This is the full, unedited transcript (some errors remain) of the Fish N Crits conversation in the Anchovy edition of The Critical Fish. In this discussion, participants discuss Kamila Zenata’s ‘Book of Changes’ exhibition at Beverley Art Gallery, UK.
Many thanks to the volunteer who transcribed the hour long conversation!
Dom: So is that, is that recording now?
Dom: OK, Splendid well yea just err thanks…. to Jill as well for organising this. Think its err… Really nice opportunity to… One of the things obviously that fish really wants to do is address that lack of spaces for critical dialogue in the arts especially in hull and the surrounding areas so its a great been able to come here and do this today. I don’t know if it might be worth.. I know a lot of us kind of might know each other vaguely but it might be worth seeing as we’re a small informal group we might as well just go around introduce ourselves. Shall we? So can we start with you Patrick?
Patrick: Yea sure I’m Patrick Leonard, I worked at Hull college with Jill for about three years as a scholarship development manager there for HU I’m currently just finished at …(unintelligible)… colleges as assisting principle there and… looking for new jobs… if anyone’s got any jobs?
Jenny: Hiya, I’m Jenny I… Graduated from Hull school of art and design, Fine art in 2017. Since then my dad has so kindly built a bit of an art shed in the garden so I’m not so if working part time I’m drawing.
Becky: I am Becky and i graduated last year from Hull school of art and design and at the moment i am doing bits and pieces as and when i can so… print and sculpture.
Jill: And… I’m Jill and I edit Fish with Lauren.
Jamie: Err… I’m Jamie i worked for the Middlechild theatre company, I am they’re communications manager.
Adam: I’m… Adam er… graduated 2011 at same as the other guys. Fine art degree, drawing based abstract based drawing usually kind of illustration. Not trained in nowt else I was a member of Red gallery for about eight years sometimes still work as a gallery technician err… when i can get it.
Dom: Cheers Adam, I’m Dom an artist based in Hull. Err.. So has anyone had a sneaky look at the… Er mm.. the text that goes with this?
Jenny: Yea i did.
Dom: OK Jenny has had a sneaky look anyone else?
Patrick: I deliberately didn’t.
Dom: Brilliant good, OK. So i think it might be a nice idea to just start with the title of the show, So who knows the title of the show or noticed what the show is called?
Jamie: I Ching
Dom: The I Ching… Yea or Book of changes yea so they’re the same thing aren’t they, book of changes is like the I Ching is like the English title… Ermm so – thinking about that are there any – and what you’ve seen what you’ve looked at – are there any connections you’ve established? Do you feel like that title is important with regards to what you’ve been looking at?
Patrick: I think as a non-artist myself and looking at this what immediately comes to mind is its like mindfulness in some ways like what you do when you look out of a window and you think about your things y’know like you could spend all day looking at these things to be honest with you cos its not actually looking at it, its kind’ve calming in some ways I’m sure you’ve noticed there looking at some of these the music kind of supports that ermm… its a bit hypnotic or something in some ways i think.. So i don’t know whether that what changes so much is kind of… just centring just making you feel calm.
Dom: Centering yea i think that’s a great term of.. yea from what i know about the artists intentions there’s two things that really preoccupy her which we will get onto a bit later but i think you’d be bang on there. So just your initial responses to this pretty immersive environment i mean… what? has anyone sort of written their see, think, feel analysis? Broken things down or what sort of notes should you give?
Becky: No done nothing, nothing at all. Similar to you actually erm.. that there were elements relating to staying calm so bits of t’ai chi in there and the water and air and ect (*loud noise*)that noise and i don’t know if that is a way to sort of get you back out of it again if you have calmed yourself and you’ve watched it all then suddenly that goes off and distracts you and you go back to the place where you need to be calmed again so, or you just continue viewing it yea (*loud noise*) that’s loud. I did find that, i mentioned to Jill walking around if i looked at one image to the left and.. if there was an image to the right in my peripheral vision it distracted me because it was flashing and it unbalances you in some ways so you have to really concentrate at what your looking at because you can get easily distracted by the other images that are surrounding that so you need to sort of focus on one which is difficult because its alot of images in one space.
Dom: Yea so do you think that’s erm.. something that if it was a bigger space do you think that it would benefit from been projected…(illegible)… (*loud noise*)
Becky: Yea i would think without the sound as well, because i don’t know if the sound is related to all of them or just one of them cant work out which film… (multiple voices, (unintelligible))… but i suppose if they are further apart you would get that definition of the sound and the image and you’d know which goes with what but I’m guessing maybe that’s the whole point it doesn’t go with it. (*loud noise*)
Jenny: It would be interesting if the sound could come from different places whether you would automatically follow sound before light because it travels faster doesn’t it have i got that right? (group laughter)
Becky: No its slower
Jenny: Light is faster so yea it would be interesting to see which one you would go to.
Dom: Ahh so yea… so did anybody notice erm from like the very beginning the first thing that you see is the projection in the bay window area there? its kind of like the first impression of the exhibition isn’t it? you see it as you are approaching. Ermm.. what do we think about the actual spaces and placings of the screens?
Adam: I like the ones that are clearly deliberately creatively done maybe that’s… I’ve stood up ladders with Quinny and held things in place while we keystoned them so one in the bay window i think yea great they’ve creatively solved that problem and the one over there where its an odd shape …(unintelligible)… i really like that but then the other ones don’t feel like they haven’t been keystoned right is that deliberately not square or is it just me? Like, it shouldn’t look like that to me, I’m finding that distracting i don’t know if that’s me been pedantic… someone that’s worked thousands of hours at a gallery hanging shows maybe nobody else would notice that …(unintelligible)… but these two don’t seem square to me but it doesn’t seem enough – that’s clearly, that’s clearly intentional part of the work i like about that, i mean like …(unintelligible)… but its keyed for that …(unintelligible)… and not that …(unintelligible)… but i find it distracting yea.
Patrick: I actually like just standing in the middle there and looking around and not necessarily focusing on one in particular but just kind of taking it in and looking and i thought that i like that setup just stand in the middle and take it in.
Jamie: Yea i thought the big thing i took from it ermm was different types of energy like light, chemical energy, physical energy and like… I’m really into music as well kept finding rhythms and things and i think there’s alot of interaction between the things so having so having them so close together i felt like they were interacting together as well, so yea like you say your looking at one and you get drawn into another.
Patrick: Yea it didn’t affect me in the kind of bad way but it felt like they were all kind of complimentary really .
Dom: I think that is really encouraging that y’know you’ve all sort of picked up on that sense of interconnected-ness because, so, did anyone know anything about the I Ching? its kind of an ancient Chinese divination text erm which uses a form of divination called claramancy which basically er.. a system that should be random… like throwing a dice really or runes when you throw those or anything i think like alot of African cultures use clones of dead animals, or like reading tea leaves is an act of claramancy and it used er.. hexagrams I’ve got an example of one here – hexagrams er.. has anyone seen those before? so mixtures or different configurations of 6 or 7 lines which er.. mean something so i think this one is supposed to represent infiltration or progress i think there’s about 60 different hexagrams.
Jamie: So its like sticks? like people lay sticks out and..
Dom: yea there are forms of claramancy that do use that – not sure if its specifically the I Ching that use that, all of the configurations of the hexagrams are in the book in the consultable book after before …(unintelligible)…
Jamie: So its like making sense out of randomness, interesting particularly up here i noticed how like wrote about following paths and laws like the fireworks…(unintelligible)… that they follow predetermined paths like it looks random but I’m not sure it is but its alot of physics that they do what they do.
Patrick: I think that your right because its not necessarily random this is it really because you know what to expect when you see water coming in or fireworks going up, there’s nothing surprising in some ways really you get what your expecting …(unintelligible)… random movement but its all set up.
(murders of agreement)
Patrick: Its like hypnotic in some ways because you know what’s coming.
Jamie: that bit reminds me of like that in a Petri dish like when the cell multiply.
Becky: …(unintelligible)… water and just change the filter it made it look like it was in a Petri dish as opposed to been water on top of rocks so there’s a scientific element clashing with the chance element i suppose?
Adam: Kind of abstract as well with the close ups are abstract filtered or layered over …(unintelligible)… contact with the moon? or microscopic zoom in on things …(unintelligible)… sometimes you can see its water but then it becomes totally abstract (*loud noise*)
Jamie: That made me ask the significance of the ram i don’t know much about t’ai chi but i think its quite a spiritual thing i may be wrong in that but..
Jenny: I took part in some t’ai chi earlier last year and its just all to do with the energy and (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… you’ve got to get your breathing with the movement and surroundings its been real connected i found quite – it interesting because you could see them pushing movement and push you around the room with him.
Patrick: I did wonder about that it did seem a bit literal that you had that because with everything else you could make you own mind up about it where as watching this person do t’ai chi is a bit structured in some ways (*loud noise*) because you know what he is doing, but I suppose you could see the link between t’ai chi and this is a link with the …(unintelligible)… and the moon to make some kind of randomness. (*loud noise*)
Jenny: Sort of brings the human back into it doesn’t it.
Dom: I think that’s exactly the intention of the artist is to bring things back to the master as a t’ai chi master (*loud noise*) and t’ai chi is sort of meditation in movement so it kind of pulls all of the elements back into human experience in something where you know your with elements like he’s practising his t’ai chi in the middle of the field there.
Patrick: I just wondered if that was too literal did you actually need to kick yourself in the head with the senses where it sort of er..
Dom: So what else about the films, the kind of aesthetic level what do you think about the colour and the different configurations? would it- i mean would it help if i told you a little bit more about the artist? So based in Czechoslovakia, in Prague, and erm two major interests, change in natural structures and also the idea of shared memory is quite important to her as well. This particular piece of work before it came here was presented at a space near Berlin called Posek Contemporary which is like a barge… a long barge… so the installation for that was a bit different just a rectangular space, erm so it looks completely different in this guise but the artist isn’t just a film-maker. She’s practised many years now i think she’s in her 60s… i mean until i found out she’s also a painter, a therapist and has also worked in other media as well.
Jenny: When you say about memory – just going back to the t’ai chi – it refines that… you wouldn’t think you would remember the routines but as soon as you’re doing them the muscle memory kicks in so maybe that’s why he’s brought into it.
Dom: Yea to bring in that element of different kinds of memory yea.
Patrick: Did you say shared memory?
Dom: Shared memory, yeah…
Patrick: I mean we can all probably think of a time we’ve all looked at a sunrise or a sunset… a fire… like watched a fire… So i think all of us can probably think of times that we’ve looked at these things the things we thought about… maybe have some relationship to it.
Dom: Mm absolutely, what we were talking about.
Patrick:… So i think it probably does bring people together everyone has got some memories of sitting there watching the sea coming in.
Becky: Well the first thing I wrote was ‘memories of holidays’ …(unintelligible)… Can go through my phone and find pictures that look very similar to this (laughter) of the sea and water and films of the tide coming in and watching the… journey fish, or something… that we took so they are all there. So i think anybody who comes to view it will have an element of something like that or they’ll have a memory of it or a physical photograph of an element within this.
Patrick: Its kind of one those things you do by yourself not when your doing stuff with other people its when your sat there by yourself watching the sea come in or.. watching the sunset, things like that
Jenny: Strange now that we have to capture it we have it in our memory but we feel the need to capture it again to keep it then she is revealing it back to us on these screens.
Jamie: They’re quite universal things as well like the sun and the water and the t’ai chi is quite particular to China? And i kept wondering on these images i kept wondering which lens are you viewing this… Asian man through? i wasn’t quite sure what the artist was trying to say with that? Wondered if it was it some exotic location? Like a particular culture or…? where as with all this other stuff its quite universal isn’t it?
Patrick: Yeah… That’s a good point actually
Dom: Yea there can be that sense of eastern methods eastern ways.. …(unintelligible)… and is specifically a western problem that we don’t connect with these universal… eastern meditative methods? that allow people to do?
Patrick: Did you feel blocked out by that then that its not about me then, that its not something westerners do? Like T’ai Chi in the middle of a field, kind of thing.
Jamie: No, erm –
Patrick: Would you feel better if it was a Western thing?
Jamie: No no… i just think the trope around eastern culture about mindfulness and well-being, which I think can be quite problematic and i wondered if it was encroaching into that territory with this, and that’s the question i asked. Dunno what my answer is… yeah, i was just aware it was a western artist depicting an eastern person.
Dom: Well i mean one of the texts that corresponds with the show err… says the main purpose for the exhibition is to highlight the necessity of strength and collection between human kind and nature so its kind of definitely along those lines isn’t it of reconfiguring and reconnecting which is one of the tropes of life almost, isn’t it?
Jill: You’ve got something like Jenny’s comments, whose done T’ai Chi (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… describing a bit about the practice and memory and presumably repetitive prescribed routines and things like that
Jenny: Yea and also all the moves in (*loud noise*) t’ai chi are named after animals like “the dragon” “the crane” i don’t know if that’s bringing the animals in as well. (murmurs of agreement)
Patrick: So is that something you do together then do you do all the moves together?
Jenny: Yea and when its choreographed you feel part of something it sounds er… but you do feel like your moving the energy a specific way around the room yea.
Jamie: It does feel like a control kind of thing in a negative sense (*loud noise*, unintelligible)
Patrick: I thought it was random but its not random at all if its choreographed
Jenny: (*loud noise*, unintelligible) …takes years and years of practice…its not pushing yourself its really slow and steady and perfecting… its a very hard craft though it looks really relaxed …i guess that brings the weather element in as well… (*loud noise*, unintelligible)
Jill: i wondered a (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… wondered how the people here who are artists how this connected or didn’t connect with their practice as artists or form or whatever, whether as you went round you made those connections with your own work or art?
Adam: (unintelligible)… i can appreciate making this video work… (unintelligible)… it was worth doing it was still about drawing rather then making.
Dom: When i think about your work i think about intricate patterns as well so i could see ways in ermm… you’d connect with it on that basis – especially with fireworks.
Adam: (unintelligible)…Talking about curation again the bay window one, the one that goes around the corner did you see the show then how it was set up?
Dom: I’ve seen images of it and the screens where still irregular but i don’t think they were wrong but that was projected into the wall.
Adam: (inaudible speech)… Is that just a side effect of a bigger sort of space?
Dom: Yea i think so yea (multiple voices)… They have definitely been projected in an irregular manner previously
Adam: I think again the interesting one.. (*loud noise*, inaudible speech)
Jill: She’s got the alphabet not along the wall but it goes into the corner and along the other side its almost as if the alphabet could fold in on itself have you seen that?
Adam: I suppose there’s something interesting in the intricacy in the pattern but the camera work… because.. although there’s effort in that getting it recorded and getting the layers in the person didn’t physically.. i mean the interesting outcome is the attempt to render, an attempt to record an experience… and a failure in that.. even now i cant get out what I’m trying to say its never what i mean exactly what i mean… but in that failure, something new has happened its that third element. i cant render what i see (unintelligible)… to just print them out it would be just boring and this direct video work records it… it doesn’t put me off but this doesn’t make me want to draw…
Jamie: Yea talking about theatre as well, and within the type of theatre we make, its a bit cliche but every show is different, but especially with ours we give the cast freedom to wander off the script and acknowledge the audience and react to the room whereas this will always be the same so its completely different to the work that we do.
Jill?: So yours is responding in the moment to that situation.
Jamie: Yeah… (unintelligible)…
(*loud noise*, multiple unintelligible voices)
Adam: … when you come in you see yourself looking through 2 minutes ago. And then when the next person comes in and you’re on video but they’re not… (unintelligible)… but this is a set program isn’t it… But when you enter its a different moment, its a sequence that must repeat itself…
Dom: Yea we are talking about it been a set programme but i think the important thing is if we left the room now and came back in, probably the first things you’d notice would be different then the thing you noticed.
Adam: If you go to a video work in a gallery and its a 20 minute video piece – because they can be cant they? …in a theatre setting almost… you see people come in and leave after 2 minutes or they will come in after 15 minutes and watch 5 minutes (unintelligible, *loud noise*) … they start in the middle and watch the last half then watch a couple more not that that’s fully intended…
Jamie: As i say can you still take something from it if you miss it? we have a thing where we don’t necessarily mind late comers because we want our audience to fill in the other audience members – that’s what happened with the globe and Shakespeare people could leave and then come back and ask the person next to them ‘ Oh what have I missed?’… it would happen in text as well – Shakespeare would do the… “previously on”.. (*loud noise*, unintelligible)
Dom: It would be really interesting to try wouldn’t it (*loud noise*, unintelligible)
Jamie: Even our actors have done it, like someone would go to the toilet and when they come back they’d say “oh just so you know this happened”.
Jill: I can see what you mean about this is the same each moment but this is the second time I’ve been and I’m really hit by how different it was this time, I don’t know if the sequence of things is always different (*loud noise*, unintelligible) but it does feel very different been in the space and watching people move around it really like that, we used the word “choreographed” it was like watching people in some kind of dance.
Adam: Yea because video-work does require a much more potentially longer time with a viewer then a painting does, you see people go to shows and just walk around and leave but some people will go in and leave after three seconds, maybe not respond to it its like you say with a video piece you have to stay with it, i can stay with it longer than I would’ve done, where I’d come and just wander around on my own.
Patrick: But you see in some ways because they’ve got all these different screens you got the story haven’t you? that’s always fireworks… that’s fire… that ones water so you’ve kind of got the story because you have 7 or 8 different screens without actually having to be here half an hour because you can get it in about 5 minutes anyway
Adam: I think video-work can be patience testing because people aren’t going to sit through it. Some people will just walk away from stuff same way as i put on a show [with someone whose work] is figurative and people didn’t look at my work at all, they all responded to the stuff that they can get immediate stuff from…(unintelligible)
Dom: I think that raises an interesting issue culturally generally that we are more inclined to spend time with a moving image than a still one, so it’d be interesting to think did you walk away or watching these films or looking at them and is there a distinction between watching and looking?
Patrick: I think as i said before i think they are hypnotic so you could look at that without looking at it, your kind of drawn in in that way very engaging in that way and the way you start looking at it and your drawn into that thing and keep looking at it all the time and you are aware of that as well.
Adam: There’s a difference between been hypnotised by something, being mesmerised by something, and been narratively invested in it. There isn’t necessarily unless your spending time with it or unless you’ve been asked to stand with it there isn’t a clear narrative structure, a thread to it, i found i just wandered.
Jamie: I was about to say about attention span… these days we have short attention spans because of social media and that i guess thinking about it none of it i guess we don’t necessarily dwell on things too long.
(multiple unintelligible voices)
Jenny: I found myself drawn to a corner because of the irregular shape but when you stand really close up you start to move with the film and that gets really hypnotic so i definitely was more drawn to that one no matter what was on the screen so you do start seeing your not watching you feel it more because you feel a bit disorientated like virtual reality so I’m the opposite to you i rather be real up close to it and take it all in at once because its a bit much for the senses i want to focus in on one sense and get as much as i can from it and i can.
Dom: Its interesting that its the one in the corner that allows you to do that because we associate corners with little nooks and crannies that maybe that experience been projected into the corner allowed you to have that intimacy with the film/
Patrick: So is that more 3d then? more immersive?
Jenny: Definitely, yea it is its real immersive, when i came before i was on my own and its very different been in here when its just you. I would say i preferred it because it gives you a real silence time to take it all in and then you can really feel all the mindfulness stuff its really relaxing in the sense that there is so much taking over your senses that you don’t have to listen to your thoughts for a minute, but when there is other people in the room then your back around here and the person i need to act like this..
Adam: (unintelligible)… Y know and Jill knows that that’s the joy of the job that its different
Jill: I really value that job actually like actually writing about art or talking about art just because like what we were talking about earlier that it makes you stay with it a bit longer and that’s almost always rewarding I’ve got to sit with it about an hour or two hours and i always get more staying with it for 2 or 3 hours then if i got 5 minutes because i was going around an exhibition and it makes me do something that perhaps i would and that’s always productive, so i think been here for this job is a good thing because we are watching it for longer.
Jenny: When you do get close to it your shadow comes into them as well and she was on about connections and it really makes you realise about you and nature
Dom: But do you find also when you get really close to them that you start to think about the materiality of video and you see pixels or would that not enter your mind?
Jill: I like how one image, or one sequence, changes into the next one i was interested in the transitions between one thing and another in the same way with a painting you might be (*loud noise*) is that transition a sharp edge or is it, i did keep relating it back to painting and painting things…
Dom: Oh you definitely do as a painter one thing we haven’t spoken about much is the texture and the quality of some of the work y know it is very different, of how we were saying been put through filters… and the grandmaster now is quite grainy and that immediately makes me think of painterly approaches to film and the kind of, really sensual approach to the medium of film. I mean, the way the colours are used as well and put through certain different filters… it seems in some instances the artist has really revelled in artificial processes and others… just a sunset…(*loud noise*, unintelligible) the artificial editing of the wave crashing and then its just changed now but the grainy image of the (*loud noise*, unintelligible)
Jamie: alot of it is seems like handheld as well instead of been all perfectly framed (*loud noise*)
Dom: what do you think it is about that, that you really like?
Jamie: Ermm it feels alot more natural and less forced like they’ve not tried to –
Dom: Exactly… again its almost like it could have been filmed by the t’ai chi master just holding a camera really… y’know? this is the first time that I’ve noticed there are actually animals in it as well… (murmurs of agreement)
Adam: I think the crunchy noise and the flashing is maybe like a pallet cleanser on the brain, been immersed and having that weird flow it does pull you out a bit the flashing (mimics flashing)
Dom: That big one there that’s the one where all the bangs happen isn’t it?
Adam: Yea all the flashes as well… disturbs… (unintelligible)… You do occasionally get a loading screen if you’ve noticed occasionally… (laughter)
Dom: Yea i have seen that a couple of times. its actually quite nice though innit? like waiting
Jill: Did anyone think about the way we interact with images in our in other places in our lives? I did think about this is all without words isn’t it even in an art gallery you get a caption, or a block of text but the text is outside and so this is without words and obviously it… something so visual and pictorial and i know were gonna sit down and have it translated into a conversation… did anyone have thoughts about the visualness of it without all the text or the words or the captions that we all may have… (unintelligible)
Adam: I like the separation between the words of the artists and the vision of the artist… (*loud noise*, unintelligible) a lack of confidence makes them want to explain their work (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… but they want to explain their work to the viewer – which I think is fine but I like it to be separate. I think the work is strong enough on its own (unintelligible)… need to trust the audience to make their own decisions…(unintelligible)
Dom: I think it also ties into what you said earlier about not been able to say anything about the experience, not been able to communicate that – to communicate everything as well… i definitely think this exhibition is celebrating that to an extent.
Dom: Cos if the work only works if somebody has reads it you cant make people read it or some people will choose not to or just not get into it so the work has to be able to be viewed
Becky: I think the words are distracting… (unintelligible)… i think because everything’s moving constantly, its like it requires all of your concentration you cant look away and read it because you’ll miss a bit.
Jamie: Its just made me think about how alot of people will watch TV with something on their phone as well like they might be reading messages or whatever
Becky: Yea so your not concentrating on your feelings because nothing has got your full attention for that whole time
Jamie: …quite often ill go on Facebook but other times something will be mentioned and i will go on Wikipedia and it’ll actually answer, the research, i want to understand
(unintelligible multiple voices)
Jenny: I find these brackets a big distraction and if it was me id be really against them… have they done them on purpose or just to accommodate?
Dom: i was just coming onto that i was going to ask that interesting question and move onto thinking about operation i actually when i first came into the space i remember thinking they were a bit obtrusive but then i started to engage with the work and i found they eventually kind of disappeared as i got absorbed into the work not to the extent that i walked into any of them!
Becky: There are more ugly at this end of the room then there are when your walking around. You don’t seem to notice them when you’re looking at the wall…
Dom: Yea so what do you think in a curatorial sense do you think it would be better without them? or?
Becky: It does look very much like they have made a point to make a frame to mount them onto to then project onto the wall because there would have been other ways of doing it, they’ve gone for a structure but you can see through the structure its not solid
(unintelligible multiple voices)
Jenny: was she trying to get people to go into that space (*loud noise*, unintelligible) was she trying to control us?
(unintelligible multiple voices)
Dom: So i have got a bit of insight into this… so the curator wasn’t able to hang the projection units from the ceiling because its a listed building its very limited in this space regarding using this kind of technology and installing so they had to get these gallantries made especially so they show so really there was no way around it and (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… this is the first time this space has had a show made up of video so i think our association with (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… which seems at a bit of a contrast really a contradiction to world itself, and there is that theatrical quality to them isn’t there? (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… but i do think they do dissolve very much into the background once you engage with the work.
Patrick: I suppose like you said its like theatre in a way because you’ve got chairs in the middle here and other things surrounding us… (unintelligible)
Jill: I don’t know how many people have come to gallery before because it really transforms it… (unintelligible)… the space really feels different.. (unintelligible)
Jenny: Its usually really bright and open because of the windows there, very traditional, but coming into this one its a breath of fresh air because it feels really modern.
Dom: It feels like you could be in Berlin, new york anywhere really doesn’t it i mean… (unintelligible)… i think it really shows off the potential for this place really well but its like we could spend however long in here looking at this work and then we could go back into the more salon Hull trip through there and the first thing looking in front of you from your left you see this herd of stampeding cows (laughter) so that’s quite an interesting contrast as well.
Jill: But also i was talking to Dom earlier about the multi nature purpose of the building its got lots of different things going on but i like that – its got traditional artwork, more contemporary something local downstairs something a bit more intellectual upstairs and i like those different uses of the building.
Adam: (unintelligible)… quite rural [around here] so its quite exciting to find a contemporary [exhibition]… (unintelligible)
Dom: … and this is a risk and its nice to see galleries taking a risk
Becky: By doing this its meant that, i wouldn’t have come to see it but since you asked me to come, I’ve never been here before, now i know its here and i know that it has got different elements and different artworks i think they need to shout about it a bit more
Patrick: If you could ask this community, they’d know all about all these places… (unintelligible)
Becky: There would be absolutely no mention of this only the stuff that comes up on local groups on Facebook and stuff like that, that are art based for the Hull area or a City of Culture type thing, there was a volunteer that walked in earlier on but there was nothing on their site that relates to this exhibition
Jenny: Its strange because i work at the council and its very corporate you wouldn’t expect it, that’s where i find it all out but because of the nature of where it is in Beverley they are shouting about it
Patrick: Is there a difference between Hull and East Yorkshire then? Because the councils are different? So the communities in Hull don’t get that message from East Yorkshire then? Becky?: Oh no, no, because I’m based in East Riding so i cover all of it because i live in Hessle so i get bits of everything in there but again, i haven’t heard of this at all until you mentioned it I’d have never have known it was here
Adam: I don’t get much (unintelligible) but when I graduated and I was part of RED… (unintelligible)… I had my art scene but those faces have gone – REDs gone, Kingston Art Gallery space has gone so I don’t have a monthly or bimonthly routine of going to a show or see this and see people (unintelligible)…
Jill: I mean there is this assumption that the stuff that is cutting edge is going to be in Hull and in the city and y’know that’s a good assumption to challenge isn’t it
Adam: Yeah, there’s stuff on but I didn’t know it was on
Jill: What we need is a magazine! (Laughter) Or what do you think Dom because your central to the arts scene… is there a lack of communication between the different factions?
Dom: I think there has always been similar in that you really do have to dig around to find out about stuff, i mean you’ve got the city arts newsletter tells you about stuff that’s going on in Hull and that’s pretty much the only thing i tap into but the rest of the things i don’t know i find out about poking around or talking to people, but Adam’s right, there is now a distinctive lack of artist-led initiatives… i mean you’ve got Ground, y’know they pretty active but yea… spaces that have been taken away or have dissolved have been replaced by different kinds of things
Adam: Its an interesting point that but cos “Red” was in a building and “Kag” was in a building that was lower rent but and now its up and coming and gentrified, and the derelict buildings have obviously now gone… I don’t blame the City of Culture for that its kind of different kinds of stuff…
Patrick: It’s economics!
Adam: (unintelligible) …we were obviously aware that it was going to be bulldozed over but City of Culture came along and finished it off.
Patrick: (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… we don’t really care about what other people are writing about necessarily – i don’t know if that’s the case in art where all you worry about is your interested in and you don’t necessarily caring about other people, other artists and what they’re currently doing.
Dom: (*loud noise*, unintelligible) I think if you look at aspirational cities pretty much most of them have got within their arts ecology a thriving art school that brings in students from all around the country, and ensuring there’s new life going into the art scene and they’ve usually got a couple of artist led spaces or studio groups and they’ve got variety, or at least one type of contemporary arts based and then little satellite organisations going around it and have all the bases covered with regards to things you really need for it.
Jamie: Id argue as well that those places have a media that’s engaged with it as well whereas Hull is dehabilitated about a lack of visible daily mail and there isn’t really any independent media like magazines or even blogging even the blogging scene is quiet whereas the larger cities will have that.
Adam: (*loud noise*, unintelligible)… you don’t know what you’re gonna get. The shows are so varied (unintelligible)… If I was going as a viewer – you might not like every show you put on but every show is worthwhile and you can see that the artist has benefited from putting on that show, or that play… and there’s a lack of that.
Dom: I think Patrick point about interconnectedness brings us nicely back to this show because i think ermm if we were thinking about really rounding up now (are we, Jill?) just thinking about whether the show has been and i hate to use this term but i cant think of another one at the moment but whether it has been “successful”. Do you think the artist – we’ve spoken about what the artists fascinated by and her practice… we’ve spoken about the I Ching and we have spoken about how the work has been presented but what would you would you consider it to have portrayed its message efficiently and well?
Becky: I think the answer is well before we knew about her and her background and her reason for the exhibition we all made those connections of it been about grounding/centring yourself and change i suppose.
Adam: I think i would have spent a lot less time in the space if i had come on my own for me maybe i should be more patient with things… its a learning experience (*loud noise*, unintelligible) … people, they don’t go to art things because they feel they don’t have the art history knowledge, so maybe they feel like they cant access it – its too its too – contemporary art can be very minimalist so they can’t find the ‘plot’ to it…
Jill: That’s a really good pointe
Adam: Like, people ask me, how do you get into the art? People have no confidence with the art-based stuff, they have no confidence…(unintelligible) its about going and having experience and be comfortable in the fact… you have permission to have an opinion..
Patrick: Which is me coming here today, as a non-artist, and I thought ‘Oh my god, everyone else is gonna be art experts, that kind of thing, but erm, this is very accessible isn’t it? It was very engaging, and I had something to say about it, and I had something to say about it just from a normal point of view really and i think that’s the problem for people like myself … we don’t know anything about art, and I shouldn’t really go and look at art because its not for you, it’s not for us, we are not going to get anything from it. But as I say, from this I can hear bits, I can certainly relate to it i can certainly engage with it
Jamie: I found this really useful, again… (intelligible) so this helped me
Jill: And its interesting for us to look at the connections with like, Dom talked about an arts ecology so think about a performance or a theatre ecology because your there i wonder how that’s there and when we were talking about explaining work and whether the work should speak for itself i wonder what the equivalent in theatre is… so sometimes you understand your own discipline better by seeing how it translates into another area so i think its really good to have people from different things
Patrick: I suppose its like a book club really you all say what you thought about it and i think when you come to art like this – I’d go around and look at it and it’d take like, 3-5 minutes then (imitates typing) “right lets go get a coffee” so been forced to think about it and then talk about it you get more from it but we don’t necessarily experience that as a group we don’t usually do that ourselves.
Adam: … its like when I did that show with Matt, people would come in but their attention would be on the door, because they’re like, attentively scouting and could fleet any moment
Patrick: It’s like that archetype, it’s like what we had with city of culture isn’t it because everybody went into the city centre and watched the lights and the sound show about history and that kind of thing that was art wasn’t it but because they were doing it and experiencing it together they were talking about what they enjoyed
Dom: I think that’s another really clever thing about the curation because like we said earlier you can see the work from as you approach it so you start to prepare for what you are going to see halfway through the salon area next door
Becky: You already make that decision before you come in
Jenny: Usually there’s a big black curtain and I’m always put off…
Adam: Yeah and then you shuffle in and find your seat…
Jenny: Yeah, where this is very open
Dom: When i was here on Monday two little girls came into the space and you could hear them (*loud noise*) and the first thing they saw was the fireworks on that screen and they just ran in straight to the fireworks and they’re mum and dad followed them and i thought that was a clever way of using the space.
Jill: I brought my grand-daughter, Ruby, and she was exactly the same loved playing hide and seek its strange different experiences of it, depending on who you come with.
Adam: I sat in Red gallery with big letters saying Gallery and most peoples impressions where “what are you doing? what is this?” because people are put off that they have to walk past you through a desk. And you say, ‘Yes, please! Have a look! I’m proud of the show we’ve put on’ (*loud noise*, unintelligible, laughter)
Jill: Can i just ask you Dom so I’m aware that other artists have used the I Ching as i cant remember who they are… but presumably, John cage? I’ve just had a few memories dinging there of other artists using the I Ching. Yeah…
Dom: I think you
could look at alot of abstract expressionist painters who are
strongly influenced by eastern techniques but I’ve not, i cant really
think of any that used specifically the I Ching as a basis for a body
Well i think we’ve been going for an hour and a half that’s really great thanks very much for all of your input its been really interesting and thanks to Jill and Lauren for getting Critical Fish up and running and attempting to plug this gap.
Jill: Any pointers on this as an event because we would like to replicate it and as I’ve said we’re learning as we are going on so this is something we would like or a version of this in every issue so just any thoughts on how we might do it differently?
Jenny: I think it would be interesting to get the children in as a group and then another group and see what people think
Patrick: I enjoyed it i thought it worked and i think we got alot
Jamie: to me as well it just underline what i thought as well, it’s entirely subjective and I think that may be a barrier and I think people need to experience more art and the way they need to experience it. (*loud noise*, unintelligible)
Dom: I think we have been really lucky as well with the space because we haven’t had any interruptions when we do it in the future the space is something we will have to take into consideration.