So I have been knee deep in something I do as my day job, but it just dawned on me today when I was happily at work for 7 hours on a sat that in fact this thing I am making is totally part of my new practice area. I have essentially researched, consulted, talked, thought, invited, programmed, curated, managed, logistics-ed a conversation piece together.
I have been talking about the importance of conversation since 2006 when i considered this a main part of my work.
This work is called Changing Habitats
I have focused on unpacking one key question Are children and young people democratising culture? i realise now after more and more research how problematic this question is.
speaking of one culture - goes against my beliefs
Using the word democratising - confuses people
I like that it is a question that is based on people's own opinions, confusion, experiences and understanding of the world and the words used.
then I have put together a program of physical spaces, visual experiences, oral experiences, interactive experiences, conversations and
discussions, presentations, meetings, lectures, food, performances, music, art, literature, physical activity, humor, etc etc etc I think i just started salivating - how funny!
Anyway what is amazing about this - is A) i get paid to do this as my job and B) i am able to bring my arts practice to my day job and C) I have tried to democratise my arts practice by having so many people have their input into my work, to take criticism, to share things, to let people's opinions be important to me, rather than think that somehow I hold all the answers as the producer, curator and facilitator.
Being engaged in other people's thinking and vision is important to me, as it is also important for my work to explore contemporary arts practices, social, cultural and other trends that I see around me and start to ask some questions about. I also think it is the nature of my work to turn up the heat on some questions or lines of enquiry and also to relax on other areas...
This has meant that I have done some preaching to the very staunchly not-converted and that has been hard and good for me simultaneously. It also means that when this baby gets placed in the raft and set off down the river (so to speak) I will in fact be letting 200 other artists tear my ideas apart, re-shape it in their own minds, tell me where I have gone well and where i went very wrong, challenge each other, pat each other on the backs, begin new conversations with new people and hopefully feel the confusion of learning and exploration kicking in.
I am not sure this is my best piece of work, but is a fully integrated moment across a broad range of my interests, skills and experiences. I hope the time with this little 2 and a half day process, in turn gives me some of your ways of thinking and i am not stuck down in the basement washing dishes but that I can also engage with people and see what you all think.