Extract from 'Impressions of Africa' by Raymond Roussel, Paris 1910

'...Opposite me, at the other end of the esplanade, extended a sort of altar, with several steps leading up to it, covered with a soft carpet; a coat of white paint, veined with bluish lines, gave the whole structure from a distance the appearance of marble.
On the sacred table, which consisted of a long board, fitted half-way up the erection and hidden under a white cloth, could be seen a rectangle of parchment, dotted with hieroglyphics, standing next to a massive cruet, filled with oil.Beside it, a larger sheet bore the title in careful gothic script: Reigning House of Ponukele-Drelshkaf; beneath the heading a round portrait, a delicately coloured miniature, represented two Spanish girls of thirteen or fourteen, wearing on their heads the national mantilla-twin sisters, to judge by the close resemblance between their faces; at first glance. The picture seemed to be an integral part of the document; but closer scrutiny revealed a narrow strip of transparent muslin which, adhering both to the periphery of the painted disc and to the surface fo the stiff vellum, joined as perfectly as possible the two objects, which were in fact independent of each other; on the left hand side of the double effigy, the name 'SUAN' was written in widely spaced capitals; underneath, the paper was covered with a genealogical table comprised of two distinct branches, issuing in parallel descent from the two beautiful Spaniards who formed the top of the tree; one branch ended in the word Extinction, in letters almost as prominent as those of the heading and clearly meant for brutal effect; the other, on the conrary, a little shorter than its companion, seemed to defy the future by the adsence of any final line.
Near the altar, to the right of it, grew a gigantic palm of remarkable foliage which testified to its great age; a board, fastened to its trunk, bore the commemorative phrase: Restoration of the Emperor Talu VII to the Throne of his Fathers. In the shelter of the palm, on one side, a stake had been driven into the earth and on its square top had been placed a soft-boiled egg.
To the left, at an equal distance fron the altar, a tall plant, old and withering, offered a sad contrast to the splendid palm; it was a rubber tree which had no more sap and was almost rotten. A stretcher, made of branches, lay in its shade, bearing the recumbent corpse of the negro king Yaour IX, wearing the traditinal costume of Marguerite in Faust, a pink woollen gown from which hung a short alms purse and a thick golden wig with long plaits which fell over his shoulders and came half-way down to his knees.

On my left, with its back to the row of sycamores, and facing the red theatre, stood a stone-coloured building which looked like a model in miniature on Paris Bourse...'

'Urchin Eater' Curated by Dan Coopey
Opens on 11th November at Sunbury House, 1 Andrews Road
(Yinka Shonibare's New Space)

Dan Coopey
Peter Fillingham
Maria Georgoula
Magali Reus
David Stearn
Ian Whitfield

Urchin Eater

Private View 6 – 8.30pm, 11 November 2008
10 – 16 November 2008
22 – 23 November 2008

Sunbury House, 1 Andrews Street, London E8 4QL

“Why should I copy this out… this sea urchin, why should I try to imitate nature, I might just as well try to trace a perfect circle. What I have to do is utilize as best I can the ideas which objects suggest to me, illuminate them somewhat.” - Pablo Picasso

Urchin Eater consists of the work of five artists who though formally disparate all eschew formal representation, seeking instead to invoke the true make-up of experienced, and consumed, reality.

The work of Peter Fillingham, Maria Georgoula and Ian Whitfield incorporates the extensive use of the archivist and curatorial disciplines. Yet whilst these two professions have an aim of clear presentation at their heart, the artists have no such interest. Instead they use the disciplines to coerce the objects to a greater, conceptual, purpose. Fillingham’s installation combines four works by the artist that are still in progress. Each work carries personal recollections, and questions how one digests objects and invests into them personal narratives. Put together the artist is creating a library of personal memories. Georgoula creates sculptural collages of found or bought objects, objects copied from found objects and information garnered from the Internet. Again, when collated together, they form fantastical narratives that go far beyond the objects themselves. Whitfield’s paintings start with drawn, painted or photographic source images, taken from a substantial personal archive, and move through a sequence of intuitive painterly decisions that have little to do with description or perception. Each piece evidences an enclosed and progressive investigation, the surface taking on the poetics of the textual list.

With special thanks to Yinka Shonibare.
For further information please contact Dan Coopey via dancoopey@hotmail.com

Nauru do you?
A performance by Iorwerth Wallace based on The Nauru Project

at Städelschule, Frankfurt 2008

Arrivals (Paradise for Sale)
Nauru Factbook
Extract from recording of The Spirit of the Island by Caroline Bird, commissioned for The Nauru Project, performed by Alan Gibbons at the Royal Festival Hall, London
Phosphate, Wealth and Bankruptcy

David König co-author of Islands of Dreams and Nightmares
and editor of Calypso Log, Cousteau Society periodical
The Island of Ouessant
The Library of Island Literature, Ouessant
CALI, The Association of Island Culture, Art and Literature
The Five Lighthouses
Black Dwarf Sheep

Ploumanac'h, Brittany, France ->
Ploumanac'h and the Seven Islands
Pink granite rock formations -> Surrealists
Letter written by Paul Nash to Eileen Agar

Data mining
Workshop on Creative Writing and Drama, USP Nauru
Wilhelm Fabricius
Records of the Colonial Section of the German Foreign Office
The Hernsheim Brothers
Have you ever? by Makerita Va'ai
Epabwa : what you are about to see is a short play...

David König of the Cousteau Society is working on a book with marine author Hugo Verlomme entitled 'Îles de rêve et de cauchemar' or 'Islands of dreams and nightmares'. The book contains twenty stories about the small islands that are at the heart of great myths and epic visions.

Pitcairn: How a heavenly vision transforms into a nightmare. Fleeing the English admiralty, the mutinous people of the Bounty settle on this island where Madness and Death await them.

Nuku Hiva: The strange tale of Joseph Kabris, a young privateer, initiated to the Polynesian rites, turned cannibal and tattooed, brought back by force to Europe where he is exhibited like a curiosity ; Napoleon’s spy.

Sun and Moon Islands, Bolivia: According to the legend, the sun shone for the first time above the Lake Titicaca Islands. Living place of the primitive couple who founded the Inca civilization, place of pilgrimage; vestals, shrines with golden walls. These islands played a crucial role in Andean cosmology and kindled the conquistadors’ dreams.

Islands of dreams and nightmares.doc

Nauru Parliament

General View

The so-called 'pinnacles', fossilised coral columns, Nauru
(Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg, Frankfurt)

French and American expeditions converged on Caroline Island in May 1883 to observe an unusually long total solar eclipse. An expedition member made this drawing. The atoll is best known for its role in celebrating the arrival of the year 2000.

Ai Weiwei
'The Wave' (2005), porcelain

The aim of the Cousteau Society is to educate people to understand, love and protect the water systems of the planet for the well-being of future generations.

The latest issue of their quarterly publication 'Calypso Log' (edited by a friend of the Nauru Project, David König) focuses on the causes and consequences of Sea-level rise. Those consequences may be first felt by the archipelago of Tuvalu, the sovereign nation most in danger of disappearing under the rising sea level. Calypso Log looks at what a small group is doing locally to prepare for the inevitable.

Calypso Log selections 09-08.pdf

Happy Talk

Extract from South Pacific (1958), directed by Joshua Logan

Ariadne auf Naxos (1999), an opera by Richard Strauss directed by Marco Arturo Marelli, conducted by Sir Colin Davies at the Dresden Semperoper

The Prologue

At the home of the richest man in Vienna, preparations for a party are underway. Two groups of musicians have arrived; one is a burlesque group, led by the saucy comedienne Zerbinetta, the other an opera company, who will present a serious opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. The preparations are thrown into confusion when the Major-domo announces that both performances must take place at the same time.

At first, the impetuous young Composer refuses to discuss any changes to his opera. But when his teacher, the Music Master, counsels him to be prudent and when Zerbinetta turns the full force of her charm on him, he drops his objections. When he realizes what he has agreed to he storms out in despair.

The Opera

Ariadne has been abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos. She mourns her lost love and longs for death. At this point Zerbinetta and her four companions from the burlesque group appear. They attempt to cheer Ariadne, but without success. In a sustained and dazzling piece of coloratura singing Zerbinetta insists that the simplest way to get over a broken heart is to find another man.

The three nymphs, Naiad, Dryad and Echo then announce the arrival of a stranger on the island. At first Ariadne thinks he is the messenger of death; but in fact it is the god Bacchus. He falls in love with Ariadne at first sight and promises to set her in the heavens as a constellation. Zerbinetta returns to repeat her philosophy of love and the opera ends with the passionate singing of Ariadne and Bacchus.

Woodwind: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons
Brass: 2 horns, trumpet, trombone
Percussion: tambourine, timpani, drum, cymbals, snare drum
Other: strings, harmonium, celesta, glockenspiel, piano, 2 harps

The Spirit of the Island recording

extract from
The Spirit of the Island by Caroline Bird
Performed by Lynda Bryan, Sonja Byrne and Alan Gibbons
Recorded in the Royal Festival Hall, March 2008

Part 2.mp3

Ernst Haeckel

Bacon family coat of arms
(Mediocria Firma is Latin for Mediocrity is safe, Mediocrity is the way, or Moderate things are surest)

Coronula Reginae
Barnacle found attached to humpback whales

Whale crustaceans

Three species of barnacle and one amphipod were collected from two young humpback whales, found dead along the Dutch coast. Of the four crustacean species three proved to be first records for the Dutch fauna. In this paper the information on distribution, historical findings and details on the new records are provided.

Holthuis & Fransen.pdf


by Simon Perkin


Mined areas

from Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature
by Carl N. McDaniel and John M. Gowdy

Christmas Eve on Nauru

It was Christmas Eve on Nauru. The road from the airport to the Menen Hotel was crowded with cars full of people singing and laughing on their way to the season's festivities. We were surprised at how happy the people were. I suppose we naively expected them to be in a constant state of depression about the destruction of their homeland and their bleak prospects. We checked into the Menen Hotel situated in a residential area on the eastern side of the Island. The building itself was new and elegant, with spectacular views of the reef and the ocean beyond. We tossed our bags into our room and started walking to stretch our legs after the long plane ride.

from Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature
by Carl N. McDaniel and John M. Gowdy

The Nauru Project Exhibition

MFA/MA Fine Art: 5–11 June 2008
Thursday 5, Friday 6 June: 10am–8pm
Saturday 7, Sunday 8 June: 10am–5pm
Monday 9 – Wednesday 11 June: 10am–8pm

The Slade School of Fine Art
University College London
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT
+44 (0)20 7679 2313

The Slade is located on the left hand side of the
main UCL quad on Gower Street.

For maps, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/about-ucl/location/maps
and for public transport links see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/about-ucl/location/public-transport.