where are we right now?

11 Nov 2009 jane

We’re into the second half of the run now, and on a day to day basis everything is running pretty well.

There have been some really great moments recently:
* the Institute’s barge moored outside Arnolfini, completely wrapped in their 30m red banner, emblazoned “The concept of culture is deeply reactionary” and “With our £2000 artists fee we are going to Copenhagen” etc etc. Not to mention a week of daily family interventions and

* Trapese’s 2nd Dayschool completely packed out and fascinating. Popular Education and Cultural Activism all day long.

* Embedded Symposium (Arts, Energy, and Climate Change) – full audience and a good possibility of changing energy policy and practices in this entire building… (admittedly starting from a low bar – the Lottery-funded transformation which pre-dated the current Director’s arrival bore in mind no environmental considerations at all…)

* African Writers Abroad/Virtual Migrants/Remember Saro-Wiwa weekend 14/15 Nov: galleries full, workshops full, powerful speakers and gripping performances. Totally energising. Totally relevant.

Yesterday was 10th November, 14th Anniversary of the executions of the Ogoni 9.
At 4pm, Remember Saro-Wiwa held a launch at the Stephen Lawrence Centre, London, to mark this day, and also the beginning of a fertile relationship with SLC through the siting there of Sokari Douglas Camp’s Battle Bus and the founding of an education programme. Very special day. The expression of solidarity with SLC is so important – the politics, the cultural significance. the connection between race, environment and education. Also, for me, the vulnerability, and resilience.

What an amazing two days over the weekend. Every event fed every other. So many interchanges and exchanges. I felt very excited and overwhelmed by the potent energy and creativity in the room, backed by incisive analysis. Audiences/participants were gripped
too. Just amazing. I also felt in some way like we were involved in a ritual detox of arnolfini’s (white) gallery walls. But maybe that’s overdoing it… A privilege to have been there. Want more!

*….Green Imperialism: This event wasn’t half as combative as it was billed to be, and maybe not as interesting as a result, although a packed audience. James Panton (Manifesto Club) was an amusing N Irish academic, neo-liberalist and contrarian, but self-ironic enough to be in a conversation (rather than talk at us). John Cunningham (MUTE) was great. Nav (convenor) was a good chair, although the men’s presentations went on way over the 15 mins agreed…

Some not so good:
* some frustration over media – Guardian came through eventually but all a bit daily mail… but Richard is working on various angles with Newsnight and others… watch out…

* some small audiences, for various reasons, among the big ones. One is, we have definitely challenged the marketing team with our season. On the other hand, everyone has done their events with total dedication, and participants have got a lot out of it. And then it builds… Did we overprogramme? Could say that.
But we did it on purpose – hubbub is about a crowd. And we wanted to share this space, and hear multiple voices, with multiple approaches. We’ve done that all right.

We’ve kind of characterised it to ourselves as a cross between Climate Camp, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a rolling conference, and an occupation… Could also see it as a durational performance. The Live Art person here is convinced it should never have been categorised within “Exhibition” department but as Live Art.

FUTURE – changes in the Gallery
Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination are arriving to install in Gallery 2b on Monday 16th. Trapese’s last weekend is coming up. Much to celebrate there. Labofii’s week of workshops for the Bike Block commence 24.11.09… They will be v busy building the block on the last weekend.
Fantastic to have that buzz going on right at the end. We programmed it there partly because that was the time that Labofii had, but also we actively wanted it there because of its explicit imminent immediate COP 15 future…

jane, C Words coordinator

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