Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My MA project - blog number 2 (an update)

Here's just a quick update on the project that I plan on delivering in the next year.

An opportunity for contemporary visual artists living and working in Somerset to come together to share working practice, create dialogue and share concerns and to look at ways to work together on future projects.

A exhibition of contemporary visual arts in a semi-permanent space that will tour Somerset to break down issues of access and provide communities with creative provision. This event will also bring local artists together and will involve a event that invites artists, councilors and arts advocates to share a meal and discuss topics around the project, somerset arts and rural arts in general.

Once the exhibition has taken place the space will be turned into a studio for an artist(s) to use on a long term and to sustain the provision.

This will all take place at the start of the summer in 2010 and once it has taken place the evaluation will go into my dissertation which is still going to be looking at the notions of context dependable art and whether the meaning and engagement of the art changes depending on the space it was made and then shown / toured to.

How do you judge quality?

Within the language that I use to describe my projects aims and objectives I constantly use the word 'quality'. But what do I mean?

As I've mentioned in the blog already, my perception of the visual arts in Somerset as I was growing up was one that thought little to know contemporary conceptual art was being exhibited in the county and I felt the need to look elsewhere to find it. By no means am I suggesting that all contemporary conceptual art is of high 'quality' but it is challenging, provocative and of relevance to British art, if not worldly arts. This is how I define quality within the arts - thought provoking, engaging, pushing the boundaries and raising the level of skill amongst other elements.

This blog could very easily go around in circles and ask questions such as 'what is art?' and as most of us would agree the answer to such questions are opinion based. Therefore is the question of 'what is quality?' opinion based and by me using it to try to define what I'm aiming to do it could conjure a completely different representation to someone else and therefore not be descriptive at all?

So to change the way I describe my aims and objectives I will now be saying that I want to provide space for artists to create and show ground breaking, provocative and engaging contemporary art in semi-permanent spaces in Somerset.

The Space, a building: drive by art

In the last week I've spoken to a few people about what kind of space I might use for the project. The space needs to be semi-permanent and able to move easily, suitable to house artists and an exhibition, ideally not bring a narrative to the work and be fully accessible. Lots have people have asked me about using either spaces that are not usually used for the arts, like village halls, or unused spaces and bringing them back to life. Both of these ideas are very interesting and very good suggestions however I can help but feel like by doing this it's a different project to the one I want to develop.

Ideally I would like to create spaces that doesn't already have a representation or a narrative. The space should be somewhere that can represent contemporary art and something new that will break boundaries in Somerset and raise the level of quality space available.

One of the conversations I've had in the last week introduced me to the idea of 'Drive-by art' and how these spaces could be visually aesthetic in their own rights. They could be created as a piece of architectural art that sits within the rural landscape and generates conversation amongst communities. This in turn would create an interesting level of engagement by the passers by, by the busy-bodies that wonder what the space is doing down the road and would generate an audience before they even step inside therefore raising awareness. Would this in turn create a feeling of ownership and pride amongst the communities and areas that the space visits, in the same way that The Angel of the North provides communities from the North East of England (obviously not to same the scale, yet)? Does Drive-by art not only create interest, conversation, ownership and pride but also represent the setting and and raise awareness of the arts activity happening in that environment? I believe so.