Saturday, 7 March 2009

den @ not a f******* art show, 4th March 2009, my reflections on the event

den @ not a f******* art show

so.. here goes with thinking through the what happened on the night, i really enjoyed the experience and feel my work is getting stronger in its reduction of elements (yes, its finally happened- doug my MA tutor always said this to me) although the size of the den was a little too close for the use of objects easily but matches well to the whole notion of a den.

due to the personal nature of the encounters and my work situating itself within its temporal nature of in the moment (the act of photography and conversationally) I do not retell/document the very personal elements of stories.

some reflections;
  • the conversations were on the whole as an event, far more giving and engaging than my previous works, i think this was as the conversational stories came from the participant's greeting card message they had personally had space and time to consider and write, and therefore centered around them with common connections made and explored between us.
  • the exchange become centred around one object, the greetings card, i did not physically produce or share the same, this was a new direction for me, and great, i finally realised the merit in an exchange being purely giving something 0f yourself which did not need to manifest itself as an object, it was enough it had come from the participant's object. :)
  • I let the participant write their card in silence and then discussed it, this added to the length of the piece, but shouldn't hurry it, the quality of the experience being the most important here.
  • I centred around the idea of them reading the card out loud, and building on that, and then focusing on the last day they saw each other, this made the connection well to the photographic moment that has passed.
  • the spacing of the den and the table- this was done apart form one another to try to stop you hearing my real voice only mediated through the walkie talkie. however, this quickly became a nightmare trying to use it with trying to communicate on the walkie talkie and also people coming straight up to the den. In hindsight it would have been ok to leave it near the den, connecting it as a whole better. could have simply had a sign saying 'please wait if there are two pairs of shoes here.'
  • height of den- too low on my side, and too narrow, the chair in the scratch was wider, spacing and using the objects was difficult, although added to the den aesthetic and needed to take a short break part way through.
  • one participant wrote a card to a female who is rather than was important, so i asked them to write a second card, and they kept the original one.this worked well.
  • whilst most talked about someone they lost touch with for good reasons, a part of their life that once was, one participant talked about a loved one who had died. need to think about this more, was the shredding action too much for this, as they are still not to be forgotten? should i have stipulated they should still be alive (and how to do this, if this is necessary? this needs further consideration, it still fits with the cathartic nature of the work and a sense of release, how does it feel, maybe see if i can contact the participant)
  • liked bringing in the shredder from outside the den, adult item brought it to serve its function and then removed from sight as it took us back suddenly into the present from the past.
  • i loved the photogram image of text appearing and disappearing, like a blueprint. very poetic moment, watching quietly whilst the sound of the private view in full volume outside.
  • possibly could have used bigger photo paper, 10 x 8, so could see whole card, how important was the image on the card, the text only as was personal?
  • choice of cards- very mother/nan nostalgia orientated, people preferred the more modern, generic ones, happy birthday, just to say- use more of these next time? someone chose a card to someone they had never sent a birthday card to, they didn't know when their birthday was and wish they had of done.
  • other thematics of stories here and in the scratch included past lovers, past teachers, lost friends for example.
  • the walls have ears idea was good- having always had a lot of privacy with 4 solid walls around, perhaps brought a greater sense of intimacy between us, as we had to detach ourselves more. at one point with the noise of the shredder, the friends of a participant outside asked what was going on in there, were they ok- this was cool, the hearing but being denied the seeing, the not knowing, the element of mischief.......on the negative side, not having a sign outside, and people not reading the 'for one at a time' on the wall label, meant people were lifting up the sheet/knocking on the wooden foot stool (!) like it was a door. this needs addressing......possible side table with instructions in a frame??

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