Cheapside Show is a multi-disciplinary event from artist group Strange Ways, taking place at The Edge, Birmingham, 30/06/08 to 12/07/08. The site-specific and site-responsive arts project, will investigate one of the last remaining industrial locations in operation in central Birmingham today – Cheapside in Digbeth. The event will explore aspects of Cheapside such as it's industrial legacy/current global trade, and its residents: both animal and human.
With less than two weeks to go before we launch our show, it has been a hectic time of making work and making decisions about the look, publicity and logistics of the event.
We met with our technician a few days ago, and for the first time we all got to see the venue together. It was only at this point, that we had the first oppurtunity to look at the space collectivly and visualise where all of the work would be placed. The event has three installations and this in itself is challenging for the curation of the show, as it is important that we get the flow of the work right and the audience experience as they walk around the show, is as we would like it to be. Until work starts on building the installations, we have only an idea of what the layout will turn out like.
Well things are taking up pace now. We have all met several times in the past week to discuss/plan for the event which takes place in 4 weeks time. Our website was launched this weekend and can be fouind at www.strange-ways.org
Curation and the look of the show is really important to us as we want to use a Victorian fairground theme throughtout to unify the diversity of work. We want the show to look playful, be thought provoking, memorable and to a certain extent, indulgent.
Two of us have talked about having a tea party on the first Saturday of the show, as an informal way of bringing in audiences and welcoming discussion of the event.
Met up with the group last night and we talked about timelining of the event. There is so much to do in so little time! What was exciting was talking about the curation of the show and how we present ourselves to the public. We are, after all, calling it a Cheapside Show, so there is an element of the theatrical about it.
After the meeting we all went over to The Edge on Cheapside and had a first critical look at the space we are going to use. This was a daunting moment as the realisation of the work to be done, came to us all.
The Edge has some wonderful props and fittings that will ideally suit our event and Fudge and I made a bid for a great old style shop counter to use in our installations.
I have mentioned Fudge, so now would be a good time to introduce the members of Strange Ways.
Fung Ye Tsang (Fudge) is a multi -disclipinary artist based in Birmingham.
Helen Grundy, also multi – disclipinary artist and Birmingham based.
Angel Stripe is a video artist from Leamington.
Sharon Walford is a visual artist from Telford.
Avril Elward is a installation artist living in Coleshill, Worcestershire.
Annette Bowery is an animater based in Birmingham but currently working in Manchester.
Harmeet Chagger-Khan is a multi-dislipinary artist based in Birmingham but currently 'going roung the world as slowley as possible'.
Then there is me, and I would describe myself as a multi-disclipinary artist and I live in Wolverhampton.
Had a good meeting last week with the group to discuss marketing the event and finalise roles and responsibilities for all of us to share. The most important thing we decided to do was timeline the entire project, so that we could see at a glance, what needs to be done and when.
The problem here is that the logistics of putting on a fairly large event such as this can sometimes overshadow the necessisty to focus on the work itself. The work is by far the most important aspect in all of this – (we need time to experiement with the work, make it and then curate it) so timelining for the group also becomes timelining for the self, in order to give the work as much space as is needed, without compromising on it's quality.
It's 3.25am and I have decided after not being able to sleep, that now would be the best time to start this blog.
We (Strange Ways) had a meeting yesterday evening to discuss the progress of the Cheapside event and bring everyone up to speed on activities and roles/responsibilities. The sharing of information can often be problamatic when working with a group of artists as geographically diverse as ours. We are based all over the West Midlands and although we can use e-mail to convey information, this does not always turn out to be the most effective method of talking, especially when there are decisions to be made. So when we do meet up (and we are aiming for once a week at the moment), we use the time as best as we can to get as much covered and give everyone the chance to 'have their say'.