Flight, the exhibition I’m involved with at Church View, launches tomorrow (20/6/13) at 5:00pm. I’ve had a sneak preview at David Jacques‘ pieces and I can highly recommend a visit. I’ve only been told about Heidi Dent‘s works, but from what I’ve heard I’m really looking forward to seeing them too. With live music from Dan Welsh it should prove to be a great preview event.
As for my own more humble contributions, I’m hoping to focus more on the creative process itself rather than the end product…
A highly developed cerebral cortex combined with opposable thumbs makes us the creatures who evolved to become creators. We are problem solving, pattern recognising, music making, mega-building apes with a passion for expression, and yet we live in a society which, for the most part, seems to treasure consumption more highly than creativity. ‘Professional creatives’ in all fields are treated as a gifted elite, and I have every respect for them, but I have yet to meet a child which wasn’t innately creative in some way or other. As the famous Picasso quote goes: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
We seem to inhabit a world which fears true creative freedom. Much lip-service is offered to freedom of the press and freedom of speech, but the vast majority of us are actively discouraged from freely expressing our emotions through the arts. We are all familiar with the Billy Elliot syndrome which is still an obstacle for many working class people, but the flip-side to this is the process which Stefan Szczelkun describes perfectly in his 1993 book, ‘The Conspiracy of Good Taste‘.
Time and again Doncaster is described as a ‘cultural desert’ and we are told that Doncaster people do not engage with the arts. This is, of course, nonsense; no community of people anywhere or anywhen has ever existed without some form of culture!
The real problem is one of access and communication rather than a lack of indigenous culture. Despite John Prescott’s ludicrous claims that we are “all middle class now”, we still live in one of the most unequal and class divided societies on the planet, so it would be foolish to think that our everyday (and by association artistic…) experiences are universal. Those who fail to see creativity in Doncaster do so because they fail to understand (or in many cases blatantly ignore) the – verbal, visual and emotional… – vernacular of the region. In other words the only ‘art’ the experts recognise is their art, not ours.
This is, of course, a two way process. We Doncastrians can be wilfully insular when our guard is up (we are all too used to people parachuting in to tell how to live before parachuting straight back out again once they’ve cashed the cheques). Either way the end result is the same, a continuous breakdown of communication and the continual reinforcement of blind (dare I say snobbish…) hierarchy.
But, as it says in my programme biog below, I have every faith in the democratising nature of digital and communications technologies…
Warren Draper is a self-taught writer, photographer & designer whose current work examines the democratising effect digital technology has on photography and the arts in general. Using a combination of donated ‘end-of-use’ computers, a (borrowed) compact camera and readily available Free Open Source Software (FOSS) applications, Warren explores techniques which have the potential to allow financially and/or socially excluded members of our society to express themselves creatively using photography and other digital media; even if they do not have access to the latest equipment and/or software.
Warren believes that a creative outlet (in whatever form) is essential to the human condition, and that any obstacle to free expression – which can range from outright cultural censorship, to endemic trends towards elitism, to socioeconomic exclusion – should be viewed as an affront. And that true progress can be achieved by encouraging the creation of new artists and new art-forms as we as new art-works.
As such I will be including a brief introduction to arts related FOSS applications as part of the exhibition. We’ll have a PC set up where you can play around with GIMP and Inkscape; the programmes used to create the art-works I’m putting on show… gulp!
Hope to see you there 🙂