Let's talk about LIT
With over 1000 people through the space, almost a year worth of planning, 500 repurposed jars, over 1000m of washi tape and one really weird shopping experience with a UV torch I am reminded of the importance to debrief and write this all down for the legacy of these projects. At the end of the day the documentation is just important as the happening itself, and it is often overlooked. Why? Because usually all the movers and shakers are pretty tired by the end of it. It's usually a small team of people making big things happen.
If there is one thing I truly appreciate and have learnt from our fierce LIT Leader Ben Tupas it is the importance of legacy documentation.
So what was LIT for me, the artist. Sometimes I struggle to take off the project manager hat and jump into the position of the artist.
I really wanted to create an accessible space that still challenged participants. A space that encouraged engagement, interaction and immersion. The artwork wasn't just the sculpture but the way that strangers came together to be part of it. Some observed, others jumped in headfirst, some even came back for a second night because now they knew what it was about.
Adults & kids came together, at night to the CBD to just enjoy a night of lights, art, performace, music and everything that came with it.
My brief was this ; imagine Toowoomba 100 years from now. Because I don't need to unhash my reasoning again here is my artist statement which does that for you.
The concept of time fascinates me. No matter how you dissect it there is always another layer of interest. When presented with the question ‘What will Toowoomba look like in 100 years?’ I instantly drew on my own knowledge, history, desires and dreams.
It led me to think about what people thought of themselves 100 years ago into the past - and the individual role we all play to connect the dots when creating our futures.
The parallels of time - someone’s own history - is their present projecting their future: now my present. The conundrum fascinated and taunted me! It also allowed me to stop and think about how right now in this moment we as a community often reminisce of years gone by, the greater human connection through physical gatherings, play and events.
When compared to the current digital era, we are instantly connected to the world in the palm of our hand. Yet, technology has left us feeling disconnected.
This installation is layered between the existing physical connection, community, through play, through art, through events juxtaposed with digital connection and play.
Bringing together our reminiscent dreams of physical and digital connection.
It is impossible to acknowledge the impact of COVID19 which happened immediately on the back of this event. A definite bittersweet moment of it all. The no gatherings over 500 people mandate was in effect the Monday immediately after the LIT opening weekend.
It was almost surreal, as if for me the event shielded what was happening around me. I was running on a high from buzz community gathering offers, then wacked with an immediate shock and confusion of what comes now.
Just like any other time when it came to listing the essential industries to salvage the creative one was first on the chopping block. Although a huge blow to the industry the quick dismissal was a familiar feeling. It was later brought to my attention by many of my other friends that the defining on what is an essential business really played on their independant value. Again something I had not considered as it has become such a common space. Even though this was in no way common, and the overall impact is still yet to be felt.
Two months later and my cup is no longer filled from my LIT experience and I find myself yearning for community spaces once more. Live music, things to do, things to see, things to experience. It could be a year post restriction lifting for larger events to recover from this. As I said at the beginning the planning took almost a year, and no one I know that works in that space really knows what/when or how to plan, or even if it is resources and time well spent at this point.
There has been a big shift to online experiences, and although they have the potential to reach a far wider audience and they definitely fill that void we are all currently experience. I know for myself they are definitely an added extra something more to do, but not a replacement.
I have no closing thoughts, my head goes round and round when I think about the possibilities of the future, and for the most part I think that is because there is no end date to this whole thing.
Observations as an artist