Process as question:
The project process comprises of Febrik instigating questions in the studio space and inviting young people’s responses as filmed actions in the urban site of Church Street. The questions were further developed through discussions and activities in the studio, which lead to further actions in the street. The dialogue between the actions in the street and the actions in the room, opened up a space of reflective thought and critical actions between these two seemingly separated physical sites.
The production of footage of public actions in the street, at first interventions using the body, then using props from the site (found or borrowed) aimed to enjoy, challenge and re-imagine the complex social and physical limits encountered in the street. The development of the work in the room – through reflective actions such as selecting, editing, planning or deliberation on meaning – unfolded questions about the nature of the Action of the Room in relation to collective decision making and the democratic procedures in this type of collective production. The project process addressed questions about the notions of the Action of the Street in relation to the rights and responsibilities of young people as both citizens and artist producing this type of work, the complexities of public engagement as well as the absence of representation of young people in the making and use of public realm.
The project asked questions about socially engaged practice: how does a group of artist (the young people as a group but also febrik and the Serpentine team as facilitators of that group), with a variety of interests, collectively embark on the production of socially engaged art work that looks at the site as both a physical environment and a social community space. The young people forged slow and small social links over time; in particular with market traders through conversation about the market, about the young people’s proposal of the site and through asking for assistance with their actions and films (borrowing props for example).
The work also asked questions about film as a medium of production, here film was used to support and document a series of explorative public actions that researched the site and provoked site proposals. Issues such as the visibility of the artist, the politics of the camera as an object in public, the language of the camera work (surveillance/proximity) became evident. The editing of the film itself took a series of phases, starting as a collective process and concluding as three separate works, as the content and meaning were negotiated and expressed differently.
The work was collated into a short publication presenting the project as a directory of public actions which explore modes of practicing in public, between the room and the street. It explores public actions in relation to 4 key themes and questions:
Editing the site: What places on the site inspire you to re-think how to use public space?
Pushing the limit: Can we physically test what is possible in public spaces?
Crossing between: Can we change spatial and social hierarchies and arrangements?
Speculating on change: What would you like to change on Church Street?
You can download the booklet here: