Future Network is a quarterly virtual event co-programmed by our teams across the UK (in Liverpool, Peterborough and Southend). Throughout the year, we invite artists to host online sharings in response to a theme and also present accompanying material through a contribution to Metal’s website. For this Future Network the theme is Try, Test, Fail and we welcome artists Andrew Ibi, Monique Jackson, Roxanne Carney and Tijs van Bakel.
Test, Try, Fail is a celebration of experimenting and the processes that move us forward through mistakes, mishaps, and the under appreciated art of getting things wrong. For this special first event, we invite artists to respond to their own creative processes, wandering and exploration, share their working out, missteps, happy accidents, changes of mind, and the ideas that just had to get scrapped to start again. Join us to explore those nebulous processes that led to unexpected wins, chances taken, and the delightful disasters or wild schemes that never should have worked but did. There is no place for perfection in our creative journey so if at first you don’t succeed, fail and fail again.
E.MACBEAN STUDIO (AndrewIbi & Eleanor Ibi) and CLARE PAYNE STUDIO – Clare Payne.
E.MACBEAN is a creative design studio, utilising swimwear as a central design narrative. The studio approach focuses on art-based practices and examines the relationship between women, the body, culture and the arts.
Andrew Ibi is a designer, artist, illustrator, stylist and academic launching his career in New York as a trend forecaster, before returning to London to work with Joe Casely-Hayford in London and Paris.Andrewwas the founder of cult fashion destination, The Convenience Store, and is credited with presenting one of the first popup store concepts at several luxury hotels and spaces, including St Martins Lane Hotel, Soho House and Bungalow 8. The Convenience Store selectively stocked brands such as; Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Maison Martin Margiela, AF Vandevorst and a host of celebrated contemporary designers from the UK and further afield.AndrewIbi is a co-founder of FACE (Fashion Academics Creating Equality) and BOLD Agency (Black Orientated Legacy Development).
“E.MACBEAN has been designed through a feminist lens, with a very specific concept in mind – brave, fearless, modern, culturally relevant, intelligent and strong. The process of initially developing ideas directly from the pages of our favourite female authored books has been a conceptual challenge. The development of studio practice as fashion ideas has been fun! Taking music, art and politics relating to women as inspiration offers us a broad scope of original content as inspiration”.
Eleanor Ibi is a freelance photographer, writer and DJ. Having worked through the late 80’s and 90’s in Manchester, UK, during the Haçienda years, Eleanor spent much of her time documenting club culture, and recording her adventures. She is currently working on a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories, which explore and subvert what it means to be female.
“The partnership is really important to our creative process; we bounce ideas around and experiment through a number of mediums – illustration, photography, music, film and digital art. Our ethos is to develop a brand and product able to create new conversations and ideas – E.MACBEAN is fearless”.
Clare Payne is a Designer, Artist, Craftswoman working with leather as a base material. Clare has worked on a number of previous projects with E.MACBEAN.
The E.MACBEAN [WO]MANIFESTO project sets a number of ambitious parameters to challenge the nature of test and failure. For instance; the reading and development of any core Feminist Manifestos and accompanying literature was done over the course of 3 days and then developed through a series of text bytes, collage and doodle illustrations into a physical sketchbook and over the course of 1.5 days. One of the parameters was that the work should be experimental and spontaneous not laboured, over-considered or carefully processed. The pace of the project should be fast and unhindered.
Retrospectively, the work was set into unplanned, automatic, pre-learnt and instinctive stages.
The research phase relied on existing core texts and ideas that were mostly penned 50 years ago but still loaded with relevance, currency and context. The core texts had a central theme of Second Wave Feminism, literature from the Women’s Liberation Movement of the late 60’s, Black Power Politics of the same period, documents on gender, race, sexuality and other intersectional related topics.
The development phase utilised traditional sketchbook practice and editing, straining the most important elements of the research literature and visual research into a cohesive and considered narrative. This was an opportunity to build a visual language through illustration and doodle work, beginning the process of distillation to a final objective or outcome. At this stage, the work has not defined outcome as the project has not been pre-mediated or considered beyond the existing research content.
The sketchbook is purposefully monochrome with the use of red gaffer tape, marker pen and pencil annotation. The hand drawn lines and text boxes reference early typography and layout often found in early manifestos and academic essays. The production of the document should not be limited by over planning and careful layout.
Once the heart of the project was defined, a series of late night discussions between us, helped to tune the focus of the lens and perspective of the outcome. At this stage the visualisation and content of the manifesto was discussed and it was decided that the plywood board, found in Openshaw, would be a perfect accidental canvas for the text-scape and doodled illustrations.
The first physical development for discussion utilises current, available resources and initiates the first visual outcome response through the traditional medium of oil and acrylic on plywood. As the written manifesto builds to a soundtrack of WOMEN artists and musicians – Patti Smith, Betty Davis, Annette Peacock feature prominently – mistakes are visibly erased and recorded by acknowledging their value through transparent masking. The overlays are sometimes in newly introduced mediums –marker pens and graphite pencils feature in mapping or correcting errors of scale, space and proportions. There is no plan to the painting. The painting must be completed in 1 day.
Stage 3: E.MACBEAN VIDEO [WO]MANIFESTO/DOCUMENTARY:
The ensuing late night, post completion discussion formalises a final outcome of an interactive Video Manifesto relying on commentary and discussion from the E.MACBEAN community. We will aim to realise this through an ambitious collaborative documentary project involving 20 individual, feminist commentators. Each manifesto item will be isolated and posed to a series of contributors to create a fast-paced dialogue and conversation exploring the modern day values of BRAND and CONSUMER culture.
The project is bound to fail due to over ambition and time constraints.