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Dave Ma

Blessing Force

This weekend, Oxford will host a unique warehouse party with bands, artists and creatives transforming the space with performances and installations

Oxford will become an artistic hub on the weekend of the 12-13 February thanks to the Blessing Force warehouse party at the Old Bookbinders. The warehouse will be transformed by light, sound and 3D installations. With more than ten bands performing, the space and stage will turn into a giant set housing the audience, the bands and the artists. We talk to band Pet Moon (aka Andrew Mears, also organizer), sculptor Seb Thomas and videographer/photographer Dave Ma.

Dazed Digital: How did the idea of the warehouse party/installation event come about?
Pet Moon: Well, Truck approached us to put something on. They are facilitating the space but as soon as I got the sniff that it could be done for longer than one day, I kind of forced the weekend option in. There are a lot of people involved in this so it makes sense to do it over two days. There is no specific concept at all. Everyone’s got a blank canvas to work on, so to speak. All artists are creating new work and pieces for it. It is a one floor, single aspect, warehouse with high ceilings with a capacity for 250. There’s some wacky talk of ox hearts and clouds of dust and things. (laughs).

Seb Thomas: My work is essentially one very large environment, elements of which I have constructed myself combined with other that already exist. The constructed elements will take the shape of a large wooden structure based on the shape of a icosahedron, several twelve sided wooden pyramids along with a forest of dead birch trees. There are lighting rigs built into the structures that will illuminate them from the inside while, through slightly open panels in the shapes, will hopefully cause multicoloured light patterns and shadows on the walls.

Dave Ma: I'm doing a series of portraits. But rather than produce these before the event and then exhibit them, I decided to set myself the goal of producing 100 portraits on film across the weekend of the people involved in and attending the Blessing Force event. Then these images will be projected on the walls of the space alongside 16 mm images and confessions of hopes and fears that each subject will write down before I take their photograph.

DD: Define your music in an artistic way. What do you see, Pet Moon?
Pet Moon: (Laughs) I look at music in a different way. I do not set out with a specific goal at all. So anything that does come out is the result of the doing rather than any sort of considerations. I guess it is action painting! (laughs).

DD: What other art forms are you keen on and who do you look up to when it
comes to art?
Seb Thomas: Although my work nearly always takes a 3D form, I’m very interested by painting and drawing, people like Neo Rauch, Dexter Dalwood and Peter Doig are really such incredible artists.
Dave Ma: Australian painter Brett Whitely. Also, Chicago screen print artist Jay Ryan. I'm also a massive fan of Bill Viola. Taxidermy, science and increasingly anthropology inspire me a lot.

DD: Any album in sight in the near future for Pet Moon?
Pet Moon: I’m recording at the moment. It is mostly self-produced. Then I’ll be going to the studio in February to finish up… hopefully. And then who knows! I mean the way the records work it may not be out until October. Throwing the music into the industry makes everything grind into a halt and then there’s the tour and the people working on tricks and a good lie to make people want to buy it (laughs).

DD: Do you see art nowadays as short-term/disposable or as indefinite in essence?
Dave Ma: I think that depends on the art form and can vary from one artist to another and one artwork to another. I definitely don't think art is disposable - if, by that, you mean irrelevant and fleeting. For most things there will always be an audience. In some ways it's comparable to how importantly you view your own existence. It would be easy to disregard the importance of any individual's life if you considered how tiny we really are compared to the universe. But just because we may be somewhat physically insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I don't think that overshadows how real and important every personal struggle in life is...