A recent email exchange between Su Ronnie and I about the thinking behind ‘Some of the Things that Art has Done’…
Su: I am really interested to know what prompted you to think about starting this conversation at this particular moment in time? We work with our art in one form or another on an almost daily basis and have done this for years so why now?
Stevie: It was a bit of a spontaneous decision really. I think we were heading out for a swim on the morning after the election and on the way there I felt a strong urge to say something. Perhaps it was because it was a hopeful morning. After swimming a few lengths we stopped and I told you about the idea and asked if you wanted to be involved too. When you were excited about it then I thought well why not, lets go for it. Then there have been quite a few positive things that have happened recently when I have been working with people as an artist / writer. Really positive things that are difficult to measure but seem important and it would be good to talk about them. I’m not sure that people realise how powerful being creative and working with literature and art can be, what do you think?
Su: There have been times that I’ve been in the midst of delivering a session with group of young people and have seen the flame of something igniting right before my eyes. Those moments are the reason I am driven to do what I do but I am conscious that I am often the only person that has witnessed that transformative flash and the output, however great it is, doesn’t capture it. Afterwards it can often be difficult to articulate those moments in a useful way because it is hard to measure or even document. So whilst they give me a deep conviction that art is truly transformative and has a massive positive impact, I am frustrated by my inability to get that point across. How can we best communicate that art isn’t a nice addition, it’s vital.
SR: Exactly! So I was thinking that we might be able to share these moments as stories or images or poems or in lots of other ways that I can’t imagine too. And bringing them together as a beautiful online thing would have some use, even if it is just to remind us of the positive effect that we can have as artists. I’d be interested in things that people have already written or recorded in some other way while they have witnessed these moments. It could be an anecdote too or a mini-essay. Something short and online friendly. What were you thinking that we might get through?
Su: I would love to see a variety of responses. As well as being interested to see the moments themselves, I am also interested to see the different ways in which people might attempt to capture those moments and I’m hoping that there are approaches that I haven’t even thought of. At the moment I’m thinking it would be great to see a mixture of the written and the visual plus some sound pieces but often when you’re facilitating creative sessions the best parts are unplanned and therefore unexpected so I think it’s good to keep it quite open as that’s when the magic happens!
Stevie: I’d add that submissions can be about art in a participatory setting or a personal experience of reading or seeing an artwork that had a profound effect in some way. I’d like to see creative approaches from writers too, which could be poems or little stories that capture transformative moments. These could even be things that have already been written in another context. It’s important that they are things that will work online so short is good. I’m really excited to see what comes through and to see what comes out of this whole process.
Submissions can be made via CuratorSpace here: https://www.curatorspace.com/opportunities/detail/some-of-the-things-that-art-has-done/1463
Submissions are also welcomed via email to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: 5pm on 14th July 2017