The digital countdown begins
As London begins the countdown to digital switchover, one artist based in the capital is taking a nostalgic view of the history of television with a series of paintings based on the test card.
Colin Moore, who works from the Tile Kiln studios in Archway, has been working on a series that taps into his memories of television from the sixties and seventies before the arrival of video recorders and always-on satellite broadcasting. The series of paintings draws on imagery from the test cards.
The most famous British test card is Test Card F, which incorporates a colour photograph of Carole Hersee (daughter of BBC engineer George Hersee) playing noughts and crosses with a doll, used on the BBC and ITV from the beginning of colour broadcasts in the late 1960s.
The test card was typically broadcast at times when the transmitter was active but no program was being broadcast (often at startup and closedown). Used since the earliest TV broadcasts, test cards were used as placeholders and for calibration and alignment of images on screen. With many stations broadcasting 24 hours a day, test cards are now a broadcasting rarity.
Explaining his motivation Moore said, "I found a website dedicated to the history of TV test cards. I was excited by the graphic possibilities and overwhelmed by a feeling of nostalgia for the early days, of walnut cabinets with bakelite knobs and the glossy plastic space-age receivers of the ‘60s. I found a website for those too."
As the series grew he began thinking about his relationship with TV and its role in society. This led to Smoke Drink Watch TV, TV Dinner, and to the issues surrounding content, Shanghai TV, War TV, etc., all of which could be dramatised by the interaction of the screen and the context he put it in.
"I see no end to this series. As we enter the digital TV age it's a good time to reflect on our ubiquitous companion," said Moore. "Of course, now we're screwing the 40 inch flat screens to the wall like works of art and we're creating our own BBC with the help of iPlayer and watching it where and when we want on our laptops. We are shopping, gambling, voting with it now. So I guess these paintings are an attempt to answer the question, what is TV? Is it just "the blue flickering light" as Jack Kerouac called it, which bathes the walls of every living room in the civilised world?"
All paintings are for sale. For more information, visit http://www.colinmoore.uk.com
Take One Picture
Primary school children from across the UK will have their work showcased this spring in Take One Picture. The display, at the National Gallery, will feature creative responses to the National Gallery painting Tobias and the Angel by the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio.
The gallery's Take One Picture scheme invited UK primary schools to use a painting from the collection as a creative catalyst for learning across the curriculum. Over 100 schools took part in the scheme in 2009–10, and works from over 20 schools will be on display. Additional works from other schools will also be shown in a slideshow as part of the presentation.
Verrocchio was a successful painter and sculptor during his lifetime. Several well-known artists trained in his workshop, including Leonardo da Vinci, who may be responsible for some parts of the painting including the lively dog. The subject of Tobias and the Angel (about 1470–75)is taken from the apocryphal Book of Tobit. Tobias sets out on a long journey, from Nineveh (in modern-day Iraq) to Media (in Iran), to collect a debt for Tobit, his blind father. He is guided by the guardian angel Raphael, protector of the young, travellers and the blind. When Tobias bathes in the River Tigris, a giant fish leaps from the water. Raphael encourages Tobias to remove the fish's gall bladder, liver and heart in order to heal his father's blindness.
Works to be displayed reflect different aspects of the story of Tobias, and participating schools have responded to the painting in many original ways. Works include a multi-sensory tactile book for blind and partially sighted children; a giant scrap-metal guardian angel; a large-scale woven installation evoking Tobias's journey through weaving and dance; a multi-sensory film retelling the story of Tobias by children at a special school; plus sculptures in many different mediums including brick and glass.
Caroline Marcus, Take One Picture Project Manager, said: ‘This year, teachers and pupils have explored lines of enquiry stimulated by the painting including journeys, guardian angels, blindness, friendship, fish and healing. They have responded in innovative and original ways across all areas of the curriculum including literacy, history, art, PE, science and maths. A highlight has been the opportunity to visit some schools and see first-hand classrooms as hubs of creativity and inspiring teaching and learning.'
Peer 2 Peer Mentoring for Smokers
Pic-Cap: Weronika Suszynska - the student on the left
acting as the advisor. Krishna Talsania - the student on the
right blowing into the Carbon Monoxide monitor. Both of
them are advisors (rather than Krishna being a smoker).
Whether brought on by stress or loneliness smoking is a world-wide problem that can lead to cancer or other serious types of illnesses. Thames Valley University (TVT) and Ealing Stop Smoking Service (ESSS) have teamed up to help students quit the habit by launching a new peer-to-peer mentoring scheme.
In the first known scheme of its kind in London student volunteers from the university who have qualified as Smoking Cessation Advisors will help fellow students in Ealing, West London, quit the habit.
ESSS has trained eleven Psychology students at TVU to a professional standard so that they can help their peers quit smoking through a free personalised six week programme.
Together they found that students could save £1,000 a year if they stopped smoking ten cigarettes a day, which is equivalent to almost a third of a basic student loan. Research has shown that 63% of smokers in Great Britain want to give up smoking and 22% of people in London smoke, which is the second highest rate in the country*.
Clinics, located at St Mary's Road in Ealing, run on Monday afternoons, Tuesday evenings and Friday lunchtimes so that full-time and part-time students are able to attend them. Student Advisors offer confidential advice and free recommendations on everything from stop smoking medication to nicotine replacement therapy.
Pauline Fox, Health Psychologist and Principal Psychology Lecturer at TVT said, “The University is very proud to be working with Ealing Stop Smoking Service to give students the support they need to quit smoking so they don’t need to ‘go it alone’. Students are four times more likely to stop smoking if they use our service and as Student Advisors can recommend stop smoking medication at prescription rates, they can do it on a tight budget.”
Rachael Davis, Stop Smoking Facilitator at ESSS said, “We are delighted to have trained Thames Valley University’s hardworking and enthusiastic students as Stop Smoking Advisors. Peer support is really effective in changing behaviour, especially amongst students; this was the catalyst for the project.We are very proud to be working in partnership with Thames Valley University on this project which puts student wellbeing at the heart of the education service that it provides.”
TVU student Caroline Lafarge, an ESSS Stop Smoking Service as an a Stop Smoking Advisor understands how stressful exams can be, what it is like being away from home for the first time and that therefore quitting smoking can be a big challenge.