Urban Bear Research Centre.
‘artists demonstrate the consequences of the theories for the arts by practicing the arts themselves, generating models of prototypes that function critically as well as aesthetically. The vanguardist does not analyse existing art but composes alternatives’ (Ulmer 1994: xii)
International Day of the Smile
In collaboration with Laughter Lab, UBRC set up a temporary Smiling Booth on the street outside Persepolis, 28-30 Peckham High Street. Everyone was invited to exchange a smile for a photograph and a specially commissioned Smiling Mantra Poster. Builders, children, parents, teachers, shoppers, general passersby took part in the First International Day of The Smile.
Then on Wednesday Urban Bear took to the streets of Peckham with the Laughing Booth to engage in conversations with passing public on issues of democracy, the polis and laughter. Traveling from 28 Peckham High Street Urban Bear encountered numerous obstacles, was spat at and enjoyed laughing with Mick at the Bun House. The generosity and hospitality was heart warming and Urban Bear hopes to spend more time on the streets of Peckham. Watch out, watch out there’s a bald bear about!
“But eloquence is a source of falsehood, and nothing is more destructive of illusion than poetry; both exaggerate, aggrandize, overdo things generally, and provoke mistrust. So how will this storyteller go about deceiving you? In the following way: he will sprinkle his narrative with such relevant little circumstances, with strokes so simple and natural and yet so difficult to imagine, that they make you say to yourself: “Good heavens, that must be true; no one could have invented a thing like that.’ It is in this way that he will redeem the exaggeration of eloquence and poetry, that the truth of nature will ratify the conjuring-tricks of art, and that he will satisfy two apparently contradictory demands: to be one at and the same time a historian and a poet, a truth-teller and a liar. An example borrowed from another art will perhaps make clearer what I mean. A painter executes a head on a canvas; all its forms are strong, grand, and regular; it is the most perfect and rare ensemble. In examining it I feel respect admiration, and awe; by comparison with it everything is feeble, meager, and trivial. I tell myself that, yes, it is an idealized head… But let the artist cause me to see on the forehead of that head a tiny scar, a wart on one of its temples, an imperceptible cut in the lower lip, and from being an idealization it becomes a portrait; let there be a smallpox mark at the corner of the eye or beside the nose, and this woman’s face is no longer the face of Venus, it is the portrait of one of my neighbors. So I shall tell our historical storytellers: “Your faces are beautiful, well and good: but what is lacking is the wart on the temple, the cut on the lip, the smallpox mark at the side of the nose which would render them true”; and as my friend the actor Cailleau would say: “a little dust on my shoes, and I am not coming out of the dressing room but returning from the countryside.”…And then a little moralizing, after a little aesthetics, an excellent combination! (Diderot 1991:124-5 – from the conclusion of the tale The Two friends of Bourbonne.)
URBAN BEAR RESEARCH CENTRE: URSATOPIA @ Animal Fair, Chutney Preserves 2010
Turning the tide of ethology, bear and comrades will be sharing the rules and manners of contemporary bear etiquette. Humans will be invited to enter Urban Bear’s special acclimatized tent to share tips on the latest fashion, movements and manners from ursatopia. Debretts meets Selfridges, Urban Bear spares no man or woman in search for answers to animal/human behaviours, in a make-it-up research programme.
But Remember ‘In Ursotopia’ – Be(a)ware bad manners and incivility!
Hectoring and Laughture – or what remains of laughter?
An evening with Laughing Bear, Urban Bear Research Centre and Don’t Care Bear – the eminent respondent Doctor Dean Kenning – presenting Hectoring and Laughture, as an unpredictable yet entertaining presentation on Laughter’s (after) affects. A lecture that delves into the spiritual, psychological and orificial aspects of laughter, in which the Laughing Bear will impart the spirit, refinery and elegance of laughter as experience. Following Laughing Bears’ presentation, Don’t Care Bear (artist Dr. Dean Kenning) will make his own learned response.