Serendipity & Community

THE PLAN of INTER-ACTION: present people with catalysts and materials, encourage mutual imagination… find them in unexpected spaces, far from the whispering galleries, invite involvement, ignore the defences and protests of those who claim not to be ‘artists’, even without eyes or fingers you have ideas and imaginations, you’ve seen lines falling at angles between the earth and sky, felt the tension between a beginning and an ending, you doodle in class or in the office… working together we can create what could come from neither mind alone, there’s much to discover, and a joy in the doing, lets do.

This project took the form of a myriad of experiments… I presented people, many friends and strangers, with as many art materials and surfaces to work on as I could fit in the crate on the back of my bike. Paint, pastels, pencils, inks, charcoal, cloth, thread, varnish, all kinds of paper torn, patterned, printed and plain, smooth and rough.. on and on… 

With each person and place I tried to adapt to the situation in order to make the process of a ‘visual conversation’ inviting and accessible. Once begun, most every person got very into it in their own way, sometimes they directed me with materials, other times we took turns, or worked simultaneously. Some used words, some were humorous, some concentrated seriously, others just enjoyed playing with colour and composition for the first time in years… 

here’s one example:

  • Duarte and Andre, two strangers at a table next to mine ask what i am unpacking, I show them piles of paper and pens, paint and crayons, cut outs and inks and invite them to chose a paper and join me in creation.
  • First they say they are not good with art, they are “no good” at this stuff. But they choose a sheet with photocopies of painted leaves printed on it and soon we are palm deep in paint. They are intent on our composition.
  • We work on the piece simultaneously, drawing from each other’s techniques – hand prints that mirror the leaf prints, using straws from the bar to create marks. Sometimes they want to create an effect or image and I suggest directions and methods. 

This project sprang from many fields that interest me, particularly philosophies of serendipity, of imperfection and my ever strengthening sense that engaging with one another to physically make things and have an interactive creative culture, not just a passively receptive one, is incredibly important.

I found a lot of inspiration in the work of John Berger, The posts of Douglad Hine (Tools For Serendipity), and the book ‘You Are Not A Gadget’ – Jaron Lanier, amongst others (see the Garden of Ideas)

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