Les asked another of his telling questions, What will constitute success regarding my project? Well, it would be useful if the remaining 2/3rds of the hoarding remained defiantly standing in the face of climate change. Whilst I am sure there are other hoardings, but perhaps no locally, the proximity allows me to casually interact with the viewer, which I feel will be more beneficial to the outcome of the project.
Success? The physicality of presenting my work in this way? The engagement of the public? The adoption of art by companies employing hoardings, thereby creating a norm of bringing art to the public and making better use of ugly meanwhile spaces?
Historically my measure of success has been a sale, which on reflection does not necessarily imply that that particular piece of work is any better than any other, merely that it satisfied the particular needs of the purchaser at that moment in time. But what is success without such an indicator? After some reflection, I have decided that success will be at my determination and not the observer’s, and that I can deem it a success if all elements of the project come seamlessly together.
Les also asked whether the artwork was to be the posters and the public response or the video. Again a good question. Work eroded by the passing of time, the weather, the street life, the developers, or work preserved for all the world to see, or not see. I have decided there are two distinct works, albeit the documentary is dependent upon the posters, the public’s response and my thoughts on the project.
My words list (Words blog) interested Les and he suggested I consider words for inclusion in the work, and that I look to ask questions in the video rather than providing answers. He also cautioned against defending the work, stressing the importance of listening, a la Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson.
Finally he recommended Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics, the work of Stephen Willats, Felix Gonzales Torres and the Billboard Art project. Willats’ practice is focused on creative art projects which take art to the public in ways and places not previously considered. Gonzales Torres who was influenced by the critical theory proposed by, among others, Walter Benjamin, which is that it ‘should improve the understanding of society by integrating all the major social sciences’, encouraged the viewer to take pieces of his installation work with them. 1 Les’s suggestion that I lend work to neighbours and ask for feedback on their experience of living with the work echos Gonzales Torres. I need to think about this idea. It feels ‘very out there’ for me, almost forcing my work on to people who may not like to say no, and could lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.
Yesterday I was lost in a world of hesitation, looking for alternative sites, researching the possibility of mounting the work on aluminium (a very reasonable £85 for 8 x 4ft, but a stinging £200 for delivery), and whether I actually wanted to retain the work in this format and where could it be stored or loaned (if anyone would actually be interested in it). What about willful damage, graffiti, endless questions mostly without answers.
Today I have taken action. The work is being scanned at 600dpi and the printer is looking at possible options, which may include mounting on aluminium by a local company. I have also written to the chair of our town team, (who I am working with on a project to increase the night life in St Leonards), who has a keen interest in the arts and also writes for the local independent paper. Filming is scheduled for 25 Feb. My next task is to reflect on the purpose of the project and the outcome I am seeking.
1 Critical_theory. (n.d.). Retrieved 02 10, 2016, from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory