Settling People Like You into the Lighthouse Gallery space was not without problems, compromise and pain, but for me all of that paled into insignificance on discovering that Mirka's beautiful bowl had been damaged somewhere between being wrapped up and packed in Salisbury and being unwrapped in Poole - the day before the exhibition was due to open.
The large chip on its rim is a complete puzzle, and the sadness is pervading.
The bowl was part of a collaborative installation with ceramic artist Mirka Golden-Hann. Mirka had previously worked with words of mine with her students. This time we had worked together on someone else's words and struggled through an emotional journey to create 'Dark Blue World'
We had shared our thoughts, feelings and reactions to the words I had used to interpret the Czech blind man's song into an English poem, and our emotions had dictated the form of bowl. A bowl to be held and turned in your lap as your fingers discovered the sharp little points of Braille spiralling down from its rim. And Mirka had created it.
Holding the finished bowl, gazing into its deep, dark blue interior, I was holding a womb that drew me into the vastness of space and time. The pin-points of slip that my fingers discovered were my words, unreadable to me; echoes of the puzzlement and pain in a stranger's blindness.
And now the echo of my own distress at the loss of this beautiful collaborative creation that had so very much to say about courage and humour and loss.
Letting go of dreams,
the stuff of courage.
And holding on, that too.
And pretending to be brave,
the getting on with
whatever it takes.
This is what it takes
to smile, to be
Needing my soft-sculpture to continue meaningful narratives in the context of its next venue, the Lighthouse, Poole, I have been working on a suplimentary piece inspired by the very different environment.
I have described 'People Like You' as an exhibition bringing together the work of Liz Crow, committed and caring artist/activist; Sue Austin, bold and challenging artist/researcher and Gini, dreamer and poet, artist/social commentator.
You'll notice that I don't actually think of myself as an activist; at least not in any traditional sense; which doesn't mean I don't engage in activism.
My practice has always been socially aware, issue-based and, I like to think, subtle. I'm argumentative, but try not to be confrontational. I make art to raise awareness of wrongness and I am concerned about the magnitude of wrongness, a concept as elusive as that of 'normal'.
I believe in the good in people, I don't want to tell people what to think or how to think it; I do wish to point out that in subtle, insidious ways, created geography influences and dictates our thoughts and actions in favour of inequality on a multitude of levels.
I dislike categories that brook no blurring of edges, I believe in the efficacy of making the work rather than talking about it and in that spirit I regard my DAO blogging as an integral part of my practice.
I believe 'the affairs of men' need a paradigm shift and maybe this is a threshold moment. The aim needs to be audacious, we are one global species and as I said at the (10/04/2013) Symposium: From the Personal to the Universal, I believe our last best hope of being human is in defying reductionist tyranny, looking out for one another and treasuring, honouring, all of the messy complexity of our diversity.
I look for solidarity as the greatest tool, but I find it disappointing that the arts establishment remains in its shrinking bubble and individuals seemed only to have eyes and ears for their own niche diversity.
I am inordinately glad when we are not being drowned in the same old same old of our past, but equaly shaken by the apparent timidity of our gaze into the future.
There is so much to put right, overwhelming if we were not so many; but we are. Globally, together we are. Why don't we think big? Why don't we act bold? Why don't we reach out and grab the seminal moments? Why are we still so faffing parochial...
And the old timers, are they only listening to their own drums? Are they too proud to climb into bed with rhizomatic networks like the OWS movement, with Craftivists, with a globally networked world that resists focus on individuals and leaders?
Have they bought into the negative image of armchair activism in spite of its global impact potential?
For me activism is a lifestyle and my concern to live in a fairer world does not necessarily translate into being an activist.
DAO links me to an online community of artists and activists, alerts me to opportunities for lifestyle choices and raises my awareness of the context in which I practice. I value immensly the focusing/diversifying presence of DAO in a Networked Society