Doing the wrong thing...

2bitpunk (aka Michael Speechley), VJ London, Fabrizio d'Amico (2015)
Photo: 2bitpunk (aka Michael Speechley), VJ London, Fabrizio d'Amico (2015)
I set out on the selfish path to become an artist after the death of my mother. Today I can confirm that I’m still the same confused and unfocused person when I first started. There have been successes, revelations and disappointments. There have been sleepless nights, too many ideas, no ideas and unrealistic expectations. I’ve exhibited, curated, taught and performed. I’ve been an artist in residence, run galleries and artist studios. I've had work exhibited in a large institution (luck more than fate). I’ve learnt that being an artist is hard and may never be a label I can claim. What if I’m doing the wrong thing, what if I’m a fictional character?

Michael Speechley, July, 2017

... now

When I read back my words from 2017 I recognise a classic artists trait of lack of confidence in ability and value. I now realise my journey has taught me to respect an artists contribution to society above and beyond their creative output. Artists are not only the sum of their work but also a hugely important element of a healthy community.

Artists are a mirror to society reflecting its passions and anxieties:- The arts (music, art and science) bind people together, giving us moments of joy and reflection. The arts solve problems through innovation and experimentation; allow free expression, highlights inequalities and pushes to break down barriers.

Simply put artists help societies move forward.

As I write the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a shock to the system and a warning shot from nature. Many have suffered through this period with unnecessary loss of life, increased long term health issues, loss of income and personal freedoms have been disrupted. The arts put on hold while societies battle to subdue the virus.

As we emerge from this shock we need to think carefully about how we rebuild. Its so easy to flick the switch and get back to what we did yesterday… unwrap the pedestal and let the ‘arts’ business sell work again.

But who will benefit from this reboot?

Not the community artist or individuals working for the good of the planet. Not the young seeking to enter the creative arts. Not the struggling communities with huge resources spent on building unaffordable flats without local infrastructure.

This is a time to take a breath and to consider how the flow of money can be shared equally to rebuild the arts from the bottom up.

January, 2022

What do I do and where can I be useful?

Audio-visual content creator, installation artist, lecturer, VJ, tech (real-time digital / analogue moving image works)...

Making images move – Audio visual content creation, live performance, installation and technical production

Arts & Infrastructure – Establishing and running facilities for the arts

Education – Lecturing in moving image and VJ techniques, experimentation and history

Artists statement

Michael Speechley, the artist at work (sic), Emanuela Franchini (2016)
Photo: The artist at work (sic), Emanuela Franchini (2016)
Trapped behind a wall silent. Knowing what the process and how the game is played, but always pushing back. Why should I feed the engine when the engine won’t feed me.

Michael Speechley, January, 2022

Practice

Moving image (analogue digital), lens based work, film, print, sculpture, installations, artist collaborations and support.

Experimentation takes the form of translating film and installation work into tangible documentation which can be read/exhibited after the installation is dismantled or the power removed.

Opposite Fields

The name ‘Opposite Fields’ references the analogue and digital, the physical and nonphysical. Its role is to act as a vehicle to present ideas, either as an individual, in collaboration or in group settings.

Timeline (arts)

Exhibitions, installations, collaborations, artist support, space management and building establishment
Year Detail
2022 Lecturing The Art of VJing, BA (Hons), Point Blank Music School, London
2022 BAR Memories & Mementos group show, North West London
2021 Memories of Food, Video City, Technician assisting Eleanor Beale, London
2021 Ophelia in Exile, Technician assisting Tereza Stehlíková, Czech Centre, London
2021 Preliminary Notes for a Black Manifesto, Rasheed Araeen. Technician, Metroland Cultures, London
2021 Listening Devices, Technician assisting Abigail Schama, London Craft Week
2021 Absolute Beginners, Technician assisting Tom James, London Design Week
2018 Neville Road Studios (artist studios), establishment and management, North West London
2018 Video installation, assisting Fubu Dance Collective, Roundhouse, London
2018 The Mews Coachworks (artists studio), assisting with establishment, North West London
2017 Kindred Studios (artist studios), studio management, West London
2017 What if?, workshops and exhibition, Crisis 50th Anniversary North West London
2017 Progress IV, Dissenters Gallery, Kensal Green Cemetery
2017 Sculpture with video installation, collaboration with Diana Assaker, London
2017 I remember (film), dementia clients, Age UK (WIP)2016
2016 Shrine exhibit, Tate Britain, Octavia Foundation commission
2015 Opposite Fields moving image group show, BAR Gallery, North West London
2015 For Sale Contact Seller video installation/exhibition, London
2014 Sleepwalker, installation and print works, BAR Gallery, North West London
2013 Two parts, Five steps, installation and film, BAR Gallery, North West London
2013 Progress I, installation and film, Albert Project, North West London

Timeline (club / live events)

To all the DJs, musicians, venues, production crews, artists and software developers who made my world, big love! and very special mention to Gary, Mark, Dean P, Andy, Dean B and not forgetting David and Ray @ Vidvox xxx

To be honest when I started out working in clubs it was a bit of fun. I never thought I would still be presenting work 37+ years later. Most of this period is hard to document due to never thinking beyond the last gig. Now I mainly work on private events which won’t be documented. But if you follow my social media occasionally you will see me share a clip or two.

Michael Speechley, the artist at work, Unknown, 1980s
Photo: The artist at work, Unknown (boots or Andy), 1980s

Venues (the ones I can remember) + significant dates: 02 Academy Oxford, Corn Exchange Brighton, Corn Exchange Leeds, Escape Brighton, Happy Jacks London, Heaven London, HMV Forum London, HMV Institute Birmingham, HMV Picture House Edinburgh, Koko London, O2 ABC Glasgow, O2 Academy Bristol, Ritz Manchester, Roundhouse London, Royal Festival Hall London, Westbank London, Subterania London, Loft Studios London, Bush Hall London, Stour Space London, New River Studios London

Year Detail
2022 2D / 3D projection mapping and immersive environments
2000s Digital, video projection, LED
1996 Art of the Fly, 1980s club flyer designs, various (ISBN-10: 0500279098)
1990s Analogue, 35mm slide, 16mm film projections
1980s Early experiments with moving image for club visuals

Lecturing

"No, I'm not the DJ"

Workshop, training and lecturing with a focus on moving image for live events, performance and art installations. Specialising in analogue and digital live mixing and effects using physical and computer based techniques. Software tools: VDMX, Resolume Arena, Vuo, Arduino, node based and live coding.

Research and refrence material for the 'Art of VJing' module (2022): https://oppositefields.com/art-of-vjing