Rural Art Space

April 23, 2007

CLARE CUMBERLIDGE FROM GENERAL PUBLIC AGENCY

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruralartspace @ 3:59 pm

Clare Cumberlidge is a Curator and Director of General Public Agency.

Thurrock: A Visionary Brief for the Thames Gateway
A study of failure

I will be presenting what seems like quite an old programme of General Public Agency now Thurrock: A Visionary Brief for the Thames Gateway, a project that we completed in 2004.
It is a model of a different form of culturally-led generation and within the programme there are a lot of different ways in which artists were engaged within a regeneration programme. In fact in some ways I see it as a case study of failure. I will talk about that after I have shown you the process.

About General Public Agency
General Public Agency launched in Mayday 2003. We are a creative consultancy and we work broadly within cultural regeneration. We do spatial, social, and cultural planning, landscape and urban design and organise and produce cultural programmes. An illustration of the kind of projects we do: we were public role coordinators for Argent, who are the developers of Kings Cross Central in London, which is the major development scheme in central London. We have produced a design and a heritage strategy for Dorset County Council, we recently worked for the Tate Gallery for Karsten Höller, doing a feasibility study for the use of slides within the public realm as a mean of public transportation. We work for both private and public sector clients. All our work is informed by our international research base, and we extend that research base partly through research and publications but also through running workshops nationally and internationally, and organising seminars and conferences.
We have a particular methodology. A key part of our approach is about identity and celebrating the particularity and the distinctiveness of place, and we set this within a context of international best practice. A lot of work within planning and regeneration is not informed by an understanding of the international best practice, particularly within the UK. So we have a particular methodology, which starts with research and mapping, followed by a process of exchange which leads then to actual plans and strategic visions. I will demonstrate this methodology in the Thurrock project. General Public Agency is also informed by a particular curatorial methodology. We position ourselves to clients as an interdisciplinary consultancy. We have architects, artists, curators and urban designers within our team. We never mention the word ‘curating’ to private commercial corporate clients, nor do we talk about artists. We are a team, and we respond to what the brief is.

One of our ongoing projects is called ‘public image’ where people donate public images about the public realm, and everybody can subscribe to it. Every week we feature a different public image and it is becoming an amazing archive of people’s sense of where the public lies. On a more philosophical level we are interested in where the current public realm resides.

Thurrock: A Visionary Brief for the Thames Gateway

The Thames Gateway is a government-designated area of growth. 200,000 new homes are due to built in the gateway before 2016 – in theory. There are three areas to the gateway: the London Thames gateway, the Thurrock Thames Gateway, and then the Kent Thames Gateway in the South. The government set up the Unitary Development Corporations (UDC) with extraordinary planning powers, so the planning powers of the UDCs can override the powers of the existing local authorities, and they have large amounts of money to implement their programmes of growth. Our client was a mix of public sector agencies that were operating on the ground in Thurrock. It was Thurrock Council, East of England Development Agency, the Arts Council, Cabe, Sport England, etc, a kind of 13-headed client body.
The initial client’s idea for this project was to organise a conference. The brief was to promote the potential of culturally led regeneration, to look in new forms of culturally-led regeneration, and to raise the profile of Thurrock. We felt that a conference would not do this and we proposed an alternative programme. On the basis that a job is only as ever as good as the brief, we wanted to look at a visionary brief for the Thames Gateway. “What would it mean if you created an informed brief that would lead development?”

Programme Project
We devised a programme in phases:
- factual and creative research or mapping
- three multi-disciplinary Charrettes, one day workshops where strategic principles were developed and visionary briefs evolved
- public and policy presentations to disseminate these findings.
We did a series of mapping exercises and commissioned different practitioners to look at specific areas. The photographer Jason Orton produced a photographic portrait of Thurrock. We felt that it had got a really strong aesthetic, but actually the reputation of Thurrock is that of ‘nowhere land’ – a nowhere land of retail sheds and remains of all kinds of a post-industrial heritage. Thurrock has a really strong heritage, but one that wasn’t recognised internally or externally. We wanted to celebrate that heritage. 60% of Thurrock is green-belt, and there is an enormous amount of river frontage. There is a lot of marshland, much of which is landfill.
And there are enormous housing developments that could in fact just blanket the whole area.

We also commissioned two essays: one by the social historical Ken Worpole, who wrote about the South Essex landscape and memory, and discovered this incredible tradition of small scale utopian communities that have operated there over the past 200 hundred years. Chris Barnes, the environmentalist, wrote an essay as if environmental principles have been adopted, and he was writing in 2020. We produced a new atlas and maps, putting together all the information that all agencies involved had, so that everybody shared the same body of knowledge, including everything from demographics to industry.

The flood plane mapping was controversial. The pale blue bordering shows the river there and the flood planes, and that in fact is were all the housing was being developed and proposed at that time, and nobody was drawing that map.
We also pulled together a series of international case studies to inform the development. We showed
Common Ground who run incredible programmes about local distinctiveness and how to support that. We included a competition in Holland Amphibious Living on how to develop amphibious architecture.
We commissioned three creative practitioners to map the area in different ways. Helena Ben-Zenou did a kind of fine grain contemporary and historical mapping. The art and architecture collective
public works mapped the cultural spaces in Purfleet, with interviews of about 80 local residents about what their culture was. As it is always the case with those projects were you do listen to local people, new and unexpected findings emerged from this and public works’ analysis was really interesting. Purfleet had a very rich culture but there was no public space in which to express it. The finding that local people value the landscape of industry rather than the river which was also a completely unexpected finding to us. We commissioned Nils Norman to make a mapping of the green-belt, and he produced this “call to action”, which was a graphic novel looking at solutions to global warming, which basically was about community activism. It was e.g. proposing that we use the Lakeside Shopping Centre as an alternative fuel production centre.

In the next step we pulled three briefs together that we wanted the Charrettes to address. These were the three briefs that we thought were going to inform the development in Thurrock:
- Access to the riverfront
- New uses of the green belt
- New models of cultural facilities.
What was really interesting about the Charrettes was that everybody who took part had read all the material and all the briefing pack before they arrived, and they all tried really hard where everybody gave their best. I think partly because it was interdisciplinary, nobody was sure of their place within the hierarchy of that group of people. If we had had a group of architects or a group of artists, everyone would have known where they were, they would have been quite comfortable in that setting. And actually that slight discomfort of not knowing who the other participants were worked very well. Ideas started coming out really fast.
The four key principals that emerged:
- Do no harm
- Community engagement
- Innovation and creativity
- long-term thinking.
All principals are quite common sense and blunt principals, motherhood and apple-pie, who could argue with them. And yet they are not adopted within the vast majority of regeneration projects in this country. A series of big ideas came out of this process, one of which was to commission a new form of housing. This idea came from Jeremy Deller who said that “housing was going to be the icon of Thames Gateway”, and that is what we had to adopt as the new expression of culture. So, we all worked together to develop an idea of how a form of housing could be produced.

This is just an idea of a series of prototypes.

The idea that came out of the Charrette on new uses of the green-belt, was a whole new approach to mapping the value of land, and a total rejection of the idea of green-belt brown field, and a methodology which could engage with everything from the flight path of the red goose to a child’s walk to school.

The idea for The Town of Purfleet came out of a whole range of strategies to link Purfleet back to the river Thames, spatial, cultural and economic strategies.

The cultural charette suggested a new form of commissioning agency, instead of the kind of iconic cultural development, in the form of long-term series of commissions, in which different elements of cultural activity could be crossed in each commission.

Finally we then presented all the material and outcomes at the Cruise Terminal in Tilbury, to an audience of politicians, developers and planning and regeneration professionals, including Tessa Jowell who came to the launch, where Richard Rogers gave a speech amongst others. It was all fabulous event, and everybody was really excited.
A strong part of our belief is that all material should be publicly disseminated, so everything is available on the project website
www.visionarythurrock.org.uk.
We were then commissioned by the client to to look at what form of delivery vehicle we could design to deliver the proposed programmes. And we did that piece of work. East England Development Agency and the Arts Council developed a joint agreement in which they committed major money to the project in order to get it going. We also had developers wanting to work with us on the housing scheme.
And two and half years on, none of the ideas directly emerging from the programme has happened.

Analysis of failure
It has been really interesting for us that although the project was seen as a major success (we raised the profile of Thurrock and demonstrated a new model of culturally led regeneration), and everybody was happy and they all had this really big great day. But despite the principals and approach having a major legacy in the ongoing work of the client agency’s, nothing is being directly implemented from the programme. At General Public Agency we want to make change happen. So we have thought a lot about why this project might be considered to have failed. And I think my major conclusion is: you can not lead the public sector from the front, which is what we tried to do here. We thought we did this fantastic thing and we will take them with us. Another factor was that the client wanted this programme to happen before the UDC was established, which gave us very little time and we delivered everything from contract to dissemination in 8 months. Basically that was just too fast, it was too fast to embed it. And I think our feeling was it was such a great opportunity, it was worth going for it, but our ultimate conclusion is: if you cannot embed it within the work of the clients, then it is not going to get delivered. The key fact that happened that stopped it from being delivered was that the council went Tory the day before our public dissemination event. And it is only the second time in political history that Thurrock council has not been Labour. I think that demonstrates the importance of political stability and making sure that you have those political advocates with you in the development of any programme.

Mary White is the Director Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery


A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO SHREWSBURY AND SHROPSHIRE
CULTURAL LINKS AND DEVELOPMENTS

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The Shrewsbury Museum Service as Adrian Plant said has a tradition of working with contemporary artists, and we work within what is called Cultural Services in the Borough Council of Shrewsbury. We have a real commitment within this town to culturally led regeneration, and we see cultural activity and the arts as a real driver, also an economic driver for the town, which is quite significant, because it has taken quite a while to get there. To convince councillors that the arts are not just something flaky that you bolt on at the end, but that the arts have to play an essential role in developing a town like Shrewsbury, which has a wonderful heritage. I very quickly want to explain some of the initiatives that are happening in Shrewsbury at the moment: we have just started work on building a new theatre by the river which is a major achievement for this council. It has probably taken twenty years to get there, but we’ve done it finally, and work has started. The building we are in today, the Old Market Hall Film and Digital Media Centre has been quite an icon in the process of development of making link between the heritage and the contemporary and is again one the very significant buildings in Shrewsbury. It was built as a market hall built by the Drapers Company in the 16th century. Later it was used as a magistrate’s court and nobody got in unless you were here because you have done something you shouldn’t. It became redundant as a court about a decade ago, and there was a long period where no one could decide what to do with it. The proposal to put a cinema and a cafe in here was such anathema to many people, that there was literally public fighting in the streets about it. Members of the council were physically attacked because of what they were seen to be doing, to destroy the heritage of Shrewsbury. People actually had to see the realised vision of a cinema/cafe/public building, to recognise how the contemporary arts, contemporary technology and a contemporary social life could sit within a historic building without destroying it. The building had been beautifully revealed. Nobody had ever seen this roof for hundreds of years, it was completely boxed in with bits of chipboard and stuff. Then suddenly it was revealed and there was a connection and people could see how that could work. I think that was a revelation for this town, that you could actually have both, the historic and the contemporary, and one didn’t have to destroy the other, but one could inform and illuminate the other. And that’s really the principle on which we are now working. We are looking to develop our museum service, and we have a number of other projects on the way, but they all are predicated on this premise: that you could have a meaningful relationship between the old and the new, and that can be part of the creative process.
We have probably more listed buildings for a town of this size than anywhere else in the country. It is an amazing historic place. Charles Darwin was born here. It has quite an extraordinary topography, because of the way it’s surrounded by the river, and the way that the river shapes the town. It shapes it physically, but I believe it also shapes it psychologically as well as socially, and certainly politically.
Shropshire itself is a very interesting county. It is the largest land-mocked county in England, with probably one of the smallest populations for its size. So in Shrewsbury we are very conscious of the fact, that although this is quite an urban centre, this is not really what this area is all about. It is very much about the relationship of centres of population and a wider rural population. The town itself, its whole history depended for hundreds of years and still does on its relationship with the rural area. And of course not just the English rural area but extends over the border into Wales, which is only five miles away. Historically our contacts and commitment is very much towards the West, into the hills and the mountains, and as far as the sea. So there is a real focus for this town on its rural hinterland. We have hardly begun to explore that relationship effectively, and therefore I think it’s terrific that this day is happening. This is going to be a springboard for wider work within the whole of our area, both the urban and rural areas.

Adrian Plant is the Exhibitions Officer at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and mediamaker Arts Programme
CONNECTING OLD AND NEW – CURATORIAL POLICY

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I am going to give a couple of minutes background to the situation that you find yourselves in today. In your conference pack you have a mediamaker brochure, on the back of which there is a map, which illustrates the venues that we are working in today, and it shows the network of spaces for contemporary art that we are establishing in Shrewsbury.
I was appointed as Exhibitions Officer at the museum in the year 2000, and in fact it was a new post. Prior to that Shrewsbury had no dedicated exhibitions officer for the museum service. There was a history of doing exhibitions and of working with contemporary artists, but without a dedicated post the resources on which to operate that programme were very slender. When I came for the interview there was a shortlist of five to six of us, an anthropologist, a social historian, a museum historian, etc. and me as a bit of a wild card in comparison to the rest of the list. I was at Tate Liverpool for ten years before moving back to Shropshire. Yes, I left the village and came back. They appointed me and that was the start of developing a relationship between contemporary art and the Museums Service, and it is about connecting the old with the new. My pitch at the interview, and it is something that has been carried through since, was that I would look at ways in which contemporary art practice could engage with the history and the heritage of Shrewsbury, its environment and the museum collections.

Last year, during a trip to the Ars Electronica festival in Linz in Austria I discovered this wonderful very concise way of putting my whole policy into words. As part of a day out all the delegates were bussed to this fantastic monastery outside of Linz. It is a very ancient site that has been added to over the years. There was a Latin inscription at the joining of two parts of the building, where a 18th century extension meets a 12th century bit of the monastery: “Antiqua novitati concordavimus” and it simply does mean: we connect the old with the new. I think everything that we are trying to do here with the contemporary arts and the museum is underpinned in those three Latin words.
We have strands of programming that sit(s) on top of that principle. One of our commissioning strands is a strong Art/Sience remit and is connected to the fact that Shrewsbury is the birthplace of Charles Darwin. In 2004 we commissioned the UK based artist Shirley Chubb who made Thinking Path , a piece of work about her response to Charles Darwin. Our next Darwin linked commission involves the Irish artist Dorothy Cross going out to the Galapagos islands to make a film about her experience out there.
The other commissioning strand makes links with the river Severn, which creates this remarkable loop around Shrewsbury. In 2001 we did an exhibition of pictures from the museum collections about the river, called River Life 1: 1615 to 1815. The following year we continued with the exhibition River Life 2, starting 1815 to the present, again using the museum collections but also loaning some contemporary pieces. And in 2003 we commissioned the artist David Haley to develop his River Life 3000 project, which was looking at the ecology and the future of the river. His project is another good illustration of how we are introducing contemporary practice into a historic context, by preparing the ground and developing an audience base. So when we have contemporary artists working with us they are not parachuted in from the blue.

And the final strand of our commissioning scheme is to do with rurality, or the rural art space. This is the reason for commissioning myvillages.org, which is just the starting point. We are working with Wapke, Kathrin and Antje hopefully over a number of years, and Why We Left The Village and Came Back is just a marking point along that journey.

PRESENTATION BY ADAM SUTHERLAND FROM GRIZEDALE ARTS

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Adam Sutherland is Director of Grizedale Arts in Cumbria.
Extracts from Adam Sutherland’s presentation.

Curating Networks
“Opening up with this idea of curating networks (which actually Alistair and Kathrin came up with) I was kind of thinking: what on earth is that? Difficult to imagine that there was any other possible way to curate, which kind of shows how long I have been in Grizedale.
What else could you possibly curate other than a series of networks or tiny networks, or big networks, or interrelated networks? The reference here in this opening slide “keeping it flat” is about the kind of hierarchies within culture. Grizedale’s overarching approach is to have an extremely broad understanding of the term. Actually everything is interesting, and why people do things is why it is interesting. So, in a way we are not terribly interested in what people do, we really are more interested in why they do it, and that is how all the networks fit together. So we end up with this extraordinary body of material, all interacting and colliding and it has often been described as a cultural car crash, and it is, in many ways. Not a very good reference to the country car crash, is it?”

Network Images

IMAGE ROADSHOW: a group photo showing the artists involved in the Grizedale Roadshow project on a welsh hillside.
“This is a classic short of networking image. We have a whole lot of people all roughly the same age, wearing roughly the same clothes, with roughly the same area of interest, all discussing roughly the same stuff. I started thinking I am going to put a whole lot of photographs together to show that everybody is the same and we all endlessly talk about the same stuff in networks.”

IMAGE FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR CONISTON WATERFESTIVAL
“Then I started to realise that actually all of our photographs are of people doing things together and chatting and most look all pretty odd. They don’t really conform to my premise.I am in all the photographs by the way.”

IMAGE DEATH METAL GROUP

“This is a death metal group in a Chinese take away with the artist Olaf Breuning, after a week of shooting a video.”

IMAGE RADIO BROADCAST
“Here you see a broadcast radio interview with Mark Collins and Mark Wallinger and various people, with the audience sitting in their cars listening on to the interview on their radio, with a wind powered radio signal.”

IMAGE LUNCH IN JAPAN
“That was lunch in Japan, although I look as I am really listening I am not understanding a single word.”

IMAGE CUMBRIANA PROOF PROJECT
“The main project within Cumbriana Proof was the Coniston Waterfestival, but it was basically a series of projects that brought a number of different networks together in one large-scale project with five strands to it. The artists’ networks involved amongst others were Real Seven, an American artist group. We asked Alison Smith to select a group, so it was a self-selected group. We were not particularly interested in what they did, what work they made. We were interested in their take on being stopped in Grasmere during August. Everybody who knows Grasmere probably knows that it is not a fantastically pleasurable experience; it is an extremely busy place. There was an element of that whole project having a Big Brother feel to it. In fact the artists involved became very paranoid, and would not really give anything. I left my jacket for instance in their house one night and it sat unmoving for three days, cause I am forgetful. They were convinced there was a recording device in it. We did want to know what they were talking about, but we did want them to tell us.

Another failure happened with a local artist network called Chromosome, who we wanted to involve in the program and we wanted them to do what they were interested in doing. What was really interesting about them as a network is that they were incredibly diverse. There is no real reason why they work together; they are just some people that are interested in art who are based in the South of the Lake District. I think they are nearly all graduates, but their work goes from kind of tapestry to conceptual art to traditional painting. I think they are fascinating group of people that have chosen to work together and they are typical perhaps of an arts organisation. We offered them a nice amount of money, but they ultimately did not do anything. Probably because the invitation was too challenging? I spent a lot of time working with them.

The point about this kind of activities, you do have to spend an enormous amount of time with people, and in all different kinds of networks, if you are really going to get them to take part.”

Local Networks

IMAGE RAVE PROJECT CONISTON
“Just to talk about some of the existing networks in the area. The Coniston Water Festival is the main project within the Cumbriana program. The idea of the Water Festival was set up by us a year before the event actually took place. The Water Festival was something that used to happen in Coniston but it died off, and we wanted to get it going again. And we wanted the village to run it. We set up a steering group at the village, which was about 23 people, an enormous group. We went through hundreds of meetings, all of them recorded. The whole project was represented on a local radio station that we set up. We established a new date for the festival and we pushed the village in directions that they would not, perhaps, normally have gone in. We also put a lot of money into it. We produced a newspaper, which went out with the local paper. We pushed, controlled, and bullied. And we set it up so the festival could happen. And at the end of the project we stopped our involvement and handed the project over to the village. We left funding in place, and a number of staff in place so they could continue. And they did choose to continue, and they have continued. And they have adopted a lot of their strategies and projects that we instigated. They have done them in their own way, in different ways, and that is what was meant to happen; that is ideal. The thing I think that was most gratifying in a way is that they took the website apart after we had left. At that point I knew they taken over responsibility and they took of the staff they did not really like; a lot of which was them talking, in fact. And the second thing that happened at the village, which was significant, was the National Park closed down all of their tourist offices in all the villages around the Lake District. So every single village rolled over and every single tourist information centre has become an outdoor clothing shop inevitably. Except Coniston who immediately went “well actually we will run it ourselves”, and the Water Festival steering committee took over. They are revamping it; they are putting tourist exhibitions into it.
None of it is kind of informed by artists necessary, although there are artists involved in different ways. None of it is the kind of culture that perhaps we are seen to represent. It is a culture that
exists lately.”

IMAGE ROADSHOW: ZENELYTH
“That was part of Roadshow, where we a did a local rural death metal competition. Zenelyth was one of the bands, and they then went on to make a video of one of their best songs with the New York artist Olaf Breuning which ultimately got shown all over the world in a slightly different form. Dave Blundy worked with a youth group from Dalston, who joint the Roadshow and did a battle of the bands thing with the local school. It was a strange collision, because the Dalston group is R ‘n B, and the local school bands we thought would be rock bands, but they were all Big Bands. So it became a Big Band versus hip-hop, R ‘n B joint project. You could see all this interchange happening in front of your eyes, it was good fun. They were involved in the whole process and stayed for a few weeks.”

IMAGE JESSE RAY
“Again this music event is a collision between a whole range of musician. Jesse Ray is a visionary and extremely difficult musician, who had a few hit songs in the 80′s, dresses as a highland warrior. He interestingly works with American funk musicians and has an entirely unexpected network of contacts and activity. He actually hosted the radio station in Coniston and brought in people from all over the world. The radio station was one of the highlights, for me anyway. It was a great thing to use such an old technology and it is so easy to use. You just turn it on, you kind of listening to it in the background. The programme of the radio station was entirely random, so you went from somebody talking about the local mining history to some L.A. funk DJ screaming madness. The radio station was part of musical event with a whole number of musicians from folk musicians to classical musicians to funk musicians to Jesse.”

IMAGE KNOCK OUT
“Other networks that were operating through the Coniston Waterfestival programme were: It’s a Knock Out by artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie. They established four teams form the local communities, which involved the National Trust, tourists (well visitors as they are called), locals, and the National Park. So it was a war. Interestingly the National Park refused to take part. It’s a Knock out is something that really worked in the village they have redone it twice since. But the national trust refused to take part again, because they got some much abuse in the first version.”

IMAGE EXTREME CAMPING
“Extreme Camping is a project by Olivia Plender and refers to a 1930′s extreme camping group, called Kibbo Kift Foundation, who believed that a notion that spiritual enlightenment will be achieved through camping. The image shows a recreation of their uniforms at the time. The group has quite an extraordinary history. They were entirely rurally based, but between the Wars they decide to become more politicised and they became the “Green Shirt” and moved to London. Their principle ambition was social credit. Their most famous instance was shooting an arrow through the window of No. 10. with “social credit is coming” written on it.
Ken Russell in fact represented a different fraction of extreme camping, which was a hermit that lived in the Lake district, who was kind in opposition. So Ken and Olivia led a march through the village chanting all the slogans.
The Water Festival is a very local activity in regards to building relations with the community and working with different aspects of the community. The Lake District in general has an incredibly intense body of historical and contemporary material, and is probably unique in Britain, and has had so many stakeholders in effect, idealistically anyway.”

Global Networks

“The whole project was called “Romantic Detachment” in collaboration with P.S.1 was all-about romantic versions of other cultures, and the interplay between those romanticisms, and it is principally about America. The artists working here are interested in that, looking at how those things conjoint. The New York project was a lot to do with kind of international cultural strands of thought and ideas.”

IMAGE WIllIAM POPE
“William Pope – a New York performance artist- throwing a goldfish of the lighthouse, of course, why would not he be? William Pope is an extraordinary character; every time you try to understand what he is doing he changes it. So I quite quickly learnt not to suggest to William what you think the piece is about, because then he will have to change it. So in this instance, this speakers here, he is in this lighthouse on Roosevelt island writing and (granting) and shouting, which I think he maybe did from memory, and then coming out onto to lighthouse and dropping goldfish – live goldfish, of the tower.”

IMAGE PROJECT JAPAN
“After this we wanted to do something a lot more practical. This is the Japan project called “Seven Samurai”, and we were invited by the village of Togay, as part of a regional art triennale.
We wanted to resist the triennale to some extend with its idea of traditional art making that goes on in rural places. The job the village were asking us for has to do with how they negotiate their future with visitors tourists, because they don’t have a tourist background and there is no tourism in the area. But the triennale was clearly a regeneration project with the ambition to make it into tourist area.
We lived for a month in the village, did a whole lot of projects which were all about doing something useful, that was the ambition and that was what I said to all the artist: don’t worry about making art, we are going to do something useful and make sense.”

IMAGE TOKYO PERFORMANCE
“At the end of it we did a farmer’s market and the north of Tokyo and a series of performances. That is the village singing their village love song.
Everyone in the village is well over sixty, it is the end of the village really. This is the kind of premise that was going on at the time. I don’t think it is the end of the village at all, and I think a lot of what we did suggested that it is not the end of the village.
As part of the project we set up a web-site, there is a web-shop which, we have rebranded their rice, and they sold their rice in he farmer’s market . Unfortunately no one in the village ever used a computer before, which was kind of interesting.”

Rural Networks

IMAGE LAWSON PARK FARM
“Grizedale has just taken a lease on two farms: on from the national trust and one from the forestry commission.
In effect this is going to be the project space for the site. This is the development of the garden, short of first stage; this is the garden for the house. So we are trying to make a resource that can be used, which is practical and addresses issues locally and provokes and all of those things that artists do. But it is not a gallery; there is no gallery space. There will be if we can get the resources of a well-resourced web site. And that is kind of what we talking about as the access space. Otherwise all involvement in the site is participatory, whether you are an artist or a local group or whoever you are. If you are interested in it, and interested in the ideas, to do with the site then it has a participant to take part. There is no opportunity for exhibitions.
There are a lot of sub-themes to talk about but we don’t have time.”

IMAGE SNAILS
“We are looking at other kind of product that could come of the land in all sort of different ways, not only kind of agricultural and practical product, but also to do with the notion of what space and places for, and all those kind of issues that come up in relation to land.”

“You feel better about snails if you eat them, honestly.”

SELECTION OF RURAL ART SPACE MAPPINGS

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruralartspace @ 11:41 am

A selection of 15 drawings from the Rural Art Space mapping session, where the delegates of the symposium were invited to trace and sketch the rural art spaces they are involved with.

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