How do you make visible the experience of being a part of Even Better Together? How do you document over 75 art workshops where local families have worked with artists from all over the world? Is it possible to bring alive the surprises and risk taking that has often been integral to the experience of working with Gasworks? How do you translate the numerous ways in which families have engaged in contemporary visual practice into an exhibition? Is it possible to articulate the experience of simply taking part in a collective event?
During a one day workshop, artists Albert Potrony and Howard Matthew worked in collaboration with five local families exploring the process of curation and documentation. The workshop culminated in an exhibition celebrating Even Better Together and the achievements of those who took part.
Reviewing documentation images as a means of recollection and reflection, families discussed common themes and processes which the workshops have, in some way, incorporated. Reoccurring linkages throughout the programme included taking an open, process led approach through making together and working with people who all live locally but often, had never met before. There were also commonalities of materials used, an engagement in performance and the use of AV equipment to develop and transform work. These themes became the basis for curating the exhibition.
In order to create a space for playful engagement in the gallery space and to show films made in past workshops, the 18 co-curators of the show built a large-scale structure using wooden batons and a supply of tape. The result was an improvised den like structure, ideal for screening films onto and within, creating both enclosed and intimate spaces and larger viewing areas.
A collaborative wall piece became the second major element of the exhibition. Gasworks was placed in the centre, marking the start of the drawing. Working collaboratively, the group then expanded the drawing across the gallery walls, adding personal landmarks. Using only stickers and tapes permitted the families to creatively depict their local area with an inventive and tactile approach.
In line with the spirit of interaction underlying Even Better Together, the curators invited visitors to pick up where they had started by adding their contribution to the wall drawing. The following instructions were developed by the group working together:
Welcome to Gasworks' map
Pick some tape and find where you live.
Be gentle and work together.
You can also make people, cars, schools,
parks, train stations, hospitals, shopping
centres and flowers.
Use all your imagination.
Interact with the rest of the picture.