I volunteered as the Site Manager for the yearly Wimbledon multi-disciplinary Site Specific Art Festival known simply as Park.
In previous years, Park was exclusively at Cannizaro Park, however this year was the first year that the festival hosted works across multiple sites.
Arial photograph of Cannizaro Park, showing Cannizaro House, now the Hotel du Vin at the top right.
Park is curated and organised by Juliet Haysom, so I worked closely with her before, during and after the day of the festival on the 22nd April. The negotiated position of site manager also put me in charge of all the interns for Park, across the 5 Sites. I also helped in putting Tim Alexander’s work into all of the booklet and separating them into groups before making sure the right intern had the right pile of an appropriate number for their site.
I also helped loading the van on the Wednesday, unloading and setting up on site the day before, and assisted in the break down at the end of the exhibition day.
The whole experience was tiring, but it was fantastic be part of group working with a common goal. It gave me a good insight into the amount of work which goes in to organising an art show, especially a ‘pop up’ show like Park.
1 – Bedwyr Williams
Bedwyr Williams brand of Art presentation is incredibly humanising. He fuses the presentation of his work with what is essentially stand-up comedy. This made him very engaging as a speaker. He was critical of a certain type of practicing artists, namely those who see themselves as completely removed from their own context.
He was also doubtful of the inherent skill of ‘successful’ artists as the one distinguisher which he found in his own previous work, that is, what dictated how well others received it, was money.
2 – LUX
Lux is the UK centre for the distribution and promotion of artists’ films and experimental video. It is descended from the London Film-Makers Co-op which used to host film screenings and have a central equipment store, attempting to aid artists in the production of experimental films by spreading the cost amongst its members and providing a supportive context.
Nowadays, LUX is more of an archival project, although it does try to keep its collection up to date and work still with producing artists and institutions.
3 – David Barrett
David Barrett is the Associate Editor of Art Monthly, and imageless idea and art criticism magazine intended to “give people a way in” to the contemporary art world. This talk was a thematic one, attempting to contextualise the practice of art criticism. His main point, explored in part by the etymology of the term critic as a farming term, separating the wheat from the chaff, was art criticism is about distinguishing the successful art from the rest. Crucially however, it is a subjective enterprise, and dependant on audience, context and perspective.
He also distinguished art criticism which must have a value judgement by definition, from theory, which does not need, and cannot give such a value judgement for individual art works. Criticism cannot be passive.
This Easter, I was the Site Manager at the yearly Site Specific Art Event at Cannizaro Park, and for the first year across other sites as well, known simply as Park.
I worked closely with Juliet Haysom, the brilliant organiser, and oversaw all the interns on the day itself.
This involved a fair bit of planning, and also helping with all the odd jobs which crop up, for example, helping put all the view finders below, an interactive work by Tim Alexander, into the main show booklets.
I also aided in the loading and reloading of the van, as well as installing all the works on site the day before.
Our group project will be on Blackhorse Workshop, right by Blackhorse Road. The space is a multidisciplinary project and workshop space, where members have access to a series of specialist tools that they would not otherwise.
It’s website, from which the above image is source, references the “maker revolution” and situates the space within this context.
An excellent feature is the ability of users to use the space just once, or on a longer basis. Because of this, and thanks to its outreach program, Blackhorse Workshop feels like a community space, tied and inclusive of its surrounding area, in stark opposition to other arts institutions around London *cough* Newport Street Gallery *cough*.
I accompanied David to the space one of their Saturday tours. We both captured some footage, David’s mostly films and some photographs, and myself focusing on the sound of the space and especially the tools in use. We asked some questions of our tour guide, Harriet Warden, the creative director of Blackhorse, and got a general idea of how the space works, though she seemed a little distracted and not forthcoming. As such, and on her suggestion, we set up another meeting with the Workshop Senior Technician, Robert Shaer for later in the week.