Where we're at...

My aim with the Tunnel Art Residency project is to bring about an installation, the main focus being the process of making, with the end product being an imprint, a trace of the creative process. So it's about the experience of creating something: from the contributors' perspective, creating something individually that will contribute to the making of something together, and from my own personal perspective, creating something together, the 'bringing-about' (orchestration) of which constitutes my individual 'creation'/art work.

By which I mean that what is paramount here is the social aspect of this sculpture project, both the experience each individual has when they are in the Tunnel and the experience the sculpture installation creates by being a communal undertaking. What is paramount is the experience everyone takes away with them and what remains as a memory. 

The sculpture each individual creates during that experience is a poetic object which constitutes the imprint of their experience and which, when set up as part of the installation, will play its part in the joint enterprise, the community effort. One voice in the choir. A choir of individually poetic objects.

And here is how the beginnings of the installation looked after the first batch of firing a week ago:


And this is how it looks at the moment, after the second batch of firing:

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As you can see from the images above, some pieces demand more space around them; they have a certain presence that requires more breathing space.

Another aspect that is becoming apparent as I play around with the placing of the individual pieces is how narratives begin to emerge as a result of my placement choices. And of course these narratives will be different for every viewer.

The pieces that are too small or delicate to be on the floor, or need to be seen closer to eye-level are displayed on a long shelf:

Each piece is individual; each piece reflects what each person is about and/or their experience in the Tunnel. I am setting some parameters with regard to materials, to retain the tone I envisage for this project, which in turn dovetails with my own work overall (and ultimately my aesthetic). Indeed I spent the first few days of the Residency organising the Tunnel space, bringing in some of my own work, and I have dotted various bits and pieces around in the Tunnel. And, as one boy put it, that sets the tone for the whole installation because you instinctively tune into the vibe.

So each piece is a poetic object in its own right because it is what that individual wanted to create at that time. Some tune into the idea of seeking to bring out the nature, the character of the material; letting the material speak - a core principle in my own work. Others seek/need to have more control. Many of them tune into the abstract form, some remain with the representational.

So, with this project, I'm inviting the Tonbridge School community to become (my) partners through creating a sculpture installation together. 

And by focusing on the 'together' there is a strong sense of bridging the gap between Art and life. Art can bring people together; brings creative connections. That is one of the joys of Art.

Rosemarie Powell