Is it enough?
Walking away from the Rodd on Thursday evening, I wondered "Is it enough?" The Sidney Nolan Trust had hosted a fantastic happening. In our grain barn. For 2 hours. On a weekday; early doors. How to describe it, if you missed it? It shouldn't have been missed. In a big city this event would have attracted hoards. Our faithful following turned out and witnessed the sounds, the films, the performance, detailed work, all unpicking elements of Sidney Nolan's chosen land and building scape.
Eight PhD research students, brought together, funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council, North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership. They had just 3 days to make a response from their own focal point. And how they reacted. They worked solidly. An intense period of looking, wondering and making.
I worried about the vacant audience's missed opportunity. However, Pavel Prokopic, one of the artists, outlined how he saw this event as a vision of a utopia. He described how in the future, where capitalist work is no longer the driving machination, how all folk will make work, and all folk will be artists. He saw that artists/makers will attend each other's events, like this one, and enjoy. This was a lovely vision. But for now I wondered if it was enough that this happening was witnessed by so few? It seemed a shame that this marvelous experience was not had by more people. I wondered how we can we do more at the Trust to draw more people to this wonderful work going on, on site?
There was a brilliant performance from Sara Davies, treading carefully along and among the large Sidney Nolan frames, making one think of bodies and borders, vulnerability and portraits, and memories that we ease ourselves in and around. Pavel Prokopic borrowed a stepladder to film Sara's performance.
Pavel Prokopic collaborated with Lesley Halliwell, Sarah Eyre and then Sara Davies and Nigel Allmark to create three separate films. They were made at night looking through a found pane of glass. Pavel described how the piece had come together the night before almost as though spirits had guided it, the spirit of the glass, the building, and the place. A loud audio of Lesley's breath on the pane resonated with the corrugated structure of the grain barn.
Nigel Allmark created an interactional model about homelessness .
Jamie Jenkinson projected a slowed film of our Cockerel, which bellowed out of the lean to - giving the animals their rightful majesty over the land.
To see films:
Bulls, iPhone 7 plus, 26/06/17 https://vimeo.com/223842691
Effe, Fetch!, iPhone 7 plus, 29/07/16 http://www.jamiejohnjamesjenkinson.com/2017/07/blog-post_1.html
Cockadoodledoo, iPhone 7 plus, 29/06/17 https://vimeo.com/223840548
Gemma Meek hunted for truth and wells as a response to a shipping container label.
Lin Charlston's work started as an exploration of the cyanotype process with co-researcher Jamie Jenkinson.
Lesley Halliwell created intricate stencil work.
Sarah Eyre made collages partly inspired by Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series.
This researchers’ group have raised the bar again for the Sidney Nolan Trust, showing us possibilities, and optimising the opportunity of the artists’ camp. It was a privilege to see the work in its development and iterations. For the artists they are already planning to take their work forward into new contexts. Thank you to them all for this fabulous experience.
To read more about their work, please visit their website: http://practiceandresearchinactionresidency.harts.online