Update: thanks to Green members who nominated me for 'Green of the Week' for my work on forest policy and recent end ecocide work. Really delighted - thanks everyone for all the support!
Yesterday I was at the Irish Forestry Woodland & BioEnergy show to launch the Greens Forest policy. See the press release here Greens forest policy
I have been working on this policy since 2010 with Green Members and supporters; former minister…
You have in front of you a typewritten text. It could be poetry. It is an invitation to action, but not exactly an instruction. It reads:
planting a square of turf
amid grass like it
amid grass a little less green
planting four more squares
in places progressively drier
planting a square of dry turf
amid grass like it
amid grass a little less dry
planting four more squares
in places progressively greener
This is an artwork by Allan Kaprow, a score in his terminology. Kaprow wasn’t a musician, and in using the term score he was borrowing the terminology of music.
Reading the ArtWorks’ programme’s International Next Practice Review by Chrissie Tiller and in particular the Participation Spectrum proposed by the James Irvine Foundation, it strikes us that this work could operate at any point along the passive to active audience spectrum proposed. It could simply be read by an audience, or at the other end of the spectrum, made by them. A group of artists and researchers from Gray’s School of Art took this score as a starting point to make new work. We called that Calendar Variations. Were we artists or audience? Were we performing Kaprow’s score?
But what was Kaprow doing? Would he have defined his practice as participatory?
We’d like to suggest that Kaprow is breaking out of the norms of being an artist. The score was a prototype for a co-creative relationship. Kaprow authored the score, but other people played it.
Perhaps Kaprow simply thought that music benefited from having three different roles of composer, performer and audience, where in visual art there might be understood to be only artist and audience. Of course the performer could be many things: composer; professional performer, hired to perform the work; or member of the audience who goes home and performs the work themselves. Is the person who whistles the melody also more than passive audience?
But it could also be another composer who creates new work in response to the original, or a painter who makes something in another form. The more improvisational you get, the more that the role of the composer recedes and the role of the performer comes forward. Kaprow’s Calendar score is something with which to improvise. As soon as you set out to perform it, you realise that you have to interpret it.
Having done a series of projects on social practices, we have recently been working on improvisation, looking to understand the aesthetics of social practice.
Currently we are exploring participatory and co-creative practices across art, design and architecture.
Professor Paul Harris, Professor Anne Douglas and Chris Fremantle
Gray’s School of Art
This was just published as a provocation on the ArtWorks blog and is an element of a wider programme of work on participation and co-creation across art, design and architecture.
How can you describe a cultural programme that has extended over 14 years, 9 countries and 3,000 projects? How do you account for its outcomes, the change it may have contributed to, and the effects on culture or society?
Highlighted through the London Arts in Health Forum‘s newsletter:
Welcome to the Arts, Health & Wellbeing programme. We are a thematic, multidisciplinary programme funded by the Economic and Social Research Council aiming to develop understandings of how the arts may contribute to health and wellbeing.
We also aim to facilitate a UK network of academics, service users and practitioners to help develop research projects of the highest quality and of national and international significance.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness
Howl Part 1, Allen Ginsberg 1956
Project Ginsberg’s vision is a future where every Scottish citizen who experiences common mental health problems has a wide range of interventions available to them.
People with common mental health problems may look like they are coping – they walk the dog, look after their children, go to work – but the reality is that for those with common mental health problems the experience is chronic; resulting in months and years of feeling like they aren’t coping with life.
Project Ginsberg is about helping to define, design and prototype the vision of a range of effective interventions for the people of Scotland, with a focus on exploring the role of everyday web and mobile technology, and alternatives to the traditional patient-clinician model.
We think there is a huge opportunity to improve people’s life experience through rethinking our approach to common mental health problems, especially by using technology in ways that fit around people’s everyday lives.
The work is driven by Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy 2012-2015, which commits to developing a Scotland-wide approach to improving mental health through new technology in collaboration with NHS 24.
Schwitters in Britain at the Tate Britain.
Schwitters after Duchamp yesterday evoked a further set of relationships. Fascinating to see these two masters of the 20th Century, one sometimes derided and the other not well known. The Duchamp exhibition, well described here, is explicitly about influence. The Schwitters exhibition is a more traditional historical narrative shaped by geography and war. It has two contemporary responses Laure Prouvost and Adam Chodzko attached at the end. There are also interesting similarities in the exhibition design, though the Barbican is perhaps more compelling.
Peter McCaughey reminded me, Schwitters’ interest was achieving the smallest, shortest, gap between idea and realisation (“Merz art strives for immediate expression by shortening the path from intuition to visual manifestation of the artwork” Merz Painting, 1919 http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Kurt_Schwitters). What is the relationship between Schwitters and Latham? One second drawings?
Dalmellington is one of a series of villages and small towns including Cumnock and New Cumnock, Auchinleck, Beith, Kilbirnie, Glengarnock, Drongen, Muirkirk, perhaps Patna and Tarbolton, certainly South as far as Dailly, which are part of a post industrial rural landscape which is distinctive in Scotland. It runs across Central Scotland and up into Fife.
Kenneth Roy’s short comment on the demise of Scottish Coal Ltd, just put up on the Scottish Review, highlights the undoubted determination of the people living in these towns: they value their places and fight for them.
Glasgow may be onto its fourth major international event next year, but the whole discourse of regeneration and creative cities has pretty much bypassed the issues of the post-industrial rural landscape. The development of Dumfries House and the associated new settlement of Knockroon are perhaps an element of a rural story, as are Booktowns, though as Roy notes Dalmellington was meant to be Scotland’s before Wigtown grabbed the mantle.
If Creative Scotland has a challenge today, it’s to develop a Place Strategy that speaks to this set of challenges.