Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Out of Sight, Out of Our Minds.

Finally I have time to post about me and my housemates' latest and grandest endeavour:
This summer we presented OUT OF SIGHT to an unsuspecting Bournemouthian public; an exhibition in an underground carpark that until now has been unused for three years.

Me and my housemates George Bills, Laurie Ramsell, Nathan Hackett heralded as organisers of the whole kit and kaoodle, enlisting the help of Ashley Peevor & Michael Compton along the way to make a combined force of knowledgable, capable and resiliant fine art and illustration students. 33 proposals were then chosen from entrants spanning our entire university, The Arts University College at Bournemouth, and the resultant exhibition proudly featured costume design, digital media, film, foundation and MA students, alongside both of our courses.
It was a long process, from liaising with various levels of Wilkinsons clearance (owners of the carpark), calling for entries, selecting the artists, cleaning the carpark, adding power outlets, installing the work, making our own work(!) and of course aspects of promotion and publicity as the opening date approached. Exhaustion was a key feeling inside all of us in the house at the end of each day, but such a sense of achievement gripped in turning a disgusting and neglected environment into a house for sophisticated art pieces. Plus, someone told us that when you're tired, you know you're putting your all in.

I myself designed our promotional 'identity', which became applied to flyers, posters, e-invites, and signage. It was based on an eye test, playing with ideas of optical inadequacies taken from the exhibition title 'Out of Sight'.

One key aspect of our exhibition was that we were 'out of the way', slightly off the beaten track; you had to take a sort of leap of faith down some unfamiliar stairs in an unnervingly familiar place, and find something that was hidden to a lot of people who who look past it, making the entrant an explorer of the unknown who had seen something others had not. Our ethos contained lacings of an appreciation for the overlooked: including outsiders within a society, as well as hidden areas within a community, and we wanted to show art's resiliance to unorthodox circumstances - including declines of the economy and lower states of lifestyle. All the artworks were generated as a direct response to the carpark; whether the result mimicked some of its qualities, or juxtapoed against them; made use of its large scale or exaggerated it, none of the objects would exist without the environment.

S from 'Urban Brick' typeface by Bana Toutounjee. Photograph by Denise Poote.

'Residents' by Elizabeth Vazquez. Photograph by Michael Compton.

Inside 'Petri Dish' by Kieran Leonard, Tom Daniel-Moon & Ka Vi. Photograph by Michael Compton.

Assemblage of 'Sustainable Car' by Marta Fjellheim. Photograph by Michael Compton.

'Meltdown' by Hollie Mackenzie. Photograph by Denise Poote.

We received around 1000 visitors across the week-long opening period, largely due to the carpark entrance in prime location on the bustling Winton High Street; having been hidden right alongside the entrance to chainstore Wilkinsons for all this time. Many people who came down to the carpark's depths had used the carpark when it was open, and were happy to see it open again in better nick. It was a joy to see people from all walks of life enter the space without any preconceptions of what they might find.

A big thank you to everyone who helped us in whatever way; swapping keys, making art, bringing a broom, getting up early, being able to drive, folding exhibition guides, handing out flyers, keeping us afloat.~
You are out of sight.

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