WHAT HAPPENS TO US - Wimbledon Space
In November my application for the WHAT HAPPENS TO US exhibition in Wimbledon Space was accepted and I was offered a private screening / reception for my video piece PRIMAL SCREAM . They wanted to use the hour long screening as a punctuation over the four week long exhibition and 'celebrate me as an exciting artist in the community of WCA". I then created a GIF to be shown in the closing event.
The exhibition itself was examining democracy as a system of community and formation, particularly in the long shadow of the EU referendum and the shock and awe of the US election. I proposed PRIMAL SCREAM on the grounds that it followed in our societies current quest for contentment. The layout of the video piece questions the fast-paced, visually stimulating, technology based world in which we live. The curators, Marsha Bradfield and Amy McDonnell, felt that my video "drew attention to how our minds impose categories upon a chaos and create the world as we know it" and felt that it would fit in with the 'Elect' phase of the exhibition.
It was really interesting to see this piece in a new context, having been made in 2015 I had always exhibited it alongside an inflatable installation / enclosure - as the computer fans kept the inflatable structure afloat the video also endlessly topped up the viewers vision with positive, relatable and occasionally extreme moments of joy. Now to have it bare, standing alone as a single piece I was surprised to still find it relevant and strong. It was shown as a 5 minute video on an endless loop but I did feel that it would have been more suited to a walk-through collaborative exhibition environment; something you could dip in and out of. The overall experience was very reflective and affirming and it gave me the opportunity to work alongside curators, promote the work and talk about it in front of a large group of people.
Link to the video piece : https://vimeo.com/185932893
Link to WHAT HAPPENS TO US [artist write up] : http://www.whathappenstous.org/rosie-mcginn
Artist lecture at Fortpitt Grammar School
In December I was invited to do an Artist talk at Fortpitt Grammar School to two large groups of Year 11-13 (who were studying Art A-level) talking about my journey within the Art world since leaving School. Creating the presentation itself was hugely reflective and useful; it is the first time I have have put all work (ranging from 2011-2016) in one place and talked through it to an audience. The connections between the works became incredibly clear and translating this to a group of teenagers was hugely rewarding as I saw their vision of possibilities widening, particularly in an A-level environment in which I can remember being fairly restricted to painting and small scale sculpture. Seeing my work travel from painting to sculpture into playful video and then into a video/installation combination made me realise how much the work had evolved in a short space of time. The themes that continued to surface within the work were the everyday, domestic objects, movement, material, a sense of humour and a sense of human reflection. The skills I developed within this case study were my presentation skills, my communication skills, organisation skills and computer-based sills. Most importantly I was having to express myself passionately andexplhin my concepts to people who were younger and not necessarily interested in art or understood contemporary conceptual art. These are the people who I'm most excited about communicating with; if I managed to inspire someone in that class to go on and express themselves in an artistic way then it would be another bit of creativity injected into the world, and if someone who doesn't understand 'Art' looks at my work and gets a thought provoking response from it then that means much more to me than an art critic or a curator assessing each element of the piece and collating a response.
Collaboration with Arthur House
I needed filmed interviews with elderly people for my Armchair Installation so I sent round emails to all the local Care Homes in Wimbledon. To my delight I was asked to attend an appointment at Arthur House Care Home in Wimbledon. I had a meeting with the Manager and I had to explain my intentions to him. I was then given a tour of the house, which was very small and had 10 residents who I sat with and explained the idea to. In theory this collaboration could have been hugely enriching in terms of collaborating with the community and partaking in what could essentially become public Art. I knew that if I sourced my interviews from a Care Home like this one I would be getting elderly people involved in Contemporary Art, I imagined getting the local press involved, applying for funding to further the project and even showing the work in a local Care Home to question its effectiveness in a public space.
I found it really interesting and challenging being involved in a situation where I was having to explain a complex video / sculpture / installation to people who had no idea why I would want to do it. As I sat in the meeting with the Care Home Manager I could see a number of questions flicking through his mind; what was the purpose? How can we benefit from this? How will the participants come across in this Art piece? Why?
A simple "all in the name of Art' answer wouldn't have sufficed and so I went away and prepared a clear and easy to understand proposal form for the Manager, the Participants and the family of the Participants. Here is the proposal form:
In the form I had to clearly describe the technicalities of the installation first; how the armchairs and televisions will be attached, how the participants will be filmed and shown on the screens and how the videos will be edited and synced so that they are in conversation with one another. I then had to go on to go on to say how the project would benefit the people involved, what the message was and what the piece was commenting on in relation to elderly people in society. I don't usually have to think so succinctly about the message behind my work so far in advance of making it, this critical analysis usually fits in at the end, however being forced through this process made me really reflect and examine my intentions behind the work. I have to say the intentions I laid out in the proposal weren't necessarily my genuine intentions but they provided a straight forward outline in the process of winning over participants.
Ironically the Proposal wasn't accepted by the Care Home; looking back at it I think that it was more complicated than initially anticipated and there would have been quite a few obstacles to jump over. For example quite a few of the residents had Dementia, this not only meant you needed full backing from all relevant family members but it also would have added another layer to the Installations intentions. I have gone on to approach the public through family members, friends of friends and members of the U3A (University of the Third Age.) Although the 'Case Study' wasn't necessarily successful it really forced me to think on my feet, it challenged my communication skills and encouraged me to explain my practice to a brand new public audience. This is something I will continue to explore for future collaborative pieces.
Art Parlour was an incredibly informative and encouraging day for us all and left me with a clearer outset beyond University. Two talks from Artists Adam Dix and Karen David on their relationship with the art world after the Masters at Wimbledon. Adam talked about funding his practice through gallery technician jobs, which is something I have always been drawn towards (is it a man's world?) not only would it pay fairly but it would keep you planted in an art-based community. Karen David's work and approach to working was hugely inspiring, she was incredibly pro-active and reiterated to us "Don't wait around to do stuff, just do it!" As she talked through her work each year she would show us a CV of all the Solo Exhibitions, Group Exhibitions, Writing, Talks, Reviews and Residencies she had been involved in that year - this is definitely a habit I'm looking to pick up. Her approach to Residencies was also something I could relate to and feel drawn to in relation to my practice. Not only are you travelling the world (or country) with them but you are finding different art communities, creating contacts and most importantly allowing the work to develop and change in accordance to its context.
Other things that they addressed were collaborating with curators and gallerists, creating and maintaining contacts, being approachable to other artists, having a strong artist statement, working with art peers to make exhibitions happen, giving out business cards, staying organised, applying for funds and sustaining an art studio.
As Group D we decided to present what we had learnt on that day by flipping it on its head and presenting 'London's Uncreative Art world', tips on how NOT to survive the Art world. Each of us took on an aspect of what we had been taught and became a character who did the complete opposite, e.g Lulu had to stay motivated so she stayed in bed all day, Yuyang had to be polite so he talked about himself the whole time. I volunteered to put the presentation together and collate the questions, so once again my organisational skills, presentation skills and communication skills were improved.