We are moving onwards with our project in Lochside – a tent has been commissioned and made and we have pitched it first in Auchencairn (to check it out) and then in Lochside for our first pop-up event, when upwards of 25 folk from the area came and made some art and ate some food and we conversed about future events and invited them back for future pop-ups both locally and elsewhere…
Pop-up #1 at Dunlop Road, Lochside on 16th March
The event was an amazing success and everyone involved seemed to have a good time. The learning curve was almost 90 degrees as so many elements came into place and so many last minute decisions and minor panics (where can we find a fire extinguisher? and a gas cylinder for the stove? and where are the marshmallows..?) were made as we went through the process of creating a community event in the physical space of the folk we are trying to engage and help. For me personally a great deal was learnt about bringing together all of our thoughts and plans and conversations with residents and partners and having the patience to prepare fully for this moment and then live it to the full.
This was creative place making at a profound level – having scouted for dog mess and other detritus – as a cosy place was created from assembled elements on a piece of land rarely walked on by people but seen every day from hundreds of viewpoints. One of the residents described the tent as a space ship landing on the grassy area. In a way the strip of green was re-claimed by the community for friendship and art and eating, the basic essentials of life that most folk would put above the value of money. The simplicity was the strength and the purpose of what we did.
And there was art…portrait drawings done with the less dominant hand and some origami angels/aeroplanes made in the colours of the Ukraine flag.
Herbert Read thought “The work of art is in some sense a liberation of the personality; normally our feelings are inhibited and repressed. We contemplate a work of art, and immediately there is a release…but also a heightening, a tautening, a sublimation…a loosening, a relaxing of the emotions; art is a release but also a bracing. Art is the economy of feeling; it is emotion, cultivating good form.” *
Written in the language of 1931 but still with relevance to 2022, I believe this happens as people who don’t consider themselves artists are encouraged to take up a piece of charcoal and make marks on paper without the critical eye of assessment or justification. This will be a big part of what we try to do with residents over the coming months – building a culture of drawing new realities and futures, as well as celebrating what is already present.
A documenting dilemma
We are working through the issue of documentation of the project in the context of what we see as crucial to the work we are doing. For the first few pop-ups we are capturing moments casually with mobile phones with the permission of parents and kids present. We feel this is crucial to building trust and familiarity with the concept of snapping family moments, but working towards an understanding of what images can do beyond the simple memories of a good time. In due time we hope to do much more with portraits and photo imagery on the themes of Home and Identity, and I believe documenting the overall project will be a part of this. Rosie has made an initial positive step in this process by giving out disposable cameras to several young people to go home and capture some personal significant objects and moments…we await the results with great interest!
“…by making creativity part of the shared experience of a community, rather than some mysterious act that happens elsewhere and is packaged, shipped and sold, the act of creation becomes a process that can be engaged in by anyone and everyone. Joseph Beuy’s notion that everone is an artist could become common sense. Any act worth doing can be executed creatively, artistically, and in a way that creates something new, meaningful, and perhaps socially useful. The potential impact of such a transformation in our understanding of creativity should not be underestimated.” Krause**
Here’s to our next pop-up later this week!
- Herbert Read -The Meaning of Art, 1931, Faber Paperbacks
- Adam Michael Krause – Art as Politics, 2011, New Compass Press