Friday, 31 December 2010

#7 'WHAT JUST HAPPENED?' Explaining Myself to 10 Year Olds

-26th Nov 2010, 2pm, Chaddlewood Primary School, Plymouth

(All photos by Michelle Moss at Plymouth Arts Centre)

I wanted to attempt my 'What Just Happened?' talk (where I display the titles of all the 50+ artworks I've made over the last ten years and ask audience to pick which ones I talk about - a format designed specifically for this residency and retrospective exhibition) to a group of under tens, testing both my back-catalogue and the format of the talk.

Caroline Mawdsley, the PAC education officer organised a visit to Chaddlewood Primary School to talk to two groups of thirty Year 6 pupils. I arranged my titles in the corner of their sports hall, introduced myself and the rules of the game then asked who wanted to pick first. I had no idea how exciting they would find this...

The first group chose:
1: Top Secret UK Airbase From Memory (2004 -)
2: Hello Sebastian Did You Say A4? (2008)
3: Infinity Camera and Photograph of Infinity (2000)
4: Painted Nature (2006)
5: The Ongoing Song … (2008 - )
6: The Least Most (The Most Least?) (2009)
7: Escape From Your Estrange Wife And Family And Start Living In The Mountains (2005)

Then the second group chose:
1: Wall Painting (2004)
2: 0.001% (2009)
3: Brackets (2008)
4: Hello Sebastian Did You Say A4? (2008)
5: Top Secret UK Airbase From Memory (2004 - )
6: The Ongoing Song … (2008 - )
7: Business Card (2010)

As you can see, there were some duplication in their choices, and not necessarily titles I would have imagined they would be drawn too. It was also interesting to be regaling them with stories of petty theft, tattooing, graffiting nature etc. whilst their teacher looked on. I found myself unapologetically justifying them as tests on my own conscience, that I wasn't suggesting they try this behaviour themselves but that they should have the confidence to follow their ideas through and understand the responsibilities of their own decisions. Also that any of these activities can be legitimately thought of as artwork.

Not wanting to edit out any of my back-catalogue I was surprised how projects or approaches I might have though contentious or convoluted were accepted. Not only was it fascinating to see how the two groups reacted to the various ideas I have attempted, but also their keen interest, animated enjoyment and understanding, many of them keen to come up and chat afterwards.

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