This week Young Arnolfini left Arnolfini and went to visit Sanctum, the amazing new project by artist Theaster Gates, produced by Situations. It was an inspiring chance to think about Art within the context of the city.
Last week wall looked at the questions we most wanted to ask people in Bristol, centred around the idea of “how can a city change?”. We’ve decided to make a structure to transport about the city in order to stage conversations. This could be anything from a table to a moveable living room or a boat. We’re going to build towards a day when we’ll do this, moving our structure about and meeting different groups. This day of moving and talking will form the centre of the project, which we also plan to build into an exhibition. Exciting times!
Back in July, Young Arnolfini, Black Kettle Collective (Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea) and Ikon Youth Programme (Ikon Gallery, Birmingham) presented a collaborative exhibition exploring the theme of language.
The groups were invited to take over the ground floor gallery space at Arnolfini. They were granted free reign, with no rules or restrictions. Working together, they produced the exhibition collaboratively, exploring what it means to work together.
Taking language as a starting point, Young Arnolfini made a tent to house mistranslated folk stories, an allotment to hand out rumours about plants and a series of flags to talk about communication and group identity. Ikon Youth Programme encoded videos with references to youth culture whilst Black Kettle Collective created new ways to listen to overheard conversations.
Last night (20th June 2015) I was coaxed into attending an event by a very curious piece of advertising. Picked up at The Island, Bristol, this flyer, with its sparseness and contrast, was too intriguing to ignore.
What I found, in a small, active industrial yard, was a gathering of people brought together for a performance and a barbecue, on the eve of the solstice.
Sam, the main man of the occasion, put the event together prior to the beginning of what he described to me as an adventurous wander of survival without money, a phone or a map. The idea, to leave of without worrying about how much money you have, who you’re in contact with and where you are, is greatly inspiring as a thing to do, and the fact that there was no pretention in the attitude of the friendly, jovial crowd bolstered the moment.
The event itself is tied to a group of artists in Bristol, CHAMP, whose newly renovated garage studio is as I awkwardly put it at one point, ‘nice’. Which is what it is, a well as more valuable adjectives.
It’s the second time I’ve joined the outskirts of a group shepherded by some leader figure called Sam. The first time being the night of my secondary school prom, in the face of rejection I’d gone off to a gig instead, and while there lied to a group of guys about my age so I could feel less insecure. Sam bought me a drink but I’d had to politely decline.
This time around it was homemade wine that I was avoiding for medical reasons and the barbecue, (from which I had a grilled pepper bun) was a happy addition to the performance. A good move. The details of the performance itself is really only for the performance. That it effectively involved a morning ritual with a much heightened intensity, is enough description to honour intentions I figure.
All of that which Sam took on his sojourn of indefinite length today was lain out on the floor until by the end of the performance it was packed away into his bag. In generosity Sam also provided me and others with a free shirt for our engagement, which was a fine thing to do.
Sam, and the rest of those more of the inner circle, were at the allotment mentioned on the flyer this morning at sunrise, to wave Sam away I guess.
It’s a shame I couldn’t be there, but I was more committed to getting to my bed than hanging around for somewhere to couch/floorsurf with the group. So on this, the longest day of the year, I wish Sam the vey best of luck, and am glad that things like this happen, because, if they didn’t, then just how boring would life be?
Initially the group began with the idea of Welsh folk stories, which we were interested in because of the way that they are communicated. These stories were only passed by word of mouth, and have only been recorded in modern times.
Buying fabric, and constructing the tent in Gallery 1, Arnolfini
The group explored these stories, becoming attached to ‘The story of Gelert’ and the Welsh language, mainly its translation and mistranslation into English and other languages. This lead us to explore translation, which became the centre of the project.
The group wanted to create a den or tent like space to present the story, as we felt that this was the perfect storytelling environment.
After we had decided on creating a tent space, we were given found footage of a family putting up a tent. This coincidence re-affirmed our tent concept, and became a really important part of the work.
The story of Gelert continues to be an integral part of the work and its creation.
So, it’s getting on great. Going to have lot’s of lovely stuff for you to enjoy and such for the weekend it’s on… 2nd July – 5th July. Proper nice.
This Exhibition what Young Arnolfini, and also IKON Youth Programme and also Black Kettle Collective is putting on is about Communication
Why do a communication exhibition when Emma Smith just did one?
Because it’s such a broad topic, stupid question by the way… But that’s no way to speak to an honourable guest like yourself. I do apologise
“This now is the time for making.”
A day of events on Saturday the 4th July you say? In a month you say? My word, how exciting.
This space will be transformed into a hove of ideas all connected to the ways we, as humans, communicate as humans, communicating, humanly, with each other. A place of learning space. A…
Also… don’t miss… tomorrow at Arnolfini, (Friday 5th – 7th June, irrelevant if these dates have passed)…
Field trip to Skenfrith, a small village in south-east Wales close to the border between Wales and England. Exploring Skenfrith castle we found the River Monnow running past, a tree inside the castle compound, walls with jagged teeth, bits they’d tried to restore. We met here because it’s the middle point, a meeting point. I have a quote from Roni Horn written down in my book which says ‘when you have only one, you have only one, when you have two you have the space between, plus you’ve got the difference, and the difference is where everything opens up’. We met in that middle space.