How happy a state does a miller possess

Participating artists:
Marcus Coates, Blue Firth, Leo Fitzmaurice, Tim Machin

[insertspace] invited four artists to create new work, situated in selected public houses in Digbeth. This district, a long time industrial area, is home to a great number of pubs of varying ages and styles, each with its own atmosphere and community. Many are still managed by families that hold a wealth of local knowledge and stories.

Marcus Coates performed a shamanic ritual in The Lamp Tavern on behalf of its regulars. He sought to find resolutions to questions asked by the pub’s customers, by making contact with animal spirits. Coates collected questions from the pub goers, which reflected the current concerns in their lives. The film of this performance was be screened at The Lamp Tavern on Sunday 15th April at 2pm. Coates’ practice has questioned the ways we relate to other species. His film/performance process aimed to re-present definitions of humanness through the investigation of cross species consciousness. More recently this led him to engage with communities, often to seek resolutions to social issues through shamanic ritual.

Blue Firth worked with the staff and regulars at The Spotted Dog (Warwick Street), to develop a vinyl floor ‘spell’, which was situated in the pub for the duration of ‘The Event’. Firth’s practice originates from researched based enquiries into tradition, the occult and popular culture, where folklore and urban myths are explored and re-considered. By re-examining images and events from our heritage, she forces us to question their position in a new context, making it possible for us to reconsider our familiarity with them, whilst also highlighting their arcane presence within society.

Leo Fitzmaurice worked with the framed prints and other paraphernalia in The Old Crown to create a new set of images and objects, which compel us to question the role of existing décor and our relationship to it. Fitzmaurice uses everyday found materials to create his work. He obliterates the information that our everyday consumer detritus contains and transforms it into new, often witty, visual forms.

Tim Machin created a ‘pub walk’ guide, which took visitors on a journey around the many and varied public houses in Digbeth. The guide was available from the pubs mentioned above and in other venues associated with ‘The Event’. Machin uses materials from our everyday, such as promotional literature from Barclays Bank, the cardboard box from a packet of colouring pencils, and blue tack, to create discrete, clever works, which comment on the world we inhabit.


Cheryl Jones 07866 589494
Matt Westbrook 07899 686000

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Venue addresses, telephone numbers and opening times:

The Old Crown
188 High Street
Birmingham B12 0LD
T. 0121 248 1368
31 March –  15 April 2007
Mon – Sat 11am – 11pm
Sun 12 midday – 10.30pm

The Spotted Dog
104 Warwick St
Birmingham B12 0NH
T. 0121 622 2586
31 March –  15 April 2007
Mon – Fri 7pm – 11pm
Sat 12 midday – 11pm
Sun 12 midday – 10.30pm

The Lamp Tavern
157 Barford Street
Birmingham B5 6AH
T. 0121 622 2599
12 midday – 11pm daily
Film screening Sunday 15th April at 2pm