Openness

ARTSADMIN WEEKENDERS 2010

Six intensive weekend workshops led by artists renowned for their approaches to making, facilitation and participation.

Artsadmin’s Weekenders are open to all practitioners regardless of level of experience; all that is required is an openness to meet, talk, play, perform and collaborate. The second series of Weekenders starts in September 2010 and runs through to April 2011. Come to one or all – each Weekender operates as a stand-alone while the series as a whole offers an opportunity to work with an outstanding range of artists.

The next series of Weekenders will be led by Station House Opera (Julian Maynard Smith), Simon Vincenzi, Kira O’Reilly, Oreet Ashery, João Fiadeiro and Karen Christopher.

Curated by the Artists’ Advisor at Artsadmin, the series reflects a wide range of performance practices. The content of each Weekender will be unique to the lead artist, reflective of their practice and responsive to the group of participants.

25 – 26 Sep 2010Julian Maynard Smith
13 – 14 Nov 2010
Simon Vincenzi
11 – 12 Dec 2010
Kira O’Reilly
12 – 13 Feb 2011
Oreet Ashery
12 – 13 Mar 2011
João Fiadeiro
16 – 17 Apr 2011
Karen Christopher

All Saturday & Sunday 11am – 5pm
Please be sure you can attend both days in full
£60 per weekend
Strictly limited to 16 places per lab.

Book online via http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/opportunities/bursary.php?id=17
or call 020 7650 2350

via WOOLOO.ORG – ARTSADMIN WEEKENDERS 2010.

My Copenhagen hosts…

I met the family who have agreed to host my brief stay in Copenhagen. They were warm, and extremely welcoming. If the idea behind wooloo.org’s New Life Copenhagen initiative  – which matches visitors to host families – is to embody the a new openness, then it may well be working. They are not the sort of people whose paths would normally cross with mine; Lars is involved in local politics as a right-wing politician. Gitte, his partner, says the Danish rarely invite people into their homes. But that is the point. Last night, over tea, we talked, all thoroughly enjoying the strangeness of it.

I wonder if we will get around to completing the questions in the New Life Copenhagen Guest/Host book that was left by my bed for us all to fill inF?

Would you describe yourself as an argumentative person?

Have you ever discriminated against somebody?

Have you ever been a victim of war?

Find an item in the home of your host that you find strange.

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New Life Copenhagen: hospitality as art

new life copI am soon to be assigned to a guest house in Copenhagen by the remarkable New Life Copenhagen art project. For five days people I don’t know, who don’t know me, will put me up durng my stay in Copenhagen.

Everything I hear from them, while I wait, makes me more and more admiring of this enterprise.

The Danes feel they have a reputation for being an unhospitable place. New Life Copenhagen has decided to turn this reputation on its head with a phenomenal act of generosity, opening the doors of their homes to 3,000 activists, NGO workers and delegates who are arriving in Denmark over the coming weeks to attend the pivotal COP15 conference.  It’s a spirit of openness you can only hoped will be matched by the governmental delegates.

In this act alone,  Woloo.org’s  Sixten Kai Nielsen and Martin Rosengaard, who created New Life Copenhagen may have already created the most significant artwork to align itself with the COP15 process:

The explain themselves: Instead of inviting artists to contribute art for a traditional museum exhibition, we have chosen to utilize hospitality and the human encounter as an exhibition platform. The purpose of the festival is to create a breeding ground for alternative ways of living together. Individual solutions are not enough. In order to stop climate changes, we have to rethink our way of life collectively.

The artists SuperflexSigna and Marisa Olson are also creating work as part of New Life Copenhagen. Olson will host a live event at Copenhagen’s City Square, Signa are going to produce a guest book in which we can all evaluate each others’ lifestyles, and Superflex are going to ask all of us to commit to a climate-friendly burial in the case that we die during our visit to Copenhagen.

Which is one of those committments I kind of hope I’m not going to have to live up to.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Antony Gormley and snobbery

Ben Street at Art21 | Blog is among those who sneer at Antony Gormley’s One And Other, the sculpture which will be installed on the Fourth Plinth from July 4. The piece consists of 2400 members of the public standing on the fourth plinth, one at a time. Volunteers submit their names to the One And Other website and have their names chosen, apparently at random. Street sniffs:

Only a culture so profoundly in love, as the UK is, with the process of celebrification could endorse a proposal that equates mere self-expression with art. The project description is full of phrases that are begging for qualifying air quotes: “Participants will be picked at random, chosen from the thousands who enter, to represent the entire population of the UK” [emphasis mine]. Gormley has the temerity to suggest that he has been the victim of press “snobbery”; surely pomposity of that Meatlovian scale is crying out for some leavening criticism. The use of the political buzzword “participant” shows how neatly the rhetoric of contemporary art has, since 1997, dovetailed with the rerouting of political discourse towards an emphasis on “openness,” “transparency,” and “interactivity” while actually being none of those things. The suggestion of the term participant is that the person has an active role in the creation of the work of art, whereas the truth of much participatory contemporary art is that the participant simply becomes the medium for the artist to express whatever it is he or she is expressing (usually a toothless critique of the patron rubber-stamped by same).

For Gormley’s project, as for much contemporary political discourse, language is bent to purpose. That dreaded term empowerment is so beloved of official arts bodies when angling for funding is dragged in, but what does it mean here? And to what extent is this, in Gormley’s words, “about the democratization of art”? It means that after what will certainly be a protracted screening process, members of the public, who have conflated exposure with success, will be allowed to spend an hour of their time gesticulating slightly out of earshot above the tinkling fountains and rumbling buses. Some of them will moon Nelson. Gormley and the subsidizing bodies will feel good about “democratizing” art and “empowering the public.” That all this is happening in the shadow of the National Gallery, one of the world’s best collections of painting (and free to enter), has a ring of embarrassment about it. We get the public art we deserve, I suppose.

Leave aside, for a moment, the much gnawed over question of whether Gormley’s oeuvre is any cop or not, and consider whether it’s entirely reasonable for Gormley to claim he’s been the victim of snobbery, as ridiculed here by Ben Street.

The art world’s and the broadsheets’  invective against Gormley – where it exists – has grown in perfect parallel with his popularity. That would suggest either that his work has become worse as his popularity’s grown, or that there is a disagreeable horror of populism in the art world.

Q1. Which of those two propositions above is the more plausible?

Q2. Might the assumption that the British lumpenproletariat are too vulgar to be trusted to behave properly with art, and that when Gormley gives them the opportunity the best they will achieve is to “moon at Nelson”, not be a perfect example of the kind of snobbishness Gormley is complaining about?

Another Place by Antony Gormley photographed by Richard Dutton

PS. I’ve signed up to to be one of the 2,400. In the slim likelihood that I’m picked, I welcome suggestions about how I should spend that hour. No mooning, please.

PPS. Michaela Crimmin, who has been involved in the Fourth Plinth from its inception – it was, lest we forget, an RSA initiative, promises to blog further on the Plinth some time in the next couple of days.


 

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology