Friday has come, and there is a lot of thought on the week’s content that I’ve seen so far, on what has been challenges, limitations, and what has succeeded (or exceeded) their tasks or guidelines.
More recordings were made. In fact it was incredible today – 8 altogether! They were: Annabel, Annie, Daniel and Rina, Frank, Jana, Nabeela, and Shareece. A very mixed age-range and cultural mix, which for me was a success. It indicated to me that this week the residency has been able to reach a really diverse range in audience participation, which seems to support the notion that the subject matter does universally affect us all. It maybe an obvious assumption, and of course it is a fact that we are all connected to a female presence, whomever that may be (especially because we are all born from one).
However, one observation is that the majority of participants have been female. What does this say? I have been very open to all gallery visitors, trying to communicate with as many people as possible. I have spoken to a lot who have been interested in the technologies, and concepts of the piece, as well as the response that I am requesting. The ones who step up to the challenge of being recorded have often been of a female presence. But this is a small demographic that I am dealing with, and I have had the most pleasure out of talking to people, about how this subject has affected them, and trying to encourage them to think actively about whom they could describe/talk about.
Quite often people get stuck about who they could talk about, thinking that the ‘story’ would be of a very specific ‘extraordinary’ moment in time. I am interested actually in moments grounded in everyday life; invisible labour; work that gets unnoticed by many; emotional groundwork that encourages and fights for people; and even just smallest bit of effort that shows something about this person’s will. Sometimes the story that they bring up in memory, makes them smile and laugh. It makes them happy to acknowledge this, and shows how they much they appreciate these people. They gaze into their imaginations again and again and describe who these people are, and how this has affected them. Even, the act of being allowed to say something, be it negative or positive, affords them a space and a listener (myself/recorder) to vent.
I have been very priviliged to witness these private moments, and I am extremely warmed and thankful that people I don’t know have allowed me in to their private space. Being approached by young people also has brought me great pleasure, asking me what’s it all about, and being allowed to say whatever they want to say. I am feeling like this piece is responding to many people, and I notice a wide cultural diversity in whom I am speaking to, and I am really happy this is happening.
The idea is to bring these moments out into the public space via the speakers in the heads (as if the heads were thinking out loud), to thread these human connections (brought out in this room) into the resonance and presence where people sit/stand/wander and listen and contemplate privately or publicly. I wanted to say that this ‘room’ is YOUR public space and that YOU make it and change it and develop it the way you wish it to be. In the great wisdom of Doreen Massey, a British social scientist and geographer who sadly died in 2016,
‘Space is the dimension that presents us with the existence of the other; space is the dimension of multiplicity. […] Space […] presents us with the question of the social. And it presents us with the most fundamental of political of questions which is how are we going to live together.’ – Doreen Massey
Politics and Aesthetics surround us all, and all the time. It throws up constant frictions and collisions. The notion of the Social Space, inspired by Doreen Massey, allows us to re-think and to re-contextualise our habits and gestures learned through our surroundings. It’s a space that morphs and changes, and holds all our existence, our connections. It shows that how we connect and communicate has a consequence, affecting our relations, knowledge and understandings of the society around us.