Items where Subject is "Exhibition/show"

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Number of items at this level: 18.

B

Taking plants of Malabar (present day Kerala, India) as its principal concern, the project, Sensing and Presencing Rare Plants through Contemporary Drawing Practice (Leverhulme Research Fellowshipm 2017-20) engages with and navigates through three distinct but interconnected historical and contemporary sites of knowledge:

- First, the extraordinary twelve-volume seventeenth century illustrated treatise on the flora of Malabar, Hortus Malabaricus, and its twenty-first century English translation
- Second, historical herbaria in Edinburgh and Oxford housing fragile examples of specimens described in the aforementioned publications, and brought to Britain during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
- Third, remote areas of moist deciduous rainforest of Malabar, the centuries-old protection of which has ensured the survival of some of the rarest plants.

The objectives are:

- Establish an original discourse that aims to bridge debates on contemporary drawing, materiality and the vulnerable nature of plant life;

- Enhance an understanding of the vulnerabilities and resilience of rare plants through research at the interstices of fine art, botany and plant science, museology and cultural geography.

Plants have been a ‘currency’ of empires, their collection and distribution having had huge social, cultural and political implications. Today, thousands of plant species are identified as endangered or possibly extinct, while bans on the transportation of plant specimens guard against bioprospecting and biopiracy. This, together with significant ongoing interest in drawing in the expanded field, and in the sensory and embodied experience of museum objects, opens a clear position for research investigating the relationships between rare plant life, drawing and herbaria.

Historically, drawing has been intrinsically connected to the collection and preservation of plants as a vehicle for scientific description and identification. With sophisticated digital visualisation technologies now occupying this central position, the proposed project asserts that contemporary art practices, especially those concerned with themes of ephemerality, are renewing the inspirational basis of botanical illustrations and specimens.

Building on Bowen’s previous extensive research in drawing and states of flux, this project links the extraordinary ephemerality of the natural world to a broader theoretical concern with, as David Howes has written the ‘multiple ways in which culture mediates sensation’. Hortus Malabaricus is remarkable for its in-depth description of Malabar’s plants provided a unique springboard for this investigation. At Edinburgh and Oxford herbaria, investigation of preserved examples of these species generated drawings reflecting the impact of conservation methods, and systems of storage, classification and labelling. Field visits to plant science research facilities and Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, based in the bio-diverse South Indian rainforest, incrementally expanded an understanding of the ontological status of plant specimens in relation to site, whilst interdisciplinary methods offered new ways to engage with herbaria and navigate through protected areas of remote rainforest. This enabled consideration of how dialogue between science and art might be reflected through the conceptual and material aspects of the resulting art works, and the nature of their reception.

The output, outcomes and dissemination included:

i. An exhibition with gallery talks invited exploration of, and critical reflection on, the research by both specialist and non-specialist audiences, providing opportunities for future research and dialogue. The exhibition was staged at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2020.
ii. A closing conference offered a platform to review and extend the agenda of fine art practice-led research. Speakers included: Professor Andrew Patrizio, Edinburgh College of Art; Dr Ian Patterson, University of Cambridge; Dr Henry Noltie, RBGE; Joel Fisher and Dr Sarah Casey, LICA. It is anticipated that the papers presented will be published as a collection of texts through Northern Print, Newcastle.
iii. Reflective texts and visual documentation of the project and its dissemination through exhibition and conference papers, were published by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and linked to social media platforms. The content of the seminars and wider critical themes were articulated, giving academics, practitioners and publics, nationally and internationally, the opportunity to engage with core ideas and outputs.
iv. Core issues which were discussed by Bowen through a conference paper, web article and video interview (University of Oxford) and journal article (DRTP, Intellect Publications).

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C

Gobbledegook Theatre’s Ear Trumpet is a site-responsive outdoor theatre performance in which a team of “sonic investigators” have discovered pockets of sound, trapped in the Earth beneath our feet. The show allows audiences to listen, using “ear trumpets”, a collection of recycled trumpets, trombones and gramophone horns that have been re-purposed as listening devices. In this paper, Dr Jon Croose describes the aurality of Ear Trumpet through a qualitative, practice-led methodology of first-person performance-as-research, interviews with the artists, and analysis of audience response. The essay considers Augoyard & Torgue’s notion of ‘sharawadji’ in Ear Trumpet in terms of ‘sonic effect’ (2006, xv; 8) arising, the author argues, from its encouragement of ‘the consciousness of early listening,’ (2006, 13) and through a combination of the sonic effects of anamnesis, de-contextualisation, de-localisation, attraction, phototonie and quotation. The paper considers how Ear Trumpet positions the relationship between ‘physical environment, the socio-cultural milieu, and the individual listener’ (2006, xiii) and reveals how participants’ suspension of disbelief in the pseudo-science of ‘sonic geology’ allows them to posit the possibility of multiple ‘historic dimensions of sound’, in a way that reframes their everyday soundscape and ‘magically and suddenly transports [them] elsewhere’ (2006, xv). Finally, it raises questions about the effect of sharawadji in terms of the tension between theatrical illusion, “belief” and critical distance among audiences, and considers a possible politics of aurality in performance contexts.

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This paper reveals how UK street carnival is located within policy discourses that facilitate notions of creative economy, inter-place competition and the representation of institutionally-preferred versions of local, regional and national place-identity. The paper draws on ethnographic research within two community town carnivals and the professional Battle for the Winds carnival performances that launched the 2012 Olympic sailing at Weymouth. It considers the evolution of policy-driven carnival vocabularies that were designed to articulate preferred ‘Jurassic Coast’ and Olympic place identities for the south-west UK during 2012, and their effect on two vernacular, community street carnivals in East Devon and Dorset. The paper exposes the cultural tension between these vernacular events and the ‘official feast’ of Jurassic Coast and Olympic carnival, in terms of their performance of contradictory place-identities and contested notions of artistic community. It describes the popular challenge to aesthetic hegemony that these community carnivals presented during 2012. Finally, the author argues for a reassessment of the artistic value of vernacular carnivals, and affirms their status as a culture of resistance that creates alternative, sometimes inconvenient, symbolic constructions of community and place to those preferred by institutional actors operating within a neo-liberal discourse of inter-place competition.

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D

Investigating the performing body as both a still and moving image In the Gap Between is a live performance work consisting of 5 performers and lasting approximately 15-20 minutes.
Informed by synchronised dance structures such as Corps de Ballet and The Chorus Line; the work utilises key characteristics of these structures (moving in sync, single file arrangement, repetition, pace & pauses) as a means to explore the body as an image. The movement vocabulary for the live work is developed in rehearsals where performers explore every day micro-actions such as shifting weight, turning, stretching & leaning. By slowing movement down, the work invites the performers to fully explore these often-overlooked gestures whilst challenging audience spectatorship.

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This thesis, A Matter of Material: Exploring the Value of the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP), sets out to understand how a museum focusing on a single material family can contribute to the societal and museological comprehension of design in plastics. It looks at how museums communicate a group of materials that audiences believe they know and understand, yet that knowledge and understanding may not be the whole story. It explores why it might seem strange that a museum dedicated to plastics even exists, by looking at what museums are, what they have been traditionally, and what they can become.
The contribution to knowledge that this research demonstrates is in the previously unwritten history and close study of MoDiP which is an, as yet, under researched resource. My role as Curator of MoDiP has provided an empirical knowledge and expertise that grounds this contribution in my professional practice. This has enabled an opening of a knowledge embedded in the role of a museum of a contested and devalued material, illuminating the problem of plastics in museums. The study inserts plastics, and the specific collection of them by MoDiP, into the relational museological theory to discover the value of the museum’s practice where complexity is added to the debate about plastics in the current climate. The particular interest of the triangular relationships between audiences, museums, and plastics is demonstrated using new diagrams, a tradition of museum studies especially used by Susan Pearce. The six original diagrams within the thesis are used to illustrate new ideas and concepts.
This research uses the tools of case study as a methodology to make a close study of the functions and collections of MoDiP, and in contrast the Pinto Collection of wooden objects at Birmingham Museums Trust. These tools include interviewing employees, studying documents, and observing practices, and sit alongside the curatorial practices of collections and object research, audience sampling through surveys and social media, as well as visiting other museums and exhibitions and reflecting on such experiences. By using these methods, this work investigates the material qualities of plastics, alongside other materials, and looks at why the placement of some materials within the museum setting might be difficult to comprehend and how, by being the sole focus of the museum, materials can be more deeply explored.

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E

In 2015 Ellison was invited by fashion brand owner ‘Cherchbi’ Adam Atkinson to publish a book about Herdwick wool a raw material of the rug sacks Cherchbi produced.

The subsequent book, Herdwick Common was published under the brand publishing imprint, as a 98-page photo book with accompanying essay from acclaimed author, James Rebanks,
(The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District). When reading into Herdwick sheep, something I discovered was ‘heft’ - A place where the sheep were rooted to by birth and returned to instinctively. This is something author James Rebanks has written about in his publication ‘A Shepherds Life’ a retelling of life spent as a farmer near Penrith. His book content and title inspired by W.H. Hudson ‘A Shepherds Life’ tells a passionate account of the up and downs of growing up as a farmer.

Research Imperatives

Ellison explores the cultural and symbolic significance of sheep on the region of Cumbria. The oldest reference to sheep kept in the Lake District is in documents dating from the 13th Century when the Cistercian monks of Furness Abbey near Barrow and Fountains Abbey near York farmed large areas. The documents simply make reference to the use of the short, coarse hair of the sheep for their habits. There is no mention of Herdwick although short, coarse hair may be a clue to one of the characteristics of an early hill breed.

Ellison began by researching the name ‘Herdwick', thought to derive from Herdvyck, Norse for ‘sheep pasture’. This has led some to believe that the breed was, maybe, brought into the country in the 8th and 9th centuries by Norse invaders from what are modern Denmark, western Sweden and Norway. More likely though, they were named Herdwick simply because most Lake District farms had land for sheep and were referred to as ‘herdwicks’. So the sheep adopted their name from the farms. The breed seems to have changed somewhat over the past two centuries to what we accept today as the Herdwick. Drawings and prints from the 19th century seem to indicate a taller and less stocky version of what we have in the 21st
century.

The book brings together an essay by James Rebanks, a story told from within alongside of series of photographic portraits that tie together this ancient rural livelihood.

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In 2018 Ellison was invited by curators Lou Stoppard and Adam Murray to exhibit a series of his Cumbrian portraits and landscapes in North: Fashioning Identity at Open Eye, Liverpool, Somerset House, London and Civic Centre, Barnsley. This celebrated exhibition generated worldwide press coverage and formulated new research opportunities into regional identities in Photography and Fashion. Following this celebrated exhibition, Ellison was invited by Centre Centre to publish Tek Hod, Embroidered Wrestlers of the North.

Research Imperatives

Ellison explores the cultural significance of embroidered costumes of regional sport Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. The costume of white cotton vest, velvet underpants and white cotton long john’s features motifs that represent or identify the wrestler. Commonly, embodying the idyllic picturesque image of the English Lake District, this costume represents the celebration of rural life depicted by vernacular embroidered symbols. Usually associated with nature, the costume embroidery is sewn by the family who wrestle, often abbreviating the initials of the wrestler and decorated with flora and fauna featuring the native landscape of Cumbria and much celebrated English Lake District.

Ellison researched critic John Ruskin’s connection to the arts and crafts in the Lake District and how his patronage of craft influenced the style of embroidery seen on wrestling costumes. Ellison’s subsequent documentary photographs (2008-2018) follow the wrestling contests in the landscape and trace the performance of tradition. Furthermore, his cross disciplined analysis of embroidery and photography traces the ‘skilled’ labour of the arts and crafts in the Lake District against the ‘unskilled’ vernacular embroidery seen on wrestling costumes from archival photographs.

The book Tek Hod, Embroidered Wrestlers of the North brings together a documentary photographic practice alongside a rigorous research project that re-frames knowledge of the arts and crafts and the picturesque through archived photographs used to chart the evolution of craft - crediting amateur makers of embroidery.

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G

The commemorative period between 2014 and 2018 was marked globally by numerous exhibitions of original artworks that had been commissioned and created during and immediately after World War 1. Most national and state museums and galleries also curated comprehensive survey shows of original work from the period; some curators took a thematic approach, some designed new permanent exhibits, and a significant number created innovative opportunities for contemporary artists to reflect on the centenary through the creation of bespoke artefacts, installations and exhibitions.

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In 1989, at the age of 22, Paul Lewin left Bristol, where he had studied Fine Art for three years and travelled three hours south to West Penwith in Cornwall. He intended to stay for a few months so that he might rekindle an interest in the Cornish landscape he had first experienced at art school. He never returned north and has been based in the far south-west ever since.

Lewin hailed from Manchester, that vast conurbation and 'ideopolis' in the north-west of England, arguably the country's second city after London. As a young boy of seven or eight, he remembers being taken for a visit to nearby Stockport College of Art by his father, who was then studying textile design and helping to mix the coloured gouache paint for intricate wallpaper and carpet designs. A talented child at secondary school, the young Lewin showed such potential in drawing that he gained a place at the same college, which was then renowned (as it still is) for its attention to the essentials of fine art practice. Lewin prospered under the guidance of such lecturers as Duncan Watnough and Derek Wilkinson who laid taught drawing from rigorous observation and laid down the principles of the craft of painting.

This new book takes the form of a collection of existing paintings, and others created specifically for this publication, each painting marking a walking line west from Newlyn along the headland to Land’s End, then north to Zennor. The images are accompanied by a text written by Paul Gough. contextualising Paul Lewin’s practice in the history of Cornish painting, the tradition of en plein work, but also offers a commentary on the artist’s sojourn across West Penwith. The book also includes an interview between the painter and writer which covers the artist’s approach to painting, his methods, materials and those artists and writers who matter most to him.

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K

This research concluded in an exhibition at Dorset County Museum in 2018. The research explored how scenographic design processes can be used in the creation of visual art, with a purpose of reconceptualizing the complex ideas of deep time and the Anthropocene. Howard (2009) states that ‘Scenographic story telling brings an individual angle to a well-known work so it can be presented to a fresh audience’. I claim that by approaching this art work from a scenographic view point I have developed an exhibition that unpacks the complexity of Earth’s story in a playful and engaging way. Deep time is a notion of geological time determined by the long and dense history of Earth’s development over 4.5 billion years. In this exhibition I used a Longcase Clock, together with other interactive artefacts, to consider emerging theories about time. The Anthropocene is currently an informal term to signify a contemporary time interval in which surface geographical processes are dominated by human activities (Zalasiewicz, Crutzen, Steffen, 2012). By using the construct of the Anthropocene in the artwork I encouraged the audience to think about the world and to be naturally curious about its future. This artwork is the outcome of research which engaged with museum collections, earth scientists and natural forms as well as the development of materials. I collaborated with a theatre director to create dramaturgy in these static artefacts ‘using metaphor[s] to draw [people] into a world plausible for tackling obscure and abstract ideas’ (Braund, 2015).

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R

Within and Between: Women, Bodies, Generations took the form of four sculptural installations staged jointly in 2019 with Janice Howard and Clair Chinnery at Glass Tank Gallery, Oxford Brookes University, UK.

The work drew on auto-ethnographic research which aimed to interrogate and reframe female bodily ageing. Each of the four large-scale works explored different stages of the artist’s life initiated by an active and embodied reworking of feminist paradigms and informed by thematic methodologies of practice-based and theoretical enquiries of women artists who have also addressed rites of passage, puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and representation (Kiki Smith, Womanhouse, Judy Chicago, Louise Bourgeois, Carolee Schneemann, Julia Kristeva, Lucy Lippard, Luce Irigaray).

Representations of women’s bodily function have historically constructed women as subjugated by their embodiment, so incapable of rational thought. This has resulted in negative associations of menopause as problematic, barren, dried-up, unproductive and issueless. Through her work, Richardson raises questions about what remains unresolved and hidden as science, legislation and culture fall short of fully understanding and articulating ‘the change’.

Through her chosen methodology, Richardson responds to the urgent need for a fuller articulation by addressing and redefining the intergenerational space of maturing children and diminishing parents.
By generating positive connectivities, relations and exemplars, the research project offered a more dynamic perspective and associative visual language. Proposing the menopause to be a potentially rich and liberating developmental phase of life, the outcomes contribute fresh understanding that can be usefully acted upon through future cross-disciplinary collaboration and enquiry.

The exhibition was funded by Oxford Brookes University, and accompanied by a series of talks, gallery events and a bespoke website: lisarichardson.me

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S

Bare Foot Prophet was a programme of practice-led research instigated by a critique of ‘Artists as Prophet: a secret history of modern art 1872-1972’, staged at the Shirn Kunstalle Frankfurt, Germany, which explored the artist prophets of modernising Germany and their envisioning of the political turmoil of their time.
Shepherd’s exhibition in London (May-June 2015) of nine paintings was informed by the German period of modernisation, as well as contemporary crises of environmental regeneration, and a desire that contemporary painting might act as oracle. Consistent with Shepherd’s habitual methodologies, surreal and magical techniques were used to generate imagery, the act of painting was intuitive, motivated at times by a sense of derangement, with a desire that the outcomes might act as clairvoyance, that the future could be seen.
The imagery generated presaged the political and social turmoil that the United Kingdom was to find itself in with the EU referendum called in autumn 2015. The ongoing insights generated from this work ask questions concerning creative foresight, coincidence and intuitive making.
The enquiry was augmented by public gallery discussions between the artist, Dr Gavin Parkinson and gallery director Zavier Ellis, and subsequently by conference presentations and seminars.

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Downstream was a solo exhibition held in London during September-October 2019. The research question explored the divinatory powers of water through the process of painting as actual, metaphorical, symbolic and magical source. Utilising his immediate locality and family as visual material, Shepherd uses methodologies of ritual, trance, enactment and prediction as means of visualisation; the intuitive and unknowing are decision-making tools. The act of painting and the painted are where the intuitive is constructed into the concrete, a process of revelation through the act of making. Although seemingly of a very personal nature the finished outcomes are made as universal cyphers that act upon the audience; wider social; historical; cultural; political readings float to the surface. Through his lines of enquiry, painting becomes a scrying tool akin to water, reflection, surface and depth are synthesised through the mediating act of painting.

The exhibition was accompanied by a publication with written contributions by Professor Gavin Parkinson, Tim Russell and a commissioned poem by Miranda Peake. A public discussion between Parkinson and Shepherd on insights garnered in the creation of Downstream took place at the gallery during Frieze week London, drawing an international audience. Ongoing insights into the methodologies and context of the research were questioned through meetings and discussion with publication contributors, resulting in a joint conference paper at Painting Now at the Royal Academy, London (June 2018) and book chapter Dominic Shepherd and Richard Waring, ‘Head, Heart, Hand: Painting in a Post-Digital World’. Painting Now’, which was linked to the Black Mirror Research Network, of which Shepherd is a founding member.

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Old England was a two-part exhibition of 19 pieces with differing works created by Shepherd for Charlie Smith London at NY Volta, a major international art fair specialising in solo projects and Charlie Smith London, a gallery with international reach.

As part of an extensive programme of research Shepherd has conducted systematic explorations of the nature of English identity, using mythological resonances, magical / surrealist methodologies and intuitive readings. At the heart of the questions being explored are the artist’s personal dichotomy between his own progressive social stance and romantic yearnings, which reflect a nation in a period of internal political strife and uncertainty. The making of these paintings was an act of negative capability, the defined zone of the artist’s habitat and environs becoming a receiver for poetic readings of wider cultural implications

Critical public debate is core to Shepherd’s research. The exhibition in NY Volta was supported by a public discussion between Shepherd and Jesse Brandsford (NYU Steinhardt) titled ‘Alternative Myths’, its subject: Fascism relies on myth, a form of ideological narcissism that twists reality and forces its own authoritarian will; examines how the mythic and magical is also used as a form of resistance, an alternative, to that authoritarianism.

The portfolio identifies adjacent research projects that informed Shepherd’s research into Englishness and contemporary crises of identity: Observatory residence and exhibition at ArtsWay, New Forest featuring research into Portland, an island off an island (July 2017); public discussion on the painted landscape at Sluice Festival, London (September-October 2017); Exhibition featuring Shepherd’s work ‘The Beast’ at ‘Width of a Circle’, Titan Warehouse, Stourbridge (March-April 2018) with published interview, ‘Burning Beyond the Logical Lake’, with Tom Hicks; presentation of ‘The Haunted Isle: Conjuring England’s Subconscious Landscape’ at International Society for the Study of Surrealism Conference, Bucknell University, USA (November 2018).

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T

V

The Contact Festival included the work of over 70 artists and filmmakers, featuring single-screen films, multi-screen/performance-related works and site-specific installations. Accompanied by a publication including discussion pieces by Luke Aspell and collective-iz (on collective practices), Sally Golding, James Holcombe and Cathy Rogers (on different manifestations of contemporary expanded cinema), and short essays by Maria Palacios Cruz (LUX, Deputy Director), William Fowler (BFI, curator of artists' moving image) and Nicky Hamlyn (filmmaker and writer), plus complete listings.

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Pairs: - / -, The Depot, London, 19, 27 June & 3, 10 July 2017. Curator.

Featuring: Jennifer Nightingale/Simon Payne, Nick Collins/Cathy Rodgers, Nicky Hamlyn/Neil Henderson, Amy Dickson/Jamie Jenkinson

Pairs: - / -, was a curated series of four events, each of which featured two artist-filmmakers, who presented new work, alongside a work that inspired them, and was introduced by a printed version of a conversation between the featured pair. Its combination of works and words, and consideration of site, facilitated research into creative, critical and curatorial practice and its public manifestation.

My curatorial practice examines film and video exhibition configuration, the resulting spectatorship and addresses the need to develop more accessible knowledge exchange, through challenging the passivity of most film presentations. Pairs’ furthered my investigation into the importance of discursive programming, how through this developmental methodology artists and audiences can experience a more rewarding encounter.

The series presented diverse experimental film and video practices through peer-to-peer and artist-to-audience dialogues. The pairs had shared and/or contrasting areas of interest, and their transcribed conversations, which is a neglected area of research, reflected on their own and one another’s practices and informed the series. Further to this, the artists’ inspirational film choices provided tracible linkages. The works were presented in their original formats – film and digital projections (single and double screen) and multi-media performance – reinforcing the importance of medium specificity within this field. Some of the artists are key figures in the history of experimental film and in combining their work with that of younger artists, the ‘pairings’ built on the field’s legacy and dissemination.

This configuration allowed related debates - contextual histories, thematic focus, exhibition strategies - to occur in an insightful and relatable manner. It reflected the featured works’ experimental intent, a questioning of form and content, created an active encounter between the works and their reception, always an experimental aspiration, and offered a more interactive experience through its discursive assemblage.

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W

‘The Rock: Above & Below’ is an extended photographic research project exploring the fractured relationship between the community of The Isle of Portland (Dorset) and the quarrying of Portland Stone, once so intrinsically linked, physically and culturally to the island.

Quarrying played a huge part in the island’s history, employing hundreds of workers and shaping the community’s identity. First used by the Romans, Portland Stone has been used to build iconic structures such as The Palace of Westminster, the City of London, and the United Nations Building in New York.

Taking an auto-ethnographic approach to the project, Wenham-Clarke connected with key figures who have lived on the island for generations, including the heads of the mining operations, a lighthouse owner, tug boat captain, funeral director, prison nurse and Portlanders to explore the modern-day link between community and stone. Through photographic portraits and audio interviews the work draws on narrative history, oral history and qualitative research methodologies.

Research outcomes provided a powerful insight into the consequences of industrialisation which has destroyed generational and cultural links and forced the industry to automate and excavate huge tunnels into the island beneath the local community. Wenham-Clarke’s images record these subterranean cathedral-like spaces mined by robotic equipment, controlled by a handful of highly skilled operators from outside the community. The resulting suite of images juxtapose the robotic machinery below and the local community above, set in the context of Portland’s high levels of unemployment and social issues.

In addition to numerous publications, photo essays and group exhibitions, a final selection of 25 photographs and audio tracks were exhibited as part of the B-Side Arts Festival and a selection were shown across Dorset on bus shelter posters and bill boards as part of an extensive public engagement strategy funded by regional arts boards and local enterprise.

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