The Imagination Series


In 2012, Bombay Saphire ran an interesting competition called The Imagination Series, where filmmakers were invited to send in their interpretation of a script written by Geoffrey Fletcher. The five most imaginative entries were shortlisted and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013. Here are two of our favourites.

James W Griffiths’ Room 8 that also won a Bafta award for Short Film.


Alexis Barroso Gasco’s Concrete made us smile.


And looking back on the work these filmmakers have made in the past, we reckon James W Griffiths is someone to watch out for. Here’s a film he shot entirely on a Nokia N8 that won the Nokia Shorts competition 2011. Stuff that not only hits the spot, but actually makes you wish you had made it yourself.


Happy Monday!

Paul Octavious


We’ve been following Chicago based photographer and storyteller Paul Octavious on Instagram for a while now, and are inspired by how creative, colourful and versatile his work is. Here are some of his images, we count among our favourites.

Paul has also done some great images as part of #thepantoneproject. What a great way to appreciate how truly colourful the world is ❤

Loving this warm weather! Going to help my dad fill the pool a bit more. 🏊 Pantone 7737 #thepantoneproject

🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋- Pantone 7548 / Currently buying tons of lemons to make Lemonade and mix with Beer to make Summer Shandy! 🍋🍺😊 P.S. if you want people to look at you, just color match in the grocery store… #thepantoneproject

This Canadian Blue Beauty pulled up aside of us! Pantone 18-4530 Celestial #thepantoneproject (at Dawson Yukon)

Pantone Project on Instagram

If you like what you see, follow Paul Octavious on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

All images (c) Paul Octavious and borrowed with thanks.

All works © Martin Creed. This site is neither under construction nor complete


An artist whose playfulness both amuses and baffles us,
who takes the everyday apart to put it back in ways you never thought of,
Martin Creed is one artist we turn to when we need to be reminded that art is as much about nothing as it is about everything.

So with air filled with balloons,
works that are in all honesty described as ‘A door opening and closing and a light going on and off‘,
with cacti arranged in a logic that only man can give nature,
and a piano that plays no symphonies but where the human hands of an enlisted gallery assistant play the chromatic scales one note at a time…
Everything about Creed’s work shouts ‘does what it says on the box’.
but in a way that forces us to observe how trite our thought processes are,
and how quickly we follow what the majority of society thinks, does and expects,
because that way life becomes easier,
and quicker to the top.

Martin Creed’s current exhibition at Hayward Gallery is aptly titled – What’s the point of it?
It gave us a chance to refresh and to stop expecting to ‘get’ each work just because we ‘see’ so much art.

We were humbled by the sapient simplicity of Creed’s work – nothing is as complex as you think it ought to be, yet he never fails to hit the nail on the head, right through the wall.

Work No. 200, Half the air in a given space, 1998 (Image Source:


Work No. 1092, 2011 (Image Source:


work illustration
Work No. 960, Cacti, 2008 (Image Source:

work illustration
Work No. 88, a sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball, 1995 (Image Source:


For more on Martin Creed, read here.

And we cannot fail to mention that if there ever was a work we loved and would want to possess, it would be Creed’s Work No. 850 that featured people running as fast as they could across the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain in 2008. We’ve been looking for ways to gush about this work since the first day we started Beanstories – in all secrets revealed, this hits our spot.


Martin Creed: What’s the point of it?
Hayward Gallery
Till 27 April 2014

Ann Hamilton: the event of a thread


We recently discovered Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread (2012-13) that combines everything from the beauty of motion and sailing through the wind, to the momentary feeling of weightlessness and being alone together. All the while surrounded by the rhythm of the spoken word, as a voice reads aloud to you from a text that offers warmth in its wisdom.

Staged at Park Avenue Armory the event of a thread consisted of a field of swings connected via ropes and pulleys to a white silk cloth, that moved and swayed with each tug of a swing. Across the room two readers read from special scrolls, surrounded by birds in cages – one species bound by gravity to another whose capacity for flight provokes irreconcilable longings in the other’.

Tiny speakers placed onto hand carried paper bags, carry these voices through the Drill Hall where this work was installed, ‘offer(ing) the intimacy of a private voice in a public arena. Words allow us to travel while the tactile keeps us present; a rhythmic exchange of reeling out and pulling in that is also the swing’s pendulum’.

Ann Hamilton · the event of a thread

Ann Hamilton · the event of a thread

Ann Hamilton · the event of a thread

Ann Hamilton · the event of a thread

As Ann says in her artist statement

‘the event of a thread is made of many crossings of the near at hand and the far away: it is a body crossing space, is a writer’s hand crossing a sheet of paper, is a voice crossing a room in a paper bag, is a reader crossing with a page and with another reader, is listening crossing with speaking, is an inscription crossing a transmission, is a stylus crossing a groove, is a song crossing species, is the weightlessness of suspension crossing the calling of bell or bellows, is touch being touched in return. It is a flock of birds and a field of swings in motion. It is a particular point in space at an instant of time’.

Ann Hamilton · the event of a thread

Ann Hamilton · the event of a thread

We cannot help but be moved by this work. Just as the crossing of threads make a cloth, so do the crossing of people make a community, and in this case, art.

All images borrowed with thanks (c) Ann Hamilton

Maya’s Ideas


For this week’s guest post we have the wonderful Petra Hudakova sharing with us her inspiration for the week. And it comes in the form of a 13 year old entrepreneur / environmentalist / ‘everything you wanted to be when you grew up, but she’s done it now’.

Here’s Petra on what makes Maya’s journey an inspiration for anyone who wants to strike out on their own. As Maya says, all it takes is an idea from the heart. The innovation and the opportunities will follow.

Meet Maya Shea Penn – the amazingly inspiring, professional and creative force of nature, and a sweet 13 year old girl in one. 

Maya is an artist. She is also an enterpreneur, environmentalist, philanthropist, designer, animator, illustrator, and writer. Living her life with passion and purpose, she makes every day an art through her beautiful eco-friendly fashion line.. Maya founded her company- Maya’s Ideas in 2010 when she was only 8 years old, and adorns the world with handmade, artisan crafted, one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly accessories and clothing, made from 100% organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo, as well as recycled vintage materials.

Her parents taught her about recycling, organic gardening, and being environmentally aware from an early age. Her Mom taught her how to sew, her Dad showed her how to take apart a computer and put it back together and that sparked her interest in technology and animation.

Mayas creations

I love that she is part of a new wave of enterpreneurs who not only seek to have a successful businesses, but also to have a sustainable future.

As a 13 year old, Maya has recently spoken at TEDYouth in New Orleans  and TEDWomen in San Francisco, and her conviction and passion have lingered with me since. 


Here’s a gorgeous vine necklace- the Marguerite Garden, named in honour of her Grandmother Marguerite, which is one of Maya’s signature items. 



Maya has also been practicing yoga with her mom for years, and has created a whole collection of yoga headbands, t-shirts and bracelets. Her aromatherapy wristbands and bracelets are a great accompaniment to a wholesome yoga practice. 


As Maya says, “Everyone can make a change. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how old you are – every single person can make a change if they have a passion for it.”


Thanks Petra for sharing this inspiring story, and to the inspiring little girl who is the story.

The biggest wisdom we’ve taken from this is as Maya says –

We live in a big, diverse and beautiful world, and that makes me even more passionate to save it. But it’s never enough to just to get it through your heads about the things that are happening in our world. It takes to get it through your hearts, because when you get it through your heart, that is when movements are sparked. That is when opportunities and innovation are created, and that is why ideas come to life.


The Mary Poppins of Photography


We’ve recently discovered the work of the enigmatic Vivian Maier, and we’re in love.

A career nanny who kept her photography skills a complete secret till a box of her work was discovered posthumously, Vivian has taken some of the most poignant images of New York and Chicago in the 60’s that we’ve seen in a long while.

But better still, we’re bewitched by her self portraits that evoke sheer poetry.

In a world now overrun, and in fact infested with selfies and belfies, Vivian’s work has added some much needed magic to the art of taking one’s own image and the space one occupies. And in her case, it truly is an art.

Self-Portrait, 1954


Self-Portrait, 1961


Self-Portrait, Undated

Self-Portrait, 1955


Self-Portrait, 1955


Self-Portrait, Undated

Self-Portrait, 1956




Self-Portrait, 1956

Self-Portrait, 1971


Self-Portrait, 1953


We really can’t wait to get our hands on this film!





We’ve been away the past few weeks – holidaying, spending time with family, and doing all those warm fuzzy things you do when the end of the year draws close and it’s time to ponder, resolve and breathe.
And we’re back.
More in love
and Alive

This year will be the big one; the one where dreams get ticked off the list and built to last.

Where the life we live is the life we want.

And in the spirit of inspired and inspiring, we’re sharing So Sonia today. Here’s to a year of bigger leaps and kindnesses.
Be well.


Elmgreen and Dragset’s Uninvited Guests


Tomorrow, the Elmgreen & Dragset exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is probably one of our favourite exhibitions of this year. Quite big praise you might say, but not only did this show make us more aware of how conditioned we are as art audiences, but it also highlighted the fact that we can’t help but whisper and tiptoe, and revere art spaces even when obviously encouraged to do just the opposite.

Taking over five rooms of the V&A in what were formerly the Textile Galleries, Elmgreen and Dragset have converted this space into the fictional rooms of an apartment that belong to a retired and disgruntled architect Norman. The rooms include a parlour, living room, study, kitchen, bedroom and a passageway with doors in the wall that emit sounds of a running shower. The atmosphere is surreal especially when you see the gallery staff walking around in livery – almost like a modern day version of Downton Abbey. Do you talk to them or do you walk away? Are they going to stop you if you touch something?

As you walk through the doors, you are also welcome to pick up a little book that accompanies the exhibition and contains a script set within these very rooms. All this making Tomorrow slightly surreal as you wonder whether you’ve walked into an exhibition, a theatre set, or the ‘real’ apartment of someone lucky enough to reside at the V&A. All this adding up to the big question – are we the intruders here or the deliberate audience?

This exhibition comes with no instructions on the tin, no introductory wall text, no helpful gallery assistants to explain – they all seem to verge on characters in a play, making them quite daunting to approach. But they do stop you when you try to take pictures; and a smirk is the most likely answer you will get to a ‘can I sit on the chairs?’ It gets stranger still when you start to look at other visitors and try to figure out whether they are ‘genuine’ visitors like you, or whether they come with the display.

Most of Elmgreen and Dragset’s work focuses on how art is presented and experienced, and also on how different kinds of architecture and the objects within it can affect our behaviour. And in this case the objects featured in this apartment come from everywhere – a combination of objects from V&A Collections, artworks and objects from the artists’ collections, and thrift shop purchases – all presented in a completely non-hierarchical and matter-of-fact way.

But more than each individual object, Tomorrow is the sum total of the atmosphere they collectively create. And the fact that there are a multitude of references to former Elmgreen & Dragset works throughout the display, shows these artists doing what they do best – subverting meaning by reusing old material in different contexts.


As Michael Elmgreen says, ‘If you really respect your audience, you have to consider them as complex as yourself. And they will be very diverse. They will come from many different backgrounds.’ Which is very true in this case – every visitor to this exhibition will have a different understanding of Elmgreen & Dragset’s work, a different expectation of what they are going to see, and a different level of sensitivity to art. That they will all leave with an uncanny feeling, is what these artists have aimed for, and have successfully delivered.

Tomorrow – Elmgreen & Dragset at the V&A
Victoria & Albert Museum
Till 2 January 2014

More images and a recommended read.

Images borrowed with thanks (c) Courtesy the Artists and Victoria Miro, London and V&A.

Foreign Bodies, Common Ground


It’s not very easy to make artistic interpretations of medical research, and present them in a way that captures both the data sets and the mindsets of the community the research sustains. But then when do we ever want easy?

The Wellcome Collection’s current exhibition Foreign Bodies, Common Ground presents the output of six artists who did residences at research centres in Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and United Kingdom. The brief given to them was simple enough – explore the research being done at the centre, find an area that interests you, and make art out of it.

The responses are varied as are the works. Some focus on the science alone, while in other cases the local communities are encouraged to tell their side of the story. But either which way you realise that wherever you might be in the world – good health, strong community ties, and the opportunity and ability to earn one’s living – are common ground for every human being.

Here are some of the works that made us flip out our little black books to take notes –

Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa) worked with the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies to explore their HIV research data collection techniques. Here are some of the images he’s showing, taken by young locals who were asked to capture an image of good health. The young boy all dressed up for church holding a condom in his hand , says it all.

Nothando Sabela, Yoga with NO face, 2012
Nothando Sabela, Vinyasa Flow 2, 2012


Sebenzile Nkwanyana, Save Me, 2012
Sebenzile Nkwanyana, Save Me, 2012


Siboniso Bhekumusa Sibiya, The Fountain, 2012
Siboniso Bhekumusa Sibiya, The Fountain, 2012


Sanele Mbokazi, Splash, 2012
Sanele Mbokazi, Splash, 2012


Lêna Bùi (Vietnam) examined zoonosis or the transfer of diseases from animals to humans. Her stunning video Where birds dance their last, follows the locals of the Trieu Khuc village who earn their living collecting chicken and duck feathers. This community was badly affected economically during the avian flu outbreak in 2008, though none of them contracted the flu themselves.

Lena Bui, Where birds dance their last, 2012
Lena Bui, Where birds dance their last, 2012


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And among the works on display by Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki (Kenya) are two stunning images that represent the thin layer that separates the medical professional from the disease and the human being they are administering. Simple yet highly evocative images!

Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki, Conjure Paths, 2012
Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki, Conjure Paths, 2012


Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki, Conjure Skies, 2012
Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki, Conjure Skies, 2012



Foreign Bodies, Common Ground
Wellcome Collection
Till 30 June 2013

The Magic of The Paper Cinema


Comprising a unique form of live animation and music, The Paper Cinema makes stories come alive with pen and ink drawings that are manipulated in real time before a camera that projects them onto a large screen.

Why go through all this trouble? Why not make an animation, you ask?

Well it’s precisely their handmade process that makes Paper Cinema magical. The drawings that Nicholas Rawling and Imogen Charleston move with artistic precision before the camera lens, the instrumental music performed at close proximity by Christopher Reed; all these aspects of film making and story telling sadly get lost in today’s world of ‘I now watch-everything-on-my-mobile-device’. Paper Cinema takes film making back to its basics, and gives us a story we can feel and see without it all being down to fancy technology.

Here’s a glimpse of the artistic processes involved in a Paper Cinema production. This is taken from a project called West that they did for Bristol’s Mayfest 2013.