Yara El-Sherbini and The Huddle ‘How to stop being friends with someone you no longer have anything in common with’

As one of the artists in residence for Wide Open School, Yara El-Sherbini created a project with the Huddle Group in which the group generated questions to form their own syllabus, leading to a self-published booklet and oyster-card holder documenting and disseminating their findings. Here is a video charting the experience:


Work No. 39 and Mr Brainwash

John Lilley  (Twitter: @JohnLilley_WLon)
I missed Cesara Pietroiusti’s class, but really liked the artworks and got involved.  This is what happened to Work No. 39.

Work No 39 states:
Every new owner of this drawing must eliminate the previous signature, and replace with their own, thereby contributing to its transformation, after which they must pass it on to a person of their choice.
I was at the Opening of Mr Brainwash’s new show on Sunday 5th August 2012, at the Old Sorting Office, New Oxford Street. (www.mrbrainwash.com)
I wrote at the bottom “from the Cesaro Pietroiusti’s class @ the Wide Open School” because I wanted future participants to know it’s origin. (Apologies I misspelt Cesara with an ‘o’).  I then crossed out the first signature, possibly from the person who created the original coffee star splashes.

Work No.39

There’d been a lot of publicity that Mr Brainwash would be giving away art work at the opening of his show. Another part of the ‘back story’ to Thierry Guetta (famous from ‘Exit Through the Gift shop’) is the mantra he preaches: anyone can make art.  It felt important that Mr Brainwash should be involved with this work.
He was busy doing signings for a huge queue of people so there wasn’t time to explain fully. I asked him to keep hold of work No.39 and have a read of it’s instructions when he had time.  He seemed intrigue-pleased. He said he would.

Work No.39 and Mr Brainwash

Work No.39 and Mr Brainwash

10 places,10 minutes,10 homes, 10 years of moving


Ten years ago I arrived in London.

I have moved home 10 times.

On June 28th, 2012, I decided to revisit all those “homes”.

I faced the 10 doors that I no longer hold the keys for. 



 Swiss cottage 17:50

Kilburn          18:44

NottingHill     17:24

Kentishtown   20:02  

Baker street    20:55


Ravenscroft road     21:25

                                                    Claredale Street       21:45 

                                                   Bethnal Green road 22:20

Goldsmith road        22:55

 Valentine road         23:17

facing an object

homework for SongDong’s class

What is the Mirror



July 1st, 2012

Song Dong said to me, “You and your art are now embodied, I can not separated you from your art, let your personal story grow, use your individual voice to tell the larger history. It’s moving and powerful, you are my mirror.”

 I met SongDong in 2006, when I was working for Selfridge’s 3D Creative team, that year, Selfridges invited two Chinese contemporary artists, SongDong and WangQingSong, to create large installations for a Chinese themed window display.

 SongDong is the artist who performed Stamping The Water in 1996, for me one of the most direct, poetic and emotional performances that challenged the subject of time, ownershippolitics, body and nature.

Waste not 2012 at London Barbican Center and Writing Diary with Water exhibits at the Hayward Gallery made SongDong a very visible figure in the contemporary art world. 

 Song Dong remains incredibly kind, modest, sincere and encouraging. He is a pure Chinese intellectual, a true gentleman.

What is the Mirror

My mirror is my past, my mirror is my memory, my mirror is the self-tangling, my mirror is the helpless controlling.

What is the mirror? Talking to the mirror in the heart.

 Song Dong lead a performance workshop inspired by the question ‘What is the mirror?’ in the Hayward Gallery. I was his student for five days.

 Song Dong said “Class not only exists in the school hours, it’s wherever and whenever you decide to learn.”

 So he divided the class into three days in classroom and two days of outside homework.                                                                                                

 Day one: Facing

Our instruction was to face a wall for 10 minutes, then face one classmate for 10 minutes. Our homework was to face an object for 10 minutes.

 Day two: Homework day

 I traveled back to 10 places I use to live at in last 10 years. I stood outside each door for 10 minutes.

Facing the doors, facing the homes for which I no longer have keys, facing my past, facing the changes.

 Day three: You Are My Mirror

 Two people were connected by three single strings: one attached between their mouths and one between each of their opposite hands. One leads, the other one follows. The followers eyes remain closed. The goal is to keep each string taut.

 Day four: Homework day

 Follow a stranger on the street, mirror every single movement he or she does for 10 minutes.

 Day five: Who is Leading and My Mirror

 1. “Who is the leader”

 This is a repeat of the string exercise only now there are four people involved. One person (the follower) is controlled by three people (the leaders) each with their own string.

 I was being led, but in reality it transpired that the leaders felt more like the followers.

 2. We had to answer Song Dong’s question,”What is the mirror”?

 I sat in front of a ball of black string for five minutes. I then unraveled the string quickly whilst wrapping it around my face. I moved faster and faster as the ball of string became smaller and smaller. My face gradually disappeared as my breathing became more and more erratic form the physical effort. Finally I transformed into the black ball that was in front of me. 

The gesture of facing the object and the use of string are my continuation of SongDong’s theme. My mirror is my past, my mirror is my memory, my mirror is the self-tangling, my mirror is the helpless controlling.

This performance was inspired by Nigel Rolfe’s performance the Rope.https://vimeo.com/18952957

Last class in Wide Open School

The last class, tonight, led by the legendary filipino film maker Kidlat Tahimik, was an intriguing mixture of film screening, lecture, installation-making and performance.

Kidlat’s film works are so original, innocent and full of imagination. He’s using a very independent, personal view to review the real world. Since most of his works are not circulating in the market, this was also a commendable chance.


After this last class, the real summer holidays begins. But I’m not graduated from WOS yet. I really enjoyed studying here, especially I miss violently everyone I encountered- artists, gallery staff, participants, volunteer mates you all taught me loads. I suppose WOS is a place where we learn from people rather than anything else. Thank you very much and miss you all!

Bedwyr Williams ‘The Truth against the World’


The class of Bedwyr Williams’s lecture-performance ‘The Truth against the World’, which looked at the cultural mystique emanating from across England’s Western border. Participants donned makeshift robes in the style of Eisteddfod Druids as they listened intently to tales of, amongst other things, the coming of Mario Merz and cultural markers of Rhyll.