Out of rejection came an opportunity; an opportunity to play with space. Out of a feeling of ho-hummness about making endless applications came a chance to think on my feet and be suspended in the moment of making.
Working site specifically is exciting thrilling and testing and space interrupted is a chance to respond to an old Baptist church in centre of Brighton as part of Fabrica’s Making Space programme.
reflection 6: some time later ….. this week provided an opportunity to review the steps made at Fabrica and a chance to play around with multiple projections in the studio.
There is always a gap between the making of bits of video/film on a laptop and then projecting them …a kind of Eureka moment can occur… I had two projectors to play with and tried overlapping and combining the screens in different ways with the Fabrica material – no Eureka moment but possibilities emerge
These experiements threw up a couple of things – different projectors have different coloured light and they don’t line up very nicely ! however it was interesting to try playing them vertically and across each other and 3 or 5 projectors would be even better!
Just realising the enormity of having to move out of current studio – it’s dingy darkness has been so useful for these experiments as well as for putting on exhibtions and projects. But having to move on always brings new things to think about and new challenges … moving from not having much time/nice space to having more time/less money/no space might throw up some interesting developments/diversions !
reflection 5: post-project blues !
Once the much-looked-forward-to opportunity is over there is a bit of a hole and that hole can be filled with the making on mental lists that go along the lines of …I should have…I wish I had… this is not necessarily a negative thing but a kind of wake up call to pay attention to how you practice your practice !
Ten days after finishing Space Interrupted I talked to curator Claire Sheppeard about the project at Fabrica. Her main response was that it was a really good thing to have done. The aim of Making Space is to give artists the chance to try something new, make experiments, test out ideas so it was good to reflect on the open endedness of the aims and focus on my luck in being able to take part.
Yet I tend to be over ambitous and, like many artists, never quite happy with what has achieved. There is a tendency to focus on what didn’t come off, what wasn’t achieved so it was useful to talk it over with Claire and be reminded that a week is a very short time to get anything off the ground and that the empahisis was on being outside the zone of comfort and familiarity to see what happens, so that the unresolved, unfinished nature of what I did do could be considered as a series of tentative excursions into new territory…. a much more helpful perspective !
reflection 4: Getting connected ?
Thinking about art, thinking about making art, making art, making applications and proposals can be a solitary task and it easy to feel that all this activity has a very tiny audience.
Taking part in Making Space could have been as quiet and private as I wanted but I chose to make a couple of things happen in order to generate some energy from outside. I developed this blog as a way of slowing down and giving myself time to reflect on what I was doing and as a way of sharing the experinece.
I also arranged for a couple of quick converstations with various people at Fabrica to help open up the project.
Laurence Hill, Fabrica’s Head of Communications made some useful comments about developing a hive mentality by using Twitter – so creating a connection and information flow between people/groups who are interested in the same things you are.
He also taked about using social media effectively – so you don’t go and shout your latest news at someone at a party …you build up a relationship and conversation and then you might drop your news into the conversation – a neat analogy!
So I have spent more time on Twitter, got a few more followers and shared my news more broadly and picked up some unexpected connections en route. I also used Facebook as it is an effective way of sharing news with my existing connections and gave me a chance to promote various apects of the project. Sharing the blog on Twitter also seems a good way to increase awareness of the project and increasing that tiny audience a bit !
reflection 3: How did I get here ?
The process of achieving new opportunities is a Sisyphian task, researaching the right kind of opportunities, planning, exploring, writing proposals, re-sizing jpegs, testing out ideas, trying to not get too excited by the possibilities … and the success rate can be dispiriting… last year’s success rate was 7/17 proposals ! success being for small local-ish projects; institution/gallery based opportunites with/without pay being much more difficult to break into.
I talked to Judith Alder, a mid career artist with similar ambitions, about wanting to make new work, being ambitous, looking for opportunities that test and move one’s practice forward – it seems that I am not alone in swinging between being optimisitic, ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ and go-getty to feeling that being an artists is like having an unwieldy and expensive obsession. There is so much competition and relatively few opportunites that offer space/time to develop new work and maybe even get paid for doing so.
Making Space has been a great opportunity to intensively test my practice, try new approaches and examine my shortcomings, and as one of the 7 succesful proposals it was completely exhilarating. It has also been a great way to be associated with an established and well respected art venue. But there is a residual feeling of wanting to do much much more so that the only way forward is to keep on applying and, like many other artists, create my own opportunites.
reflection2: I made something happen, but what was it ?
The most difficult thing was to be decisive – it’s a big space, people walking in and out, builders were working on the windows making it a bit noisy – so keeping focused and feeling unselfconscious was tricky.
Initially I tried make some kind of physical intervention, which in the daylight seemed an obvious way of breaking up the space. This took the form of a large canvas sheet hung from across the nave, which made a statement, but it was far too loaded and floppy and obvious.
As the day darkened the use of projections became much more interesting and to some extent knocked back the strength of the pillars, aisle spaces and chancel area.
I projected video clips that were inspired by the plain windows, and played them back in a kind of bar-code fashion moving up and down the walls. The bubbly texture of the glass lending the walls a kind of moon surface glow and texture. The projections interrupted the space more subtley than the canvas and were more intriguing.