Anna, Emily, Johnny & Susan, Wakefield, 13 June 2012

Sunday, 1 July 2012

1:1000 or 1000:1

Really enjoying learning more about everyone's projects: Thanks Susan for the publication, and I think it is worth exploring the idea of participants reviewing/evaluating the experience for themselves, to make it authentic. Emily: I really enjoyed the Peckham Space documents that you sent through. I couldn't help laying them out on the floor to look at them all together.
In terms of what I would like to see from representation (the question about organisation's voice) I would like to hear the participant's voice, but also the artist's - what value does the commissioned artist really get? Obviously money, but what else? What is learned, and how can that be shared with other artists/practitioners? There can be a conflict of interests for the organisation - if they are truly reflective and set out what didn't work, as well as what did, how will that go down with the funders?
Johnny: Thanks for the presentation and the different approaches. I love the scale of the work - and the finished drawing made with the kids. Also enjoyed the exploration of sites for creativity, and that often mediated sites are anything but creative spaces. This also links with some of the things that make me tick as a practitioner: not forcing something into existence like a sort of demi-god, but recognising what is there already, or what is happening and going with it. This reminds me of urban planners, trying to force people to walk a particular way, but Lazy Lines disrupt the order of this: the good planner recognises how humans want to walk/interact with a space and design from there. Jan Gehl's 'Making Cities For People' works this way.

Around permissions: a bit off topic but we have David Horvitz's piece "Without Permission" In The Window at AirSpace this week. We have displayed his work without asking for his permission.

One of the things I have really been thinking about since our meeting was Johnny talking about the value of participation: and measuring that. Thanks for giving more detail here: I was thinking about that model you presented Johnny, could be also exploring quality vs quantity.
Is it better to work with one person for 1000 minutes or 1000 people for one minute? 1:1000 vs 1000:1
I quite like the idea of a project which really tests this idea. How do you measure the value?

And then the other thing I meant to tell you about was the project I did recently in Harlech. Full details on my blog. This involved 3 different versions of 'How To Explore' a place. The first was a 'How To Explore' Kit for artists - the aim was to create a kit which can be used to explore a place in a different way than we might usually as a tourist. So this piece was an exploration of place from an artist's point of view. A lot of what I have done over the past few years has been around creating opportunities for artists and also sharing practice methods - through making kits and manuals for other artists to use. The Interrogation Manual is one of those: it is documentation of a project, but it also aims to be a handbook to be used by others - so for me documentation of participation can become a case book or toolkit. The How To Explore Kit then may be used by unknown artists, but is also a work in itself.
The second piece was a collaboration with another artist: Bethan Lloyd Worthington. I collaborated with Bethan last November on a project for the British Ceramics Biennial, details here. It turned out while I was in Harlech, looking for people to collaborate with (I am interested in how local people are experts on the places they live) that Bethan is from Harlech, and so a new (remote) collaboration took place, with Bethan leading me on a tour around her home town. This piece then saw an exploration of place from the point of view of personal, family ties to a place.
Then the final exploration piece was a collaboration with the Landlady of the local pub. The first night in Harlech I was told that though there is an enormous stand containing information and travel brochures for activities, companies and places around North Wales, there was no brochure for Harlech, something that the people there were quite concerned about - feeling that they had been left off the map. This initial conversation lead to myself and Rhian, the landlady - working on a brochure together. Rhian set out what must be seen in the area, and we designed a layout to document the sites she suggested (which I went and visited). This piece then was an exploration of place from the point of view of a business person, concerned with tourism in the area. Front of brochure:
And Back:
I think these three different approaches encapsulate some of the things I am interested in: and in particular the work with Rhian chime with ideas of small change - where we feel something is needed, or there is a gap, or a resource not being tapped, it encourages people to just get on and do something (however small) about it. 
So: to round up: where am I heading in thinking about a project which we might do together? From what has been said:
Could we set up a project (I know there may be a bit of resistance to this due to workloads) and then aim to document and represent the project from the point of view of 1/the organisation 2/the artist(s) 3/the participants and anyone else that might be relevant - and explore how these different viewpoints end up providing a 360 representation?
The topic of the project I am unsure about at this stage: but I am still thinking a lot about Johnny's 1:1000 and 1000:1.

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