Summer workshops in the Estate
Continuing Even Better Together, Gasworks' series of free art workshops for families, artist Albert Potrony led the workshops in Kennington Park Estate.
Friday 6 August 2010: KPE 1000 BC
Inspiration for the first session was Simon Fujiwara’s commission for Frieze 2010 and his fictional use of archaeological digs and muselogical categorisation to create histories of unknown peoples. In response, families transformed combinations of recycled containers into plaster casts, creating strange artifacts that could have belonged to civilizations living millions of years ago, discovered in Kennington Park Estate. Looking at information tags from the British Museum, each person then drew and described their objects using the museum label format - imagining each object's use, who could have used it and describing the possible wider context.
Friday 13 August 2010: Is THIS Drawing?!!
The second session was inspired by residency artist Emanuele Becheri, whose practice explores chance happenings, accidents and the absence of individual authorship. Allowing ephemeral action and events to influence each drawing, sound piece or film, Becheri records the effects of natural occurrences and the traces they leave behind. From the smallest act of allowing snails to leave their trail on paper to exploring how weather storms leave a mark of their passing in a much grander scale, Becheri acts as both director and lone witness, recording and manipulating the events.
Playing with alternative ways of drawing and mark marking, families set up a series of games and looked at the traces left behind. Blindfolded and reliant on each other's descriptions of events, people or places, families worked together, allowing for a shared ownership of each experiment whilst avoiding individual authorship. The different drawing investigations led to a final, large scale performative piece responding to Becheri's practice of recording the influence of nature and shared ownership. Working with home made drawing 'apparatus' made of long sticks and everyday objects, each person contributed to the collective piece, making marks in response to listening to unfamiliar music. Playing further with chance and external influences, the work was taken outside, allowing the wind and rain to shape the drawing, witnessing the weather give its final touch.
Friday 20 August 2010: Sweet Little Lies
The third session drew inspiration from Mexican artist Erick Beltrán’s work ‘Nothing but the Truth’. This piece involved Beltran asking friends and family to compose a series of lies which he then compiled into a book. After exhibiting this publication of fibs and dishonest tales, Beltrán requested that each individual burn their personal copy, leaving no trace of the books or the lies they contained.
Within this conceptual framework, families were asked to think about lies in a playful and light-hearted way, inventing new untruths without distinguishing between fact and fiction or making conscious decisions about playing by usual social norms. Lies included: men have babies, Elvis is alive, fish enjoy walking, today I grew ten feet tall, footballs are made of tiny oranges, clouds are actually flying sheep, I have 3 million pounds.
After compiling a wall of lies, individuals were encouraged to record their favorite fib in a specially secluded 'lying booth'. In this quiet space families could record their false statements without the worry of being judged by others or whether the lies were believable or not. This documentation process removed the usual discomfort and moral implications of telling a lie, becoming a space to reaffirm creativity and critical thinking.
Using homemade, old-style megaphones and moving to the estate playground, families then broadcast their lies in an improvised performance, recorded and watched by local residents. In a similar way to Erick Beltrán’s work, the lies became ephemeral, filtering through the air for a few seconds and then disappearing forever.
Volunteer workshop assistants: Francesca Lazzarini, Remi Merchant, Mary Toal and Debbie Herring with AV support from James Marsden.