Posted on Fri 16 Sep 2016
Things That Say No // Collaboration
With a month to go in our New Talent Residency, we've found a focus for research and development we've called, "Things That Say No", and also re-discovered our individual approaches in our collaboration.
Through a process of doing and thinking, playing and researching, me and Anna have started to come to a few conclusions about how we work both collaboratively and individually, and what we are trying to say.
After our play tests we came together to evaluate how we think it went, and how it should move on. Having had a bit of time thinking about what was important to each of us in the project, we saw that there were different areas of interest and different approaches to art making.
Anna's thoughts were around community, portability and people, mine were around architecture, movement and site. These crossed over into themes of subverting hostile street furniture, unpleasent design and offering permission to contribute to public spaces. This brought a line of research about into "Things That Say No".
"Things That Say Know" are architectural design features that persuade certain types of acceptable behaiviour, and dissuade undesirable ones such as lingering, skating, lying down, sleeping and so on. We are both interested in how we can subvert this unpleasent design into invitations to participate, meet people and overcome this restrictive design.
However, our different approaches and thought processes made moving forward with ideas difficult, as we felt pressure to agree idea before stepping forward. Primarily, Anna wanted foremost to make tools for members of the public to create with, whereas I wanted to work site-specifically to a piece of architecture / site (so fairly immovable initially).
So, after this groundbreaking realisation that we are two different people, we are excited to make some new work that can be more spontaneous and reflective of what we're individually thinking, which we think will make exciting results when we fit our approaches together again. Although it feels strange to be making different work, I'm looking forward to doing lots of research and making art that reflects thing that I've been thinking but not really acted upon during my time in a duo. It seems to make sense that we would persue different ways of working, but I think it has taken a while to accept and embrace this aspect of collaborating, as opposed to worrying we are on different paths.
The residency so far has not made us produce as much work as we thought we would make, but this doesn't seem to matter as it has been even more valuable in making us think about why we are doing this before we start to make. It feels like we can leave the residency with a manifesto and a plan of action!
Over the next few weeks we're hoping to prototype some ideas pso we can think through making... we're thinking buzz wires, musical pressure pads and a Things That Say No hunt. Until next time!