As I understand it, agonism uses different viewpoints for positive change. So having a panel of ‘experts’ and passive audience might not be the best way to conduct a conversation. Without ‘experts’, we all have the opportunity to have that conversation and to think again about our long held ideas. It offers the flexibility for more dynamic layers and structures in temporary spaces/times.
I'm planning to be on the move again. It takes some planning to be in the right place at the right time. Is that even possible? How about being able to just go with the flow? Can we make our moments of time more meaningful by establishing the logistics of getting from A to B?
But I heard that aligning to the sun instead of time is beneficial: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/11/watching-the-sun-not-the-clock-sleep-body-clocks-daylight-saving-time
And I listened to Black Quantum Futurism talk about manipulating and collapsing space/time for different futures, at the Social Art Summit in Sheffield last November: https://www.blackquantumfuturism.com/about
Well, I will have miles and miles of travelling to mull over all this and I still need to build in spaces/times for the unexpected – that's where the exciting stuff happens.
Whatever I do, it has consequences and unexpected outcomes. I encouraged 22 people to Get-Together at SEA FAIR (a socially engaged art fair), 18 more to be interested and 4 of us to embark on an Away Day.
I saw Plymouth Docks instead of mediated landscapes, immersed myself in cafe participation and landed at Exeter to see Tania Kovats troubled waters. Now I want to know more about reef restoration:
' Making reef restoration faster and more efficient will require creative approaches.' (http://theconversation.com/coral-reefs-are-in-crisis-but-scientists-are-finding-effective-ways-to-restore-them-92506)
And I want to know more about creative approaches for a whole range of stuff.
The dialogue that happened unprompted on the journey and mapped at Lyme, is a start. Our Conference on the Move was a sort of unexpected outcome with undoubted consequences.
Being new to this place, I'm dipping my toe. I don't want to step on others' toes; more to get in step, make connections, walk alongside for a while. I'm gradually encountering existing structures, finding my people, seeing where I can contribute. Will you walk with me awhile?
The snippet I took home recently from a rebellious writing workshop was the concept of compiling a 'loaded word dictionary'. While I'm still mulling on the enormous possibilities for that, my immediate focus is on collecting one object from each local charity shop to tell the story of my new location, and its behaviour. So I have put in the bag the concept of not wasting valuable display space on something less than 50p worth, as well as the smiles when I explained my rules of engagement.
It's been nearly a year since I wrote here. Many temporary days in different places, unable to gather my thoughts into any meaningful sense. My focus was on staying in a box, albeit an ok box but it moved several times, expanding and contracting as studio spaces changed, changing colour as living spaces altered.
Now I am in a different temporary space where walls are being knocked down, pipes and wires are being installed and connected. Now I am able to focus on something outside my immediateness. It could have been an inspiration, but it wasn't. It was a hard transition. I read that in prison, an important rule for survival is having a cleaning routine to keep a sense of self. Mine was a self imposed incarceration but I understand that. Little rituals assume enormous importances.
At last I am beginning to engage with the adventure this is meant to be. I am contemplating what it is that motivates people to embark, to engage, to connect. It has been suggested that in socially engaged practice it is the excitement and energy rather than the quality of an object that needs to be judged. That said, why do people participate? curiosity? intrigue? prizes? fun? Maybe a Magical Mystery Tour.
Working simultaneously in different temporary spaces, it is easier to achieve synchronicity and diversity at the same time; Schrodinger's paradox. Then there is the matter of entanglement too.
photo by Sally Lemsford; artwork by Tony Fisher
A temporary show of photographs of temporary spaces
and temporary art in temporary spaces.
Believe me, there are images looking out.
You can come to view if you are quick; they may not be there for long.
image using photos by Sally Lemsford & Chris A. Wright
Non-space till populated by things, people
stretched time, unlimited till limited
running their course.
Moments in time
to be here but not here.
Long enough to leave clues to the
practised activity, embedded hierarchies.
Walked routes, privacies put in place
Equipment imported and connected to
underpin the protocols.
There may be little space/time
When 28 days is up, it's all done.
Who was here before us? What can we guess from discarded bits and bobs, stains, stickies and no longer relevant labels? Were they intentional droppings?
There are no voices to populate the objects, no overheard conversations. We are left to decode however we fancy.
When we go, others will do the same of us. We will be foregone too.
Having spent the last 6 months dismantling my house contents in order to be light enough to move, cutting through the layers at Sudborough Green Lodge to make a fire pit was particularly pertinent.
Seeing the connection between what exists below our feet and what we construct around us was inspiring. It got me thinking about where the rural and urban co-exist, where urban culture and rural landscapes fuse. Although we have marked 80% of the earth's surface, the layers underneath support all those interventions whether rural or urban.
Maybe those layers could be made into structures with social and political lives. Maybe they could tell a story, make a statement, cut to the chase with a strength underpinned by the nature of their embedded materiality. Depends on which platform these structures are put...
Ofton Festival: I was talking to young children, 5-7 year olds. They were thinking critically about ingredients for art. 2D? material? moving? people? And then they could see the drift of the conversation. Yes! This participation is ART...
3 days in Berwick-upon-Tweed for an a-n writing bursary, what a gift. Away from home offers a different perspective on everything – a critical adventure free from everyday responsibilities. Pushed into survival mode living out of the back of a car and sleeping in a hostel bed (ensuite bathroom though), everything becomes significant. How much do we see and how much does the brain fill in?
Dr Lars Muckli from Glasgow University Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology says, “The brain’s main function is to minimise surprise – that is what it has evolved to do... Memory and the predictive power of the brain combine in a very powerful way to allow us to anticipate our surroundings." http://phys.org/news/2011-04-eyes-brain.html
Back home, too much of unwelcome significance is crowding in. An appraisal of my filtering system is obviously needed. Going away and coming back has much to recommend it.
Artist on the move
picking up my case and running with it... looking for new adventures, new opportunities.
15 years ago I started a journey that has visited many places. I’m on the move again, reinvigorated by a particularly brilliant encounter yesterday with DODGE the SHREDDER in Spalding. My case contains new language, new perspectives and new practicalities. I’m not entirely sure yet of these new significances, just that they are that. Sometimes it’s good to get that push out of one reality into another. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know how. I’m just in the when at the moment.
Temporary has always been at the core of my practice. I was intrigued to hear Sophie Kromholtz talking about Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder – Experiencing the temporary artwork without the physical work at the symposium The Alternative Document in Lincoln recently,(http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/cca/postgraduateresearchstudents/sophiekromholz/). I’ve been experimenting with different documentary forms that together add up to a more complete entity. And the symposium has added to my repertoire.
At last... the Flaming Skirt Festival book has gone to print. After several proofs and edits, it's finally there. And now we are thinking how to deliver to the crowdfunders, launch and distribute more widely. We have some cunning plans already.
Just arriving at this new place. I am travelling sideways from 45poundsplus.co.uk to this new space. In doing so, I hope to clarify my activity as an artist and collaborator.