Public Installations Through Community Engagement

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with numeric systems, type, and also lo-fi installations that explore the principals of gestalt.

Project 1, involved creating an autonomous map of the residents garages from 1-17 on Bishopsfield Road, based near the Unit 3 Studio. The map was based on information provided by local residents, explaining that only 3 residents have garages connected to their house number, and the rest we’re outsourced to non-residents.

Project 2 was a response to the abundance of maintenance works between the studio and Fareham rail station, where I installed a temporal text reading ‘No Data’. From this installation, I derived project 3, a minimalist project, where various compositions made up of black and red circles, were then installed at locations in the community and local public sphere. The concept was to invite members of the community to to pick the placement of 8 red circles on a grid drawn on paper, in juxtaposition with the remaining black circles, and then installed at selected locations.

The aim is to investigate the similarities of the chosen placements, and how they relate in practice to the principals of gestalt theory, and visual perception. The residents who designed the compositions were from broad age groups, ranging from 18 years old to 63 years of age. The participation encourages inclusivity, in an area where many residents live alone, and feel isolated. The project opens up new lines of communication that perhaps didn’t exist before, and to be able to think objectively about their surroundings. The project also allows local residents to view their environment through a brand new lens, and the ability to transform it without needing access to any expensive materials.

Read more about Gestalt theory here.

 

 

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Thoughts become Feelings

I recently took a trip to Amsterdam for a few days. I love the city. The architecture, people, quirky shops; there’s a real creative buzz there. The visually enticing environment, particularly all the lights and signage really inspire me. It’s similar to when I find a piece of art that makes me take a second look. Often it’s a feeling, a mood, channelled through a far off distant thought I can’t quite recall that leads to the affiliation. I also visited Gunther Von Hagen’s ‘Body Worlds’ exhibition and was really motivated by the imagery and messages that pushed for audience’s to focus on the importance of adopting positive attitudes and the fact that perception, rather than circumstance is vital in development, growth, and well being. I wanted to use some of the ideas I had at Unit3 and explore them in conjunction with Strength in Community amid Fragile Conditions: The thoughts I have about the area, my surroundings, myself and the local commununity documented through photographs and the images re-appropriated with a multi discipline approach to nurture feelings. The photos were taken on a walk around the area and in the studio itself and as the work is developed, the images and concepts behind them will be further explored with a view to using some of the material and processes in community workshops and at exhibition.

Suzanne Carr 

14.10.16

 

Keith and I met up with some local residents on Friday, both around Mitre Court and in Fareham town centre. All of which were good enough to give us their time and share some stories about themselves and the local area. We wanted to know how people felt about their community; its assets and ways it could be improved and also how they felt about art and the possibilities of how they could contribute towards projects to make art work for them.
In speaking with people, it became clear that for the majority it wasn’t really on their radar. Some even felt slightly alienated from it. However, in conversation many had good ideas on how they could contribute towards the studio and certainly gave us some food for thought on how we can progress our own ideas and put things into motion practically through some upcoming workshops.
We have been filming our movements and the people we meet, forming the beginnings of a documentary that will archive the collaborative efforts of all involved.
Here’s some images from the footage Keith shot…

Introducing Resident Artist Keith Hopewell.

Keith’s proposed project for 6month working at Unit3 is entitled:

‘Bishopsfield Road – Garages 1 – 17’
A lifelong artist and recent graduate from Winchester School of Art, my practice is focused on the exploration of public space, to develop new understandings of how artwork functions in these environments.
By working with the residents in the Fareham area, by means of dialogue, my aim is to produce work, both in the studio and the public sphere, to create new ways of seeing and experiencing the environment, to explore how different modes of working function in the wider community, and indeed how the community respond.
I will install temporal works, which feedback into the community and allow residents to view their surroundings through a new lens. Meeting opportunities at Unit3, will enable the residents to discuss the installation, allowing them to feedback their relationship to the work, how it made them feel, and how they would approach it themselves. Outreach work, a fortnightly meeting session, and ongoing dialogue, will ensure communal participation. My role at Unit 3 will involve engaging with local residents via various means, by facilitating projects as a response to the collected data arising from the dialogue with residents. By encouraging this type of engagement in an open and non-contrived manner, we are removing boundaries, that previously may have inhibited them to other forms of interaction outside their existing social circle. Art can be used as an effective means of change, especially in areas where people often live alone, and are increasingly isolated, or suffering from depression. The idea is, to create new contexts within an everyday environment, by means of ‘happenings’ and ‘events’ as a direct response to the residents own ideas and interactions. Once the projects are underway, I can further initiative by talking to local institutions such as Fareham College, to present the work we are doing in the community, and to invite more participation and opportunities for art students to gain experience of putting art studio ideas into a wider context. The first project I am proposing, is focused on the abundance of garages around the estate, and is entitled
‘Bishopsfield Road – Garages 1 – 17’. My idea is to use the garages in service area 11, as either a framework or space, to convey new meanings, using type, text, and numeric systems to create new language structures, by incorporating the existing numeric systems already in the estate planning. The project will be undertaken using only lo-fi and temporal materials, and link intrinsically with key residents living at specific house numbers. Final artworks will be presented at the ‘Activate’ exhibition with an open invitation to local residents and beyond.

keith-intro

Keith’s work covers an astonishing range of themes, spanning nearly thirty years, challenging our perception and approach to fine art mediums. His multi-disciplinary practice is focused on utilising space and understanding how work functions within the environment we exist in.
Graduating from Winchester School of Art in 2015, Keith has been turning his attention to running creative workshops with Young people and the broader community.

see more of Keith’s work here Part2ism

Introducing Resident Artist Suzanne Carr.

Suzanne’s proposed project for 6month working at Unit3 is entitled:

‘Strength in Community amid Fragile Conditions’
In current times, less affluent communities often have an overwhelming sense of being left behind and forgotten about. This feeling simultaneously has the potential to divide and unite. ‘Strength in Community amid Fragile Conditions’ aims to highlight and nurture the latter, creating and developing a dialogue between residents and equipping people with skills to communicate their feelings through positive creative outlets. Through ‘re-appropriation’, the project aims to enable participants to address and question their daily issues and turn them into positive creative form. The 3-month project will establish relationships with the local community of Fareham through face-to- face meeting, social media and studio workshops and collaboratively produce a variety of multi-disciplinary art works. The ‘Activate’ exhibition will display the participants work and members of the community will be invited to celebrate not only the work, but themselves also. The underlying context of this project is to explore the idea of individual and community power and how its resilience and ability is defined through current economic and social difficulties. Through re-appropriation, individuals can highlight their struggles and articulate their feelings in a constructive way. Through creative processes participants will explore their identities and roles within the community and how the current climate impacts on this. The wider community will then be given an opportunity to respond via various mediums; photography, installation, audio recordings et al, leading to a developed sense of self, improving well-being and empowerment whilst promoting local cohesion and instilling the sense of working together achieving greatness. In order to nurture their ideas, participants will be exposed to a variety of artists, projects and presentations whilst being mentored by myself, a practising artist and
resident of the Unit3 Studio. They will have creative freedom to develop their own ideas whilst being supported, and working together to channel concepts and make their voice heard.

suzy-intro

Following a career in Administration, Suzanne, a single mum, returned to college a ‘mature student’, to develop her hobby of documentary photography, with a view to move into a professional career in television.
Graduating from a BA in Fine Art at Winchester School of Art in 2014 – she has since been selected for an internship in Documentary film making at the BBC, supporting research for a range of productions including Louis Theroux.

see more of Suzanne’s work on her Blog