we need more and different flags

Claire Barcley with one of her 40 flags in Abbeyview - March 13th 2008

Hello Nicola

Good to meet you last night at the art evening. It was very sparky, thoroughly entertaining and stimulating!

I will be in touch next week to arrange to meet and show you the print workshop. I will know my plans better and can find out what might suit you. congratulations again for a remarkable evening in Abbeyview!

Cheers Steve Ratomski

Stage one: Collecting notes in Abbeyview

Now a month into the project, I have finished collecting notes from people in Abbeyview and am busy with the second stage of the project - drawing portraits and editing the sound ready to make into a musical composition. With the valuable assistance of local resident Lynette Sneddon, we have collected musical notes from 130 different people by asking them to contribute a single note. We organised visits to the primary schools, the Beanstalk Nursery and the community centre, engaged people in their homes and met others on the streets at the local shops, bowling club and library:
it has been a busy month.

When we began the project, I was unsure how people might respond to being asked for a single sung note: even though it is something we can all do, it is not an everyday request. Singing is a very personal thing, a form of self-expression. It is difficult to sing on the spot or perform in front of others, especially when you are asked to sing just one note. However, people have been very open to the project and more often than not are willing to participate. Lynette suggested that people’s notes are either “shy” or “diva” and certainly the recordings we have gathered reflect this.

One aspect that may be hidden or forgotten in making this kind of work is the moment of personal connection that is often made with individuals. On one level, the very act of singing and sharing of something personal implies a connection with the listener, but similarly a shared emotional response to the situation, for example moments of shy awkwardness turning to fun jokes and laughter, clearly suggests some kind of connection. There have also been moments, however, where connections have been made that are more personal, where time has paused a while to share a story or listen to a song. These are the moments in particular that I have enjoyed the most and have made this project special to me. (Hanna Tuulikki, Artist)

This project has connected with the residents in a very intimate way. I caught up with Hanna and Lynette a few week's ago while in the process of catching the notes of Abbeyview and it was clear that the activity of recording them has touched them both. The essence of a public artwork like this is to connect with the residents on many levels, engaging with a wide cross section and exposing them to art practices that may fracture preconceptions of art and artists. Lynette's involvement in the process of making an artwork was seemed exhilarating for her. She loved the job of meeting people she had never spoken to before, in the place she had lived in for years, and folk saying hello as a result of her being part of the Note Catcher. And of course she now knows Hanna, whom she says she will never forget, such has been the impact of her experience.

Thursday 31st January 2008
Today the fun really started. We decided to go to the local shops and start collecting notes. It snowed... Great we thought but went for it anyway. We set ourselves a target of 8 notes. At the Tryst Centre, we collected 11 notes alone. And a young lad named Brian sang us a song he had written himself!! We then, through blizzard like conditions, went into the local bookies. 3 brave souls sang notes for us. We managed to get another note from Keri in the library and of course Hanna and myself made out contribution too.
So we were off to a great start. Lets hope it continues.
(Extract from Lynette's Diary)

They had many stories to tell of the shyness, the confidence, the rawness and the openness of the characters that they met. This is the magic of making art involving a large group of people from a specific area, the pickings are rich and untapped if you care to go looking for them. Connections with the note-givers have stood out for different reasons, Hanna and Lynette recounted a story from one of the schools where a young girl was keen and confident about singing her note but froze at the crucial point of delivery. Crushed and embarrassed, Hanna led her to a secluded area and she managed the whole song. The pride in overcoming that hurdle will stay with that girl forever and is a special thing to give to an individual. Another was with a man with whom the chance of finding a practising artist on his doorstep moved him to share his very personal creativity with them. He has created his own intimate gallery space for his own pleasure and now has become part of Hanna’s project, connecting his art to the community in which has lived in for many, many years.

Wednesday 6th February 2008
Today is totally devoted to one man. The amazing Bob Clarke. This wonderful, 83 year old man, let Hanna and myself invade his private domain for the best morning so far. Once he had heard that Hanna was not only a musician but an artist, he took us in and showed us his work. He is a very modest man, lives alone with his ex-wife just upstairs and loves to paint. His paintings are the most fantastic I have ever seen for someone so humble about them. Seascapes and landscapes adorn his whole home, all painted by himself. Considering these where painted from photographs that he had taken while on holiday, the realness of them are a joy to behold. Hanna and I both left his home an hour later not only with a Note from him but tears in our eyes for the passion this man inspired in us. We love you Bob. Thank you xXx
(Extract from Lynette’s Diary)

Projects such as this one reach an audience who may be shy or indifferent about entering a gallery to 'appreciate art' and it makes people aware that art can, and does, exist in forms other than in a gallery situation. The exposure and impact of Nicola’s work in Abbeyview is hard to measure, since it exists in memories, experiences and the occasional shift in attitude of the residents there. In terms of opening up a dialogue about public art, however, she has made her mark and laid the foundations for a continuing relationship between Abbeyview and art. (The Lamb)

No comments: