I’m Jean McEwan, said an elderly Bradfordian lady. Me too I said. We laughed. She had seen my name outside the temporary exhibition space in the market and wanted to come in and see what what was happening. My daughter won’t believe this, she said.
I don’t even know what half these words mean, said a man pointing at the printed explanatory text for my installation on the outside of the space. He seemed annoyed. I invited him to come in for a look. What’s all this then. He looked at the blown up posters of family photographs on the wall and told me about his parents and his childhood. It was sad. He lost the only photo he had of his mum who has long since passed. He came out every day for a walk round because he knew it wasn’t good for him to be sat at home all day on his own. Being lonely – often times he’s liked being on his own but more lately he could feel it being bad for him so he makes himself get out. I showed him all the bits and pieces, the photos in the boxes, mini sets, collages. I showed him the magic with the mini light and the photograph cards on acetate – how they make a moving image on the back of the card. We messed around a bit with putting actetates and objects on the overhead projector. You’re one of these that can’t sit down aren’t you. Yes, I said. He laughed. That moment was good, for me. It seemed like, there was a recognition, a spark of something in common. Or was that just me? See you later love. He left just as abruptly as he came.
My day in Oastler Market in Bradford last week as part of Dark Matter Institute arts programme for Art in Unusual Spaces (http://www.yvonnecarmichael.com/tlmc/index.php?/dm…) for Threadfest (http://bradfordthreadfest.com/) was such a great experience. I loved being in the market. The energy, the people, the smells, the noise. I knew after just a couple of hours there I wanted to return and have more of these kinds of interactions. The space the temporary exhibition took place in is programmed by Bradford Council in partnership with Bradford Markets – so I’ve been able to book it through the Arts Engagement Officer at the council this week and I have two weeks there in July. I’m very excited about the possibilities, though I need to take some time out though to think things through. Where is the project (WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN: http://jeanmcewan.com/we-are-alive-again/) going now?
What do I want to do with it? Who with? How? Why?
I’ve been doing a lot of different things lately. It’s variously been overwhelming/exhilirating/exhausting/joyous. I did some live overhead projector visuals for a friend’s experimental music set at Fuse Art Space (http://wearefuse.co/) the other week – I was nervous as I hadn’t practiced, but it was a riot. I’ve been collaborating on a film poem commission for the first Laugharne Poetry and Film Festival (http://laugharnepoetryfilm.com/) with my brother Brian – the first video work I’ve done for a while. The deadline was short but a synergy happened (as always when we work together) and we have a film we love.
This week I’m going to interview Bradford Metropolitan Foodbank (http://bradfordfoodbank.com/) this week for Wurblog (http://wurblog.wordpress.com/). Since I got back from America last month, I’ve been feeling that I need to push my practice outwards – to develop conversations with a wider range of people from different backgrounds/disciplines/experiences beyond the artworld. The nagging feeling that I’ve been staying too comfortable – that if my art is really a social practice and social change is part of that then that ‘social’ needs to continue expanding. Doing the interview (and hopefully others to come) is a part of this.
Some good reading lately:
‘Colouring In Culture:a blog about participation in the arts‘ by Stephen Pritchard (whom I found on twitter @etiennelefleur) http://colouringinculture.wordpress.com/
Also the website for ‘Open Engagement‘, a recent conference in NY on art and social practice, especially the daily blogs (100 posts over a hundred days in response to a different question each day) which have been excellent http://openengagement.info/home/archives/category/…