I really enjoyed the ‘Intercourse’ event (love that title!) – “I’m not sitting at the front” last weekend. It made me think – a lot.
The focus was participatory visual arts practice and involved great talks by Gill Nicol and Sophie Hope, interspersed with actions created by artists, which, as a member of the audience, I participated in.
I sat at the front.
There was quite a lot of writing going on, writing stories, writing lists, writing postits. And stickers. Stickers were distributed to categorize us, as a means of creating roles that, if one wished, could be subverted. But few did so. We listened quite a lot too. Sometimes I felt I was being instructed and directed, I complied rather than participated. On reflection, I find myself wondering about where the participatory element was.
By my very presence, was it assumed that I would passively do as I was told?
Was the purpose to antagonize?
Or stimulate a response?
Were we expected to intervene?
There were instructions, but in many ways we were all passive and politely conformed to the traditions we are familiar with – that of speaker and listener. The rules were unstated, because we already knew them, the context provided them.
Emma read lists
Paul made lists
I made lists
My lists were in response to their lists
This is a list
When I contemplated writing this, I was going to share my lists with you. But I decided not to. The Flow Contemporary arts logo implies bi-directional movement – exchange, reciprocity, true partnership working. That is important to me. I make no call to action. I seek dialogue, resolution and harmony, not antagonism. Might this be an age thing?
photo of Emma Gee, by me……during our silent walk through Cardiff