Friday, 24 November 2017

Truth


Honestly, I'm getting this blog post done so I can write the next one. Not exclusively, of course, but it absolutely has that air about it in my mind as I write; of doing the thing you need to do in order to contextualise and lay the ground for the thing you really need to do, and weirdly this project and the next had that sort of relationship too.

Earlier this year (in April) I was commissioned to bring an artist-led element to the first ever TEDxSkoll event in Oxford. 'While the Skoll World Forum is an invitation-only event, TEDxSkoll welcomes 500+ members of the community to join participants and speakers from across the UK and the globe to engage in rich dialogue, forge connections, and seize on the energy sparked by the Skoll World Forum, Marmalade, and other events taking place in Oxford in the first week of April.' Working alongside producer Immy Kaur and designer Clare Hartley to explore the broader theme of the event - Truth - myself and fellow artists Alison Baskerville, Aliyah Hasinah and Shaheen Kasmani set out to make a zine, including provocations of our own alongside content via open submission.



The process was both fast-paced and deeply thoughtful, as we pieced together the jigsaw of materials and viewpoints to create a journey for attendees to embark upon in their own personal way. Working with these women is always a deep joy, but we hadn't worked in this way before, and I really like that we challenged each other. as well as giving each other energy, throughout the ideation and production processes. The result of a lot of brainstorming evenings, lols, meetings, e-mails, cutting, sticking, and a colossal InDesign session from yours truly to take us over the finish line (with these efforts then mirrored by our buds Rope Press to put ink to paper) was an independently curated collection of works by 18 artists from across the UK, including photography, illustration, poetry, stills from moving image, painting, performance and more, responding directly to the word Truth.

Left: Kat Tromans  |  Right: Tapiwa Mugabe


Left: Robert Leslie  |  Right: Rosie Kay


Left: Balandino Di Donato  |  Right: Baljinder Kaur

The final document mirrored the red and black colour scheme of the TEDxSkoll 'Truth' branding but utilised a risograph technique to set it apart from the highly finished lithograph event programme designed by Clare. Below is a photo of them proudly arranged on top of the box from which they were unpacked in the Sheldonian Theatre on the day of the event, just in time. These documents worked together in an almost call and response relationship, with the softer less defined tones and moments of misalignment in the print process reflecting the intentions to encourage different perspectives and nuanced conversations, with no copy being quite the same.



Making this artefact felt like both a strange hybrid and a particular victory; a process of conversation, exploration and artists in the room afforded by connectors like Immy bringing us into this mix. On the inside cover of the Truth zine we state: 'We believe artists play a key role in challenging our interpretations and preconceptions of the world around us, and have the power to make us think and feel differently on topics that are vast or intangible'.

This is why there being a copy of these zines in the bags of each attendee felt important, and I'm proud we were able to put it there. To go deeper into the truths of me and my fellow artist-curators, visit the TEDxSkoll blog.

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