I thought it would be good to think through the fact that one of the most challenging things I have had to deal with during the research, development and launch of the exhibition has been the perception that the exhibition and subject matter is about a literal slowing down…I have pasted a piece below from my introduction in the catalogue that I hope gives some thought to this.
I was talking to Ben Lignel yesterday about think tank’s next subject which is up for debate: Speed. I am really looking forward to reading their essays on the subject. Being a very speedy maker working quickly and intuitively – I am very interested how makers think this through – through making as well as through words. On that note I am working with David Clarke, David Gates and Lin Cheung on a new project Intelligent Trouble – more of that to come soon!
‘…What became increasingly important to me over the duration of the research were notions of time and how ideas of time, timeliness, timelessness and being in ones own time seemed to offer a thread and dialogue through the subject matter of the exhibition. We had used the term Slow Revolution from the beginning – it always seemed a pertinent phrase to use but not in a simplistic or obvious way. I like the word slow in terms of its time connotations, that you can think through slow and it gives you an angle to think through ‘fast’ for example and that slow could not and does not mean the same to all. Quick, quick, slow – the spaces made, rhythm and tempo, the different durations thought through and as a maker the resonance between these spaces created in my working practice. The word revolution also seems apt… the crafts can offer certain ideologies and certainly a space for free thinking that is perhaps in some senses revolutionary but also it offers us a sense of movement, that we are turning, revolving around and around – evolving.
The makers in the exhibition are not literally slow, they are not all counting second by second the time it takes to make their work, and they are not interested necessarily in skill for its own sake. But through their work and thinking they offer the space for others to interact and become immersed in time. Asking what the work means or offers in the wider context of a global space in time: where stuff comes from; why it’s here; how it links us to others; what is left in the traces and marks of what we do and why this is important are some of those things.
Thinking about time literally – we construct our own sense of time by comparing events – where things happened or when and how they relate to our lives. Through this we perceive a sense of relativity and consciously feel the passage of time. The objects in the exhibition are imbued with the marks of their maker and their lives and those that come into contact with them. By putting the work of these nineteen artists, makers and designers together in the same place I hope some sort of layered sense of time will happen through the likeness or unlikeness, the overlapping, the spaces in between and the quietness that ensues…’
The catalogue is available at a cost of £8 through Chrome Yellow Books, Contemporary Applied Arts, London and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.