We have just started this project, requiring us to TEST THE BOUNDARIES – to, in effect, push ourselves out of whatever comfort zone we have embedded ourselves in and to find new ways, new audiences, new spaces: uncharted territory! We have to put our work in places that might be uncomfortable for us. It should be a process in which we are prepared to fail, and for most if not all of us, that in itself is a test.
Les Bicknell introduced us to the project and appeared so enthusiastic about it that it was hard not to be encouraged by his positivity. He reminded us that we have a huge resource in the people we know, the connections we can make via friends, family, colleagues and our extended networks. Les then asked us to think about how we would describe our practice in three words and then to consider what those words connect to and where we might see work like this. For example, work which is involved with how we see the world might be very suitable in an opticians!
We were encouraged to think about how the format of the work might change: scale, materials, projection, publishing, magazines, newspapers, websites etc
For obvious reasons, my connection with education and schools makes that far too easy a resource to tap into, although one thought which occurred to me during this lecture was that I have never collaborated with Design Technology who have some state of the art machinery including laser cutters and 3D printers. Now this would take me out of my comfort zone.
Les also encouraged us to think about what we have to offer; to negotiate what we could bring in terms of working with clients and in terms of fun, gameplay, lateral thinking etc. He asked us to think about what we have seen and been moved by or entertained by in the past and to make links with everyone. Split into two groups for additional involvement in giving each other feedback and ideas, we will be presenting our projects in March and have a few months to come up with how we will be testing ourselves by pushing our own boundaries. For me, this is always about taking the risk of being considered unprofessional: by exhibiting work which people question the validity or quality of. It is also about moving outside and interacting with people; away from the relative safety net of a gallery and an audience who will approve of even the most testing abstraction and conceptualism. Against the backdrop of reality, but also with some potential to infiltrate exhibition spaces, I (the artist) am exposed and everything is at its most ‘raw’.
This works beyond the canvas as well and I am keen to make a series of works which can be extended from the frame onto the wall – escaping, running away from the ‘prison’ of the frame, rushing for freedom up the walls. This could invite collaboration and appear anarchic and dangerous. It would need the right kind of office spaces and management who would welcome something unique and exciting.
This project will definitely be exciting!