Hayley Locke workshop – A little bit of magic
Several months ago now, I was fortunate to be able to join a virtual workshop over two Saturdays with OCA tutor Hayley Locke. The aim was to keep up creativity during lockdown through play and collaboration and we were told that we would not know where we were going to produce at the end. Hayley showed us a variety of works from across the centuries ranging from Hieronymus Bosch ‘s Garden of Earthly Delights to Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz and Petros Chrisostomou’s massively oversized objects inside rooms with the aim of getting us to think outside our normal visual spaces, and then we were all sent off to make something three dimensional with the general theme of ‘How are you feeling?’ After a couple of hours we came back and posted what we had done onto the workshop padlet, which can be seen here: https://oca.padlet.org/helen416376/skhdk8dpeen4n13f
My own piece was a miniature tableau set up on my desk, and it refers to the sense of ‘us and them’ inherent in the whole COVID situation – we all know that people are suffering and dying, but at the same time life has to carry on. For me, the thing that I miss most is being able to travel, both for pleasure but also to see my children, who are spread across the globe.
We were then asked to look at other people’s offerings and select elements that could be combined with our own work to create a new story, and we came back three weeks later to review what had been created and how we felt about the experience. In the second session, many fascinating works were discussed and Hayley talked about the advantages of cross contamination of ideas, and especially how the edges of works/liminal spaces have so much possibility. (This ties in beautifully with my own long-term exploration of the edges of things, more of which can be seen here.)
We also discussed how sound can affect a presentation and that it should be used sparingly and with purpose, how people play different roles in collaborations and how the curation of one’s work by someone else is a massively important and complex part of the artistic process. Bringing someone else in to think about your work is both alarming (in terms of worrying about whether they understand what you are doing) but also illuminating. Collaboration is about negotiation over agency and testing your boundaries. This relationship between the artist and curator is something that has turned up again since this workshop and I will address it further in future posts.
My own idea for the collaborative aspect of the workshop was to produce a mini exhibition to include snippets of everyone’s work in a democratic way, with the aim of encouraging the viewer to compare pairs of images and to consider how they work together. At the time of the second session I had only managed to put together a draft proof of concept for discussion but it seemed to go down quite well and the idea of a collaboration that included everyone was viewed positively.
Since then, I have completed the piece and some images are shown below. It was created as a clamshell box covered in connected dots, but with no clues as to what is contained on the outside. On opening, viewers are offered a pocket on the left with some details of the collaboration in the sort of typescript that is commonly used for posh invitations. On the right a tiny portfolio 3 x 4″ can be removed to stand alone. Inside the portfolio are two transparent windows and two folders filled with the collaborators’ images. The images are all identically presented as circles in a white square and the idea is that the viewer should pick images from the series at random and consider them side by side, as in a miniature gallery.
I was keen to remove the agency from the artists almost completely and to put it into the hands of the curator and the viewer. Not only have I chosen which elements of each person’s initial offering should be included, but the viewer chooses which images to consider. I would be interested to see how it would work in a real situation and which images were chosen/which are the most popular ones.
The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych – The Collection (s.d.) At: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-garden-of-earthly-delights-triptych/02388242-6d6a-4e9e-a992-e1311eab3609 (Accessed 08/11/2020).
Petros Chrisostomou Studio (s.d.) Selected Works. At: http://www.petrosc.com/selected-works-3/ (Accessed 08/11/2020).
Richard Billingham on Ray & Liz: ‘I lived through the Thatcher era, and it was horrible if you were poor’ (2019) At: https://www2.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/interviews/richard-billingham-ray-liz (Accessed 08/11/2020).
Rosemier, H. (2020) A Little Magic with Hayley Lock. At: https://oca.padlet.org/helen416376/skhdk8dpeen4n13f (Accessed 08/11/2020).
Woodward, H. (2019) Woodward, H. (2019) ‘My submission for the OCA Edge-zine, summer 2019’. At: https://hollyocadic.wordpress.com/2019/09/28/my-submission-for-the-oca-edge-zine-summer-2019/