,I've been dancing around the concept of new work for years now. The last time I created a resolved body of work was 2015. I have spent the last 5 years living creatively; creating products in the maker space, facilitating projects that lift up our regional artists and helping others discover the value of creative industries through workshops. But me as an artist...definitely struggling with an internal imposter syndrome dialogue.
How was it that I was able to talk others through their 'writers block' but here I was hiding in the shadows thinking maybe I am not actually an artist. I mean how could I be an artist if I am not making work for my practice.
As much as I hated playing out the stereotype of tortured artist in my mind, and no matter how many of my peers told me it's normal just stop putting pressure on yourself, I couldn't.
So it turns out what I needed was a global crisis. I needed the whole world to stop so that I could stop. It turns out that I had far too many balls in the air. Hindsight, am I right.
I started with watercolour, making shapes and structures followed by my obsession with pattern making. My orbs as I call them capture those inifite memories in our lives that we just cannot remember. Everyone has it, try now recall everything that happened yesterday in vivid rich moments that they were. Can you? You obviously did things but could you recall the whole day minute to minute? How is it that we go through so much of our lives and yet remember so little? Who chooses which moments to compartmentalise and which ones to keep forever?
My autonomic system no longer works properly and so it has really made me reflect on things that previously I have not spared a thought for. So many vital moments, memories functions all just happening automatically and we know they are happening in complex details and moments but yet we have little to no control over the process. Each orb feels like I am drawing a moment from by subconscious and capturing it in a physical space.
Orbs is an ongoing series.
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.