It's been a constant see-saw of stop-start this week, I'm feeling a little like I've spent more time psyching myself up to do work, than actually doing any...
Practice: A few shards of ideas have been swirling around in my head for the last few weeks, and it seems they are finally finding away to mash themselves together. The following is a half-formed idea that I have about something I think could be quite big and have lots of tendrils that branch out of it, but I haven't yet done enough research (or said a lot of this out loud), so it might be a load of rubbish.
Board games, arcade games, childhood games
These are a selection of keywords that sum up the ideas that have been pinging around my mind. My notebook looks like the scrawlings of a militant communist who has an incessant obsession with board games. (maybe a little over exaggerated, maybe not) (sidenote: there's a joke in here somewhere about Debord's 'Game of War' but I'm not even sure I get it so I won't bore you...)
Anyway so I had a bit of a brain wave earlier in the week about something that happened when I was in primary school; I was in year 6 so this would be about 1999/2000. The school had our year take part in something called 'The Make it Real Game', which I understood at the time to be teaching us about the roles of adults in the 'adult world' of work and responsibility. The only real memories I have are:
1. Finding the role (which defined your part within the MIRG system) we were assigned in our school trays - I'm guessing the teachers pre-selected based on academic prowess and personality because even as a child I could see that all the smart kids had one role and all the 'naughty' kids had another.
2. The roles were: Office Co-ordinator (This was me...), Writing Co-ordinator, Marketing Co-ordinator, Creative Co-ordinator...there was at least 1 other that I don't recall.
3. Groups were made up of one personal from each role and we were asked to take part in a series of tasks in the mindset of the fictitious 'company' that we made up.
On more recent further reading it seems that the MIRG was created in the mid 90's by an American man after his 12 yr old daughter complained that the subjects she was being taught at school had no real relation to life as an adult. The MIRG and other similar models that Bill Barry created intended to give young people a practice run at being an adult while they’re still in school.
Now while I wholly agree with the sentiments, (more so I feel that what most primary-secondary schools are lacking is an unbiased education of the political and social order they live within, which would allow them to become informed voters and active citizens) I feel that the model Barry designed does no more than implant the idea in young children that they must conform to a pre-existing role within the capitalist system.
So this got me thinking about creating a platform for participants to re-imagine the system, to activate the individual into thinking about (and voicing) what he feels are important parts of society and community. Initially I thought about creating the space, and tools to create a 3D relief of community and then invite participants to change it based on their wants and needs. This could be a work that evolved in a space with each participants interaction, something that could be transported from site to site and have a new outcome dependent of the community it interacts with. A series of utopian communities created by existing communities. (And then I got a little ahead of myself and started thinking about creating an archive of all the different kinds of community that exist within the UK - I think their may even be potential in there somewhere for a PhD...one day).
So after this small epiphany I started researching artists that work with communities and act as a initiator to give communities a voice and a creative freedom. And the idea began to develop into a series of activities that ask a participant to think about the idea of community and their existence within it. Over the next few weeks I'm going to continue researching and develop a few different activities that could be placed within a community setting. This hopefully will then develop into the over-arching idea that I have, which I'm currently referring to as 'Community Collective', which would see these activities go on a tour of various different 'places of community' and become an open forum for artists (and activists) to cross-collaborate and essentially just 'join-in' on creating an open conversation about alternative (and hopefully more positive) living models.
(Like I say its half-formed and thats the first time I've tried to string it together all in one place...if you have any ideas that relate I would love to here about them)
Applications have slowed up this week, mostly because I haven't seen anything new that I really want to apply for. I did, however, write up a proposal for the BSA scavenger hunt launch which I've handed over to them this week (hopefully will be able to get the ball rolling on this soon) and I've had feedback on the booklet...a few changes to make and 2 more pages to add which will be based on the studio holders at BSA which has given me an opportunity to meet some of the lovely people that hide away in the rabbit warrens of studios around the centre.
I've barely had chance to to catch my breath this week, and I know that the next few days are going to be a little hectic so fingers crossed I get some time to sit my butt down and do some serious ART-THINKING...
Thanks for reading!!