Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Transmission Talk

We are taking part in this:

Tuesday 8th November 16.30 TO 18.00. ADSETT-6620. CITY CAMPUS. 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Knack Quiz



A Pub-Style Quiz

This pub-style quiz marks the end of Glen Stoker and Anna Chrystal Stephens’ Platform Residency, There Are No Firm Rules. The quiz will take place within the two project installations in the gallery. The questions will be drawn from facts and trivia relating to and emerging from the residency.

Come on your own or in a team of up to 4 people.

Beer available, prizes for the winning team.

No modern knowledge-sharing tech: Check your phone in (safely) at reception!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Knack - A Pub Style Quiz

The closing event for the residency sought to bring together some of the knowledge learnt during the residency and the prior R&D phase, in an attempt to share it back out.

The Knack was a PUB(style) Quiz...with only one rule - No Mobile Phones.

A pub (style) Quiz

Round 1 -  DIY, Camping, Survival

1.     Q. What does trail-blazing mean?

2. Q. What can you clean with crushed dried egg shells, salt and sodium borate?

3. Q. What’s the missing Word in this hypothermia equation?
COLD + WIND + WETNESS + ?  = Hypothermia

4. Q. What does GPS stand for?

5. Q. When purifying water by boiling for a safe time - 15 to 20 minutes, it should be safe to drink, but will have gone flat and lost its taste - which carboniferous material is useful to restore the taste?

6. What acid gives sour dough bread its sour taste?

Round 2 – Environment, local

7. Q. Which two waterways make up Sheffield’s Blue Loop?

8. Q. How long does it take to walk around the Blue Loop at a speed of 2 mph?

9. Q. What Landmark sits at the north-eastern tip of the Blue Loop?

The next three questions are from author J.D Taylor whose cycle trip around the UK resulted in the book Island Nation. JD spent some time in Sheffield during his journey.

10. Q. Peak Cavern in Castleton, the Peak District, is locally known by what other mischievous name?

11. Q. What's the name of the late 1990s government programme resulting in the needless demolition of whole streets of houses in the North of England?

12. Q. Under the influence of what substance did J.D. Taylor converse with a headless woman whilst at Avebury one night

13. Q. Which river runs underneath Site Gallery?

Round 3 – Tech

These questions are supplied by Jake Harries of Sheffield’s Access Space

14. Q. Which operating system is the second most used for accessing the internet worldwide after Microsoft Windows?

15. Q. Which operating system can you put on your computer or laptop to give it possibly five to ten years years' extra life when a Microsoft Windows upgrade won't run or install on it because the computer processor is too slow?

16. Q. If a Microsoft Windows upgrade causes your computer to run too slowly to be usable, do you

a) buy a new computer costing several hundred pounds
b) install Linux and get possibly five years extra life from your computer/laptop for nothing.

17. Q. Floss is a well known aid to keeping your teeth clean. But what is FLOSS in the world of computing?

18. Q. How much does a Linux operating system and all the creative, internet and office software you can download for it cost?

Round 4
Picture Round

Round 5 – Plants

19. Q. Which of the following plants are edible and which are poisonous for humans?

Wild Arum
Fox Glove
Himalayan Balsam

The Following 4 questions are supplied by Martin Crawford, author of How To Make A Forest Garden

20. Q. How fast can bamboo shoots grow in the UK? Answer in Centimetres to the nearest 5 cm

21. Q. Fungal hyphae is a long, branching filamentous structure of a fungus - hyphae are the main mode of vegetative growth, and are collectively called a mycelium. If your 1 pint beer glass was full of forest soil, what length of fungal hyphae will there be in it? 1.7m, 170m, 1.7km, 170km

22. Q. If you grew a ‘Dennistons Superb’ tree, what fruit would you eat from it?  

23. Q. If you said you really liked toon, what would you be talking about?
A.             A root native to northern England
B.             A Chinese tree with edible spicy leaves
C.             An irrigation system

The following two questions come from Ffyona Cambell - who walked solo around the world in the 1980’s and is now one of the UK’s well known foragers. Ffyona has asked that you think laterally for the next question and we will award points for the nearest to ffyona’s answer.

24. Q. Why do stinging nettles sting?   

25. Q. Some plants evolved edible roots for humans to eat How does that help the plant?

26. Q. What are the following varieties of....: April Bearded, Maris Widgeon, Eithiopian  blue tinge

27. All of the following plants - according to Richard Mabey - have a purpose - can you match the following 5 purposes to the 5 plants below?

A Scented pillow stuffing

B Basketry
C polishing

D keeping butter cold
E glue

1.  Bluebell

2.  Hazel  
3.  Pine     
4.  Burdock/dock

5.  Ivy

Round 7 - Trees

28. Q. In 1086, from info in the Magna Carta, Woodland covered 15% of England. To the nearest percent, what was this percentage in 2002?

29. Q. Why has Scotland largely been successful in keeping the grey squirrel population down, whilst numbers of red squirrels have soared?

30. Q.  Which tree and which fruit is gin made from?

The following 5 questions come from renowned arborealist, Jerry Dicker

31. Q.     What tree, the Norse tree of life Yggdrasil, is now facing death in the UK?

32. Q.  What is the tallest NATIVE tree in the UK, especially in Caledonia?

33. Q.  What tree is called Mother of Forests because its dense shade suppresses undergrowth and allows tree seedlings to germinate and grow?

34. Q. Which tree can live to a great age;  its leaves can poison horses and cattle although they are used to make an anti-cancer drug; the berries are delicious but the seeds are poisonous.

35. Q.  Green buds in winter, a 5 pointed leaf and helicopters in autumn, this member of the maple (acer) family) is an invasive coloniser with seeds that grow anywhere.

Round 8 -  Known-Unknown-Known

These questions are taken from public contributions to the project Known/Unknown/Known

36. Q. What is formed from a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae?

37. Q. What animal shares information about toxins and food sources through chemical signals in their mucus

38. Q.  What kind of mushrooms can convert hydrocarbons (eg. deisle) into water, remove ecoli from water sources?

39. Q. How many minutes can you can survive without air, days without water and months without food?

40. Q. Lavender is an effective treatment for which common household accident?

41. Q. Singing nettles are not native to the UK, why did the Roman’s bring stinging nettles here?

Final Question
42. What is the answer to the universe?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Of The Day #17 - Object - Ring Pull Bag

Ring pulls; a readily available source of scrap metal, ripe for re-purposing... people have been experimenting with re-using drinks bottles and cans for years, here's a good example of how they can be used.

I think the pulls are attached together with cord, they move across each other freely, its not stiff.
Bling. This one's owned by Hekka Stephens.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Of The Day #16 - Object - Brazilian Coffee Maker

Hario Hand-Drip Brewer:

Simple coffee maker. I made this one from a bit of old t-shirt and some bent round wire, any scrap similar fabric will do. Hot water filters through the coffee in the fabric ouch. Basic process, tastes great.

There Are No Firm Rules - Platform Residency - The Knack

After 4 weeks of activity, explorations, meetings, workshops and events, we are readying for the final instalment of There Are No Firm Rules.

In keeping with the knowledge-transfer and share nature of the project, we are holding a Pub (Style) Quiz, with entrants invited in teams of 1 to 4. Questions have been drawn from our Library resource - The Building Society - and some have been supplied by some of the instructors from our R&D activity phase.  In between the standard question rounds, including a picture round, there'll also be a taster round, and an activity round, with prizes for the best team.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Of The Day #15 - Plant - Rowan

Rowan, Mountain Ash

The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or trees in the genus Sorbus of the rose family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

The name "rowan" is recorded from 1804, detached from an earlier rowan-tree, rountree, attested from the 1540s in northern English and Scottish.

Rowan is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - butterflies and moths and may account for the eggs found on a leaf and recorded in an earlier post here. with a full list here

The Rowan bears fruit in abundant clusters in the late summer and early autumn - and are really attractive to birds - leading to a colloquial name - bird catcher

The tree was also called wayfarer's tree or traveller's tree because it supposedly prevents those on a journey from getting lost. 

The fruits of European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) are edible! though bitter when raw, this disappears once heated or frozen - Rowanberries can be
- made into a slightly bitter jelly which in Britain is traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to game
- into jams and other preserves, on their own, or with other fruit.
- a substitute for coffee beans,
- used in alcoholic beverages: to flavour liqueurs and cordials, to produce country wine, and to flavour ale.

In Austria a clear rowan schnapps is distilled which is called by its German name Vogelbeerschnaps. Czechs also make a Rowan liquor called jeřabinka and the Welsh used to make one called diodgriafel.

Some Recipes

Rowan Jelly
A beautifully clear jelly made from rowan berries and apple.

900g cooking apples
1.3kg rowan berries
1 litre water
450g sugar per 600ml juice

Put all the fruit in a large preserving pan and barely cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Allow to drip through a jelly bag overnight.
Measure the juice and weigh out the correct amount of sugar. Add the juice and sugar to the cleaned preserving pan, and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat and cook at a full rolling boil for 5 minutes, then test for a set. (see tips on jelly making below). When the jelly has reached setting point, pot into hot, sterilized jars, seal and label.

Cook apples in boiling water until soft. Add the rowan berries and reduce to a mush. then strain through a jelly bag overnight. Measure the juice and add correct amount of sugar. Boil until the liquid has reduced giving a thickened texture. Skim off any scum then bottle in sterile containers.

Rowan syrup
High in Vitamin A & C, stimulates the metabolism.

1kg ripe rowan berries
450g sugar
2 tsp salt (to counteract the bitterness of the rowan berries)
3l water

Sort your berries or hips out, removing sticks and any spoiled ones. Chop roughly and
put into a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 or 3 cm above the berries. (About 2 litres of water
per 1 kg of fruit). Bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Roughly mash the
berries with a potato masher to release all the juice. Leave to cool for 15 minutes or so. Strain through
a jelly bag (or piece of muslin) and put the berries back in the pan and add one more litre of water. Repeat then strain.
For each litre of juice add 300 g of sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Pour into sterilised bottles, cap and leave to cool. Can be kept in a cool dark place for up to a year.

Rowanberry Wine 

2kg rowanberries, snipped off with scissors, picked over and washed
1.2kg sugar
500ml white grape juice concentrate
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp of wine tannin
1 tsp pectolase
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Sachet of white wine yeast
About 4 litres of boiling water

Put the berries in a food grade plastic bucket and mash them coarsely with the end of a rolling pin. Boil the water then stir in the sugar until dissolved, bring to the boil again and immediately pour over the berries. Cover and allow to cool. Add the grape concentrate, pectolase, lemon juice and tannin. Cover and leave for 24 hours then stir in the yeast nutrient and yeast (activated if necessary).
Cover and leave for a week, stirring every day for the first five days. If your brew has separated nicely into three layers – sludge / liquid / sludge – carefully place the end of a siphon at a strategic height and siphon off the liquid into a clean demi-john – though a bit of sludge won't hurt. Otherwise strain through clean muslin using a funnel. Top up to the bottom of the neck with boiled and cooled water if necessary. Fit your bung and fermentation lock and leave to ferment for a couple of months.
Rack off into a fresh demi-john and leave until all fermentation has stopped for a week, then bottle. Rowanberry wine benefits from a long maturation period in the bottle – at least a year.

The fruit has many health benefits - however - when rowan berries are picked in the wild, they contain high levels of parasorbic acid, which can actually cause kidney damage, indigestion, and a range of other illnesses. Once frozen or heated, though, this acid changes to the beneficial sorbic acid, which our body finds very useful.

It's unlikely that anyone would keep eating the raw berries -they are very very bitter!

This haul was harvested from the site of our SURVEY event - where as with many other areas of British cities, the Rowan is planted as part of a civic planting scheme. This means cities in August will always offer an abundant berry harvest for birds and humans alike!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Of The Day #14 - Object - Desire Line, Democratic Line/Path/Way, Lazy Line, Game Trail, Desire Path, Social Trail, Herd Path, Cow Path, Goat Track, Pig Trail, Bootleg Trail

The Desire Line or - Democratic Line/Path/Way, Lazy Line, Game Trail, Desire Path, Social Trail, Herd Path, Cow Path, Goat Track, Pig Trail, Bootleg Trail - a path created as a consequence of erosion caused by human or animal foot-fall or traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. Width and erosion severity can be indicators of how much traffic a path receives. Desire paths emerge as shortcuts where constructed ways take a circuitous route, have gaps, or are non-existent.

This epic desire line in central Sheffield, depending on the direction approached, ends with either a small jump from a wall - or a climb of a fence and a short jump from a wall. Either way, both seem preferable to walking the ordained civic route.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Of The Day #13 - Plant - Sweet Cicely

Sweet Cicely
Myrrhis odorata

a tall herbaceous perennial plant growing to 2 m [6 ft 6 in] tall, depending on circumstances. The leaves are fern-like, 2-4-pinnate, finely divided, feathery, up to 50 cm long, with whitish patches near the rachis. The plant is softly hairy and smells strongly of aniseed when crushed. The flowers are creamy-white, about 2–4 mm across, produced in large umbels. The flowering period extends from May to June. The fruits are slender, 15–25 mm long and 3–4 mm broad.

Introduced and naturalized in the UK in cultivated areas, woodland margins, roadside verges, river banks and grassland - its leaves are sometimes used as a herb, either raw or cooked, with a rather strong taste reminiscent of anise. The roots and seeds also are edible and has a history of use as a medicinal herb.

Friday, 19 August 2016

There Are No Firm Rules - Platform Residency - Sheffield Antiques Quarter

Sheffield Antiques Quarter

The local independent businesses trading in second hand stuff in the Abbeydale Road area of Sheffield have put together a map to help promote the area. The sector is important for Sheffield's cultural identity and plays a role in championing the importance of old objects: things to be respected, learnt from and re-used, rather than discarded.

Norman P Salt's book for the library

Hekka and Kay discussing promotion of the area and events.

There Are No Firm Rules - Platform Residency - Group Action

Litter Picking in The Sheaf Valley

A Group and Community activity to keep the Sheaf Valley area of Sheffield clean and tidy. This area which comprises the Park Hill estate has had a poor reputation in the city - house prices generally a third lower than in the city's west.

The Friends of the Sheaf Valley, which was set up to promote the area, programme public events and encourage community engagement, regularly walks its streets collecting and disposing of litter.

It's a two-stranded endeavour - obviously, the area benefits from the reduction in lain waste - on this occasion a group of 20 people filled well over 30 bin bags in a 2 hour activity - but it seemed most important was the visibility through a performative presence - a pinked army - ready to engage with the community - taking an initiative with positive action.

There Are No Firm Rules - Platform Residency - The Building Society



Situated in Gallery 2, The Building Society is a library, resource centre and activity zone. The library is made up of over 200 books and magazines, covering aspects and concerns of Glen Stoker and Anna Chrystal Stephens’ Platform Residency, There Are No Firm Rules. These include DIY (homecrafts and skills); the Environment (factual nature, identification and cooking and medicinal books); and Theoretical texts around political and historical systems of living.

The library is free to use – visitors are invited to choose a book to read, converse with the artists and recommend some texts or donate some of their own relevant unwanted books.


Of The Day #12 - Book - Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind  by Yuval Harari

first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011, and then in English in 2014 endeavours to show that it is possible to "ask very big questions and answer them scientifically".

From the sleevenotes -
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Sapiens is the book we have chosen as the base text for a Reading Group event at Site Gallery - we are inviting each of 10 applicants to respond to our chosen excerpt with one of their own in response. Each chosen excerpt, as with ours, shoud take no longer than 2-3 minutes to read. Each applicant is invited to join us on a short circular walk around Sheffield, where the ten responsive texts will be read out at designated points along the way.

Here is our chosen text -

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A First Home

Shield Bug-lets

shield bug-lets?

Of The Day #11 - Object - Kombucha

Kombucha, colloquially known as Booch,  is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks produced by fermenting tea using a "symbiotic 'colony' of bacteria and yeast" (SCOBY).

Historically, kombucha has been home-brewed or locally brewed, but in the late 1990s, commercially bottled kombucha became available in North American retail stores.

While there seems to be some disagreement, Kombucha has been promoted with claims that it can treat a wide variety of human illnesses, including AIDS, cancer, and diabetes, and that it provides other beneficial effects such as stimulation of the immune system, boosting the libido, and reversal of gray hair.

Kombucha culture, when dried, becomes a leather-like textile known as a microbial cellulose that can be molded onto forms to create seamless clothing. Using different broth mediums such as coffee, black tea, and green tea to grow the kombucha culture results in different textile colors, although the textile can also be dyed using plant-based dyes. Different growth mediums and dyes also change the textile's feel and texture. The kombucha textile is similar to cellulose and is sustainable and compostable. In 2014, one designer debuted a clothing collection made entirely out of kombucha textile.

Thanks to Lily Cameron for gifting these two bottles - a raspberry and an organic green tea - Lily has a facebook group all about Kambucha in Sheffield - Sheffield Loves Kombucha!

Lily provides some useful tips on how to enjoy your booch best -
  • Please always keep your Kombucha in the fridge - it’s naturally carbonated and things can get a bit too fizzy if it’s warm! (Seriously, it might EXPLODE!)
  • If you’re new to the Booch you need to give your body time to adjust, so take it slowly. For the first week, try drinking one small glass per day. You can increase to 3 small glasses per day in the second week and after that you can have all the lovely Kombucha you like :)
  • Most of the sugar in Kombucha is gobbled up by the beneficial yeasts & bacteria but if you’re diabetic or taking medication please do ask your doctor before drinking it
  • Kombucha is a fermented product so may contain a tiny amount of alcohol. It’s minimal but if you’re allergic it’s probably best to avoid
  • Keep metals away from your Kombucha as they can harm the good stuff
  • If you notice “bits” in your Booch, don’t worry! Your Kombucha is a natural, living culture and the bits are just those lovely yeasts & bacteria. You can drink them or filter them out with a coffee filter or nylon sieve if you prefer.