Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ElevenForms at the Exchange, A Report. I had some time to reflect on my project at the Exchange, and write it all as it was.


Eleven Forms comprised  a selection of new drawings, an ongoing series of works-in-progress made over the course of the exhibition, and a participative one night art project on Friday 23rd September (Culture Night) from 5 pm to 11pm.
This is one of the four projects  I organized with the public participation as the most important part. The previous  projects Bridges 2007, Turn-Berlin 2010 and Save Image As 2010 asked  participants to contribute, change, alter, eliminate and  edit. 
Exploring the concept “Participation is not everyone”, I made one drawing each day at the gallery using the city's surroundings as a backdrop.  On 23rd September arts centre's visitors  made a large scale drawing 5 x1,5 metres.
 I suggested some  themes, such as Walls, Windows, Sky Rain Cloud, Winter, People, Crowd, Street, Invisible, Bicycle, Cars, Light Shelter, Shops, Birds, all of them  based on the main theme The City and Life in the City. The most popular was a theme suggested by  one of the participants: whatever feels good...
Two requests on the  subject of the drawing  were made from Russia and Belfast   by email and phone call.
We used acrylic, ready-mixed paints, pastels, crayons and  cartridge paper.
All the art materials were kindly donated by my friends.
This project was open to all who wanted to participate. There were no instructions or directions given. That was not a workshop. The process  went very smoothly.  Every body were at they best , cooperating, communicating and negotiating.
Probably what attracted most of the participants was that  the artist  did not  facilitate, dominate or guide the project.  There were no artistic  authority imposed.  There were no expectation of any kind of achievement. No one questioned the  aesthetic or monetary  value of the product .
Some believed that  one's need of creative expression motivated people to  participate.. 
That could be it, although I had been  in the same gallery for two weeks prior to the open night event, only a few people joined me for a drawing or two as it was expected and anticipated. I suppose that with  a Big Event coming,  taking part in the main event rather in a small drawing session   seemed to be more appealing to the majority of participants.
 It  could be also  that an expression of whatever people might feel need to express is secondary to the desire to be a part of something big, significant and already approved. On the second thought It seemed to me that the willingness to contribute and communicate was more important than anything else.  
I have to admit that I was surprised how easy the participants  were  to agree,  that any part of the  work might be altered, changed, developed or destroyed as the process went along. It seemed to me that  de-fragmentation was absolute ruling  principle of the event. Almost everything had been changed many times, every doodle, line or character  was in imminent  danger of  disappearance every minute. It  was not expected to last, nor to be appreciated. We all felt   a new-found desire to make, to edit, to delete and start all other again. It seemed that the participants were positive and exited about all the changes and its speed, ignoring  a big question: what it is and where it is going?  Or maybe there is no such questions? One of the kids just wrote ART across the drawing with the big brush and that was the end of it all.

A big thanks goes to Alexei, Ian, Dave, Eli, Stephen, Andrew from Reads  and all the good  people from the Exchange Arts Centre for their support and help in organizing this event.

Eleven Forms is a project dedicated to collaborative, participatory and participative art.
Exchange Arts Centre is a Collective Arts Centre located on Exchange Street Upper Temple Bar, Dublin 2
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