Urban Deerstalking in Portlade – Artists Open Houses blog post by Peter Chrisp

Urban Deerstalking in Portslade. Map by Johanna Berger, Involuntary Park 2011

Peter Chrisp took part in the Involuntary Park stalk last week and has written about the experience in his blog for Artist Open Houses:

“Last Thursday, I had an intriguing invitation from CiCi Blumstein to go Urban Deerstalking in Portslade. As part of this year’s HOUSE festival, we would set off from Blank Studios on ‘a hunt to catch sight of the legendary Portslade deer.’

We got to the studios at 6pm and had a free glass of wine. CiCi, and her fellow deerstalkers, Joseph Young and Johanna Berger, told us that they’ve declared the whole of Portslade an ‘Involuntary Park‘ – an urban area reverting to an overgrown, feral state. We would be stalking metaphorical deer, emblems of wildness, regeneration and creativity. We would also have to develop an inquisitive, alert ‘deer sense’.” … Peter’s blog continued here …

Urban Deerstalking in Portlade – Deer Corner, Involuntary Park 2011.

Photo: Johanna Berger


What is Art Worth? A short symposium about value, art and exchange

What is Art Worth? A short symposium about value, art and exchange

As part of THE EXCHANGE at BLANK, Involuntary Park present a 90 minute symposium on the value of art in the age of austerity. Three short presentations looking at value and art from a personal and political perspective will stimulate debate and conversation as we unpick how art and artists operate in the global marketplace; look at alternative models of exchange as an art form in an historical context; and how improvisation in art acts as a model for equal exchange, posing a challenge to current value and power structures.

Presenters: Johanna Berger, CiCi Blumstein and Joseph Young.

Saturday 21 May, 18:00 – 19:30

£5 / £3 concs (including a complimentary glass of wine or juice).

Tickets available from:


THE EXCHANGE – list of FREE workshops now online

THE EXCHANGE – poster design by the wonderful

Parliament of Feathers

Involuntary Park has curated THE EXCHANGE at BLANK Gallery & Studios in Portslade. Take advantage of the FREE workshops on offer and swap them for something you can offer in return. Just browse the list, choose a workshop, put your name down on the list and come to BLANK to register your exchange. THE EXCHANGE is open every weekend in May from 11 to 5 at BLANK, 108 North Street, Portslade, BN411DG

FOR A LIST OF WORKSHOPS ON OFFER SO FAR, DATES AND TIMES PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK: List of Workshops at THE EXCHANGE . More workshops are being added every day, so please check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.

You can sign up for workshops on this online list but will need to register at BLANK Studios too on the day.

 How to ‘pay’ for a workshop at THE EXCHANGE:

Volunteering: Help in the cafe (manning the cafe, washing up, etc), invigilating the artists’ studios, etc

Performing: This one would be relevant to musicians, poets, theatre people, dancers, etc., to help animate the Deer Feeding Station cafe with short performances, interventions, readings, dances and more, sprinkled in liberally over the day – just let your imagination roam.

Facilitating a workshop, or giving a talk or demonstration: It can be anything from one-to-one to small or large groups, for whatever length of time you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t need to be ‘artistic’ – we welcome any skill that can be shared, particularly domestic or practical skills, special interests or knowledge from any field. Just run it by us and we’ll most likely say yes!

Or other: Contributing essential information or advice, donating or loaning us something we need, etc.

Money: You are more than welcome to make a donation as sponsorship for the project if you wish, but as a payment option we try to make it ‘the last resort’.

If you would like to offer a workshop or other skill at THE EXCHANGE, please first register your offer with us at involuntarypark3@gmail.com , and on the day, we will give you an ANTLERCARD plus a stamp for each skill offered. You can then redeem each stamp for a workshop of your choice during THE EXCHANGE.

HOUSE Festival 2011 – preview program now online

Brighton HOUSE Festival 2011- brochure

Involuntary Park’s project THE EXCHANGE is part of HOUSE Festival, Brighton’s annual contemporary visual arts festival, which will go live online on 29th April 2011. In the meantime you can preview the HOUSE 2011 festival programme by clicking here – it’s looking fabulous! We are the first event featured, see pages 4 & 5 …

From the HOUSE Festival website:

HOUSE takes place in small galleries and domestic sites throughout Brighton and Hove. Drawing together contemporary, experimental artists and curators from the city, the region and beyond, HOUSE brings a new cultural experience to the city during May, offering the best that the contemporary visual arts have to offer.

This year’s festival will cover the four weekends of May:

May 7th & 8th, 14th & 15th, 21st & 22nd and 28th & 29th

Brochures will be available from 28th April at designated brochure pick-up points, including the Dome box office, Brighton and Hove libraries, stations and tourist centers, as well as all HOUSE and AOH festival venues.

Look out for HOUSE / AOH leaflet maps available citywide from the middle of April.

HOUSE brings a rich mix of diverse and innovative new work to the Brighton Festival season and may challenge your preconceptions of what visual art can be.

If you would like to book tickets for any of the HOUSE 2011 Artists Talks and events events, please click on this link http://www.brightonticketshop.com, or phone at 01273 709709, or buy tickets in person at the Dome Box Office, 29 New Road, Brighton BN1 1UG.

The Exchange @ BLANK every weekend in May

The first one of our Portslade projects has been commissioned by HOUSE as part of Brighton Festival’s events and will take place at BLANK every weekend in May:


We think the time is right for FREE things:

FREE painting

FREE film

FREE knitting

Are You Ready for it?

All of Portslade has been declared an involuntary park.

The only currency valid here is skill (any skill) and the only place to redeem it is at THE EXCHANGE. Neither an exhibition nor a performance piece but a Pay-What-You-Earn-and-Sponsor-some-ART, artist run Cafe and a workshop the size of a building. Come and hang out at The Deer Feeding Station, take part in an Involuntary Fashion trail, make a giant Knitted Deer, record your own Sound Nugget, paint an Urban Hunting scene …

We aim to discover the hidden talents of Portslade by opening up our gallery and studio spaces to the community. Come and swap something YOU can do for something we can do. ‘No skill is too big or too small. Everything is a currency we can exchange…’

Participants include: Monica Crowe, Katie Blackwell & friends from The Goodwill Co-op at Emmaus, Mike Weatherley MP, Lorette Mackie of Portslade Community Forum, Parliament of Feathers Screen printers, Josie Jeffery of Seedfreedom, plus BLANK artists Libby Davy, Carolina Diaz, Rosie Holmes, Lorenza Ippolito, Romily Meredith; Chris Shaw-Hughes; Jo Shapland, Amy Smith, EvaWeaver and Tamsin Williams.

Blank artists will open their studios every weekend throughout May during The Exchange.

Full list of workshops and times will appear here soon. In the meantime tell us what YOU can do. Your skills will buy you a slot in the workshop of your choice!

WE ARE INTERESTED IN HEARING FROM YOU, WHAT CAN YOU OFFER IN EXCHANGE? Please go to facebook to register your workshop/event/skill sharing. Don’t be shy now…

Involuntary Architecture & Lebkuchen Houses

The scene today in the IP studio, after architects and lecturers of the Architecture course at  Brighton University came to see us to discuss plans & possibilities for the Portslade Project –  a great meeting, resulting in some excellent ideas and Involuntary Architecture …

Architect-devoured Lebkuchen House

Hannover Public Art Vision – Involuntary Park represents the UK

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Involuntary Park has been invited to submit proposals for a new public art vision as part of an Artpoint commissioned project for the city of Hannover. The results are now on public display at EISFABRIK / Blaue Halle until December 19th. Further details can be found at http://changingspaces.twoday.net.
Hannover courted controversy back in the seventies when it commissioned internationally renowned artist, Niki de Saint Phalle to site three of her ‘Nanas’ on the bank of the Leine, where they have since become familiar landmarks. Involuntary Park decided to respond to these once controversial figures by enclosing them in a Cover Version that partly obscures the sculptures from view, thus reigniting the debate around the place of art in public space and re-examining attitudes towards the familiar.
We also proposed designs for a series of Kunst Dialog Boxes – a network of specially designed art dialogue sites in the city to facilitate public consultation – and created the blueprint for a new festival of public art as part of the annual Hannover Messe. Established sixty years ago, Hannover Messe today ranks as the world’s leading international trade fair for industrial technologies, materials and product ideas. Our proposal seeks to develop the well-established tradition of public art in Hannover by instituting an annual festival of temporary or semi-permanent artworks for the public realm in the context of a curated international festival.

The Measuring Room @ BLB Chartered Surveyors & Engineers

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The Measuring Room installation as part of  the Times, Lines & Interludes event we designed for BLB Chartered Surveyors & Engineers to mark their move into new premises. This installation was set up in BLB’s kitchen, and the little movement sequence was captured just before taking it down again the next day. More about the event …

The Measuring Room is a confined and exact space that challenges participants to negotiate and engage with its rules – visitors are asked to play with a simple urban planning rule, the Floor Area Ratio, within the clearly defined space of a large sculptural measuring triangle. The more they play and physically negotiate / inhabit this triangular space, the more creative plot paper they will be able to take away with them, to use as they wish. In the context of the BLB event, participants used BLB’s packing paper, and created their own parcel of time to take away. More about the Measuring Room …

Above: The Measuring Room @ BLB – installation, CiCi Blumstein 2010. Photos: Joseph Young