What could the Southbank's 'Festival Of the World' be to me and you and us and them? / 6 June 2012
I am here. You are there. Different, diverse, separate, apart. Can I share your world? Can you get into mine? I cannot speak for you. Except for those things we share. I cannot tell you what unless, in making this approach, I give you clues about what things I have myself.
Clues. Games. Treasure Hunts. Learning.
Sometimes in leaving my world I find other worlds I think I could make my world if I would give it a try. Snowdon. I look at the mountain range through a camera lens. I see it change everyday. Seasons, weather, light and dark. Steadfast stone changes. I cross moors and wonder if it effects the pressure on the point of a pen. I create perfectly ordered universes beneath the canvas of a tent, knowing how to make it safe.
On 31 May I saw the Southbank Centre as if for the first time. I want to make it home, a playground, a palette, a challenge. As a DAO New Voice I am privileged to attend a prestigious press launch of the Southbank's Festival of the World.
The 'p' word in that last sentence do not come easy to me on jubilee weekend with the terrors of noblesse oblige oppressing me - jarring at my jaw. I learn them afresh, awarding them different meanings. Everything can change. Excitement. I sit with writers I have probably read. I am with artists who have made the work I will see. My class consciousness isn't imprisoning me. I am not a slave to the social model. I fit here
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director stands in front of me. Sponsor rep, Paul Trueman, Head of Marketing, Mastercard, too. I fear not their status. Am not turned off by their words. They speak my language. They are no more than ordinary citizens of the world. Like me; they fit.
The lexicon of the festival is a thesaurus packed with surprise, imagination, dream, belief, principle. Propaganda is removed from a 50 year old festival. We were insular then and wanted to push out. Today we are open and want to embrace.
There is an environment here, much of it hidden, some of it used for the first time. More waits to be explored afresh. There are many workers, craftspeople, artists. Their commitment is to the expression of collective imaginations, inclusive communities. There is a freedom from inclusion that gives me/us the right to participate, the responsibility to look at this microcosm in all its richness, depth and glory, explore it and change it.
I wish to find an interned Bee, dig it up, release it. I might carry a spade next time I visit. I might be joking. I am obtuse. There are secrets here. There are things I will never know. Stuff I haven't said about me, words I have not heard from you. This is why I have to live here. I am curious. I must know. I must reveal. I must be responsive, understand my limits, descry the barriers that I was not able to traverse, express it to someone, be grown up about my position as a child of the festival of the world.
It is not going to be easy. Fitting will not be something I am able to do every minute of every day, but I love how this is organised, I applaud the spirit, the attitude and I was right all along about modern architecture and the environment it creates. I have to be here. I'd love for you to be here with me.
This is my hymn of praise. I am an atheist. There is much here I could knock down, turn my back on. Shit is shit, good or bad. My commitment is to what I can take, what I can learn, what I can build. Today I have no wish to destroy. I am encouraged and empowered. Come live with me. Bring your world to mine.