto other platforms in order to attain a new and furthered understanding of it.

Do pop along to Unity Theatre while the exhibition is on, if you can! For details of performances during the exhibition period, check out the Theatre website :

Playing with Poetry

Positioned in between satisfying my crowdfunding rewards and waiting for perfume materials to arrive, I find myself in a brief period of reflection. Able to turn my mind away from the world of perfume briefly, and revisit something initiated last year – finding art in video games.

However, I wish to further my exploration into extracting poetry from video games rather than aping it. And so, I present to you poems creating by taking video game code and isolating parts of it, revealing text:



The idea remains – to extend the gaming experience into areas that reveal video games as a meaningful cultural force in a way that transcends their original purpose. Using video games as a platform for creative exploration illustrates a rich and full capacity for social, moral and personal comment. And assessing gaming from a fine art platform enriches our experiences with them. It’s a subject a great deal of passion for and something I wish to explore further. Indeed, hopefully at some point next year I’ll be setting up another open call about video games with fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck.

For now though, I’ll content myself with these pieces of work. They’ll both be on display at Arena Gallery, Liverpool, on the 8th and 9th August, along with work by other members of SOUP Collective. So do pop along if you can!

Studio Spaces, Perfume & Video Game Coding

Over the last week I have been doing a fair bit of juggling; visits to BasementArtsProject, Leeds and Access Space, Sheffield have re-kindled my desire to explore and develop my Speculative Studio Space project – with exhibitions now planned in September this year and June next year. As a project that has been superseded slightly by Perfume as Practice, it’s great to give Speculative Studio Spaces a little attention, with exhibitions to work towards and events to plan. Not to mention developing the project in a coherent and inclusive way.

Video games too, have re-entered my creative concious, with an opportunity to exhibit a poetry piece in Liverpool early next year. My initial efforts attempt to reveal poetry in the coding found in video games, extending the experience of gaming by offering new perspectives and attempting to penetrate the language of code in an accessible way:


Revealing poetry in video game coding


And as for Perfume as Practice, well most of my crowdfunding reward fulfilment has been …eer …fulfilled. This means that I can finally stop thinking about crowdfunding technicalities and actually begin to make the work, which is quite a liberating feeling! Now, time to knuckle down.

Pixel Poetry as Political Practice (well, sort of)

Last Thursday I attended ‘In Our Corner’ – an open mic might at Bank Street Arts which highlighted the fact that politics is able to exist within innumerable defined spaces, including within creative practice. I already knew this, but what it highlighted was the concept of removing something from its original context and providing a platform for it to be assessed within a different space, thus drawing alternative conclusions.

Via a few leaps of logic, a few cups of tea and a few sessions of Final Fantasy IX I began to realise that my Pixel Poetry series organically aligns itself to the notion of removing something and placing it within a new space. Taking a game and turning it into a poem is able to create a space where video games can exist away from the trails of moral and political context:  They may exist with purity and may well illustrate the original intent of their makers – as vehicles for fun, play and to harness the virtues of social experiences. Games are great, and my poetry seeks to highlight that; extending the experience into the physical world and allowing alternative conclusions to be drawn regarding the nature of video games, the themes within gaming and gamings effect on the human condition.

Equipped with this new found esteem, I set about conducting a job I’d intended to do for a while, but now with added personal reasoning: To write my poetry on the walls inside Electric Works, Sheffield:

2014-09-23 17.28.09

My poetry on some walls. This is the first time it has existed in any tangible way.

This is the first time my poetry has existed in the physical world. It won’t be the last; with two of my poems and a zine containing my poems due to appear in PLAY! – an exhibition around the theme of video games due to open this coming Friday (3rd October.) I am also hoping to do readings of my poems within a poetry group at Eten Cafe, Sheffield, from the end of October.

I now feel armed with a strong reason to further my poetical endeavours. As a model, the fact that I am allowing gaming to exist within another space greatly intrigues me, and I wish to further this practice to see where it leads. Possibly even away from poetry and text works.

PLAY! will open on 3rd October at Access Space, Sheffield and will continue until 31st October. There is an opening event on Friday 3rd October from 5.30 – 8pm. Everyone is invited and it’s free! The exhibition promises to be fun, and may well just alter and further your perception of gaming and what gaming can be.