When I set up this site, the intention was to give a running commentary on how the project was progressing. But then I didn’t, and now it’s in the advanced stages of being done. So, I’m now going to think my way back to how it went…
At the end of last year I spent some time putting together proposals and publicity, talking to various knowledgeable people, and getting venues onside. I was fairly timid, but because the response was so positive I was encouraged by the process. I had a wishlist of venues, and all the plan A sites agreed. I approached all the venues directly except the bus garage, and for that i contacted my MP Stella Creasy. I knew she had seen last year’s exhibition, and she very kindly endorsed me to people at Transport for London who have been extremely helpful.
In the new year I spent a prolonged time working out how to fill in funding forms. It’s no fun, but it does make you think about how you’re going to physically do what you’re planning, and who’s going to get something out of it. I’m thinking it’ll be easier next time. The Waltham Forest application wasn’t successful, but that didn’t surprise me. This series has nothing to do with the Olympics, and is only celebratory in a low-key sort of way. But in the process I met the people who work for the arts in WF, and that was good to know.
The Arts Council refusal was more of a blow. I spent ages on that, and put in a great application. It was a work of art in itself. I’d imagined it was refused because the budget was too high, or because there was no secured funding from elsewhere. But the feedback (which should be automatic. I don’t know why you have to request it) said it was lacking a risk assessment! It wasn’t something that was asked for in the application, and I hadn’t even thought of it. Their concern was that bad weather could damage the works. Only one piece is outside though, and it’s quite sheltered… At the time I was angry about this, but events since have chastened me (see a bad thing happened…).
At that point I took on work to make some money and so the Waiting project had to wait. During that time I should have been looking for models, but was quite depressed about it and happy to dive into other stuff. When I came back to it I floundered around looking for volunteers for some time. In fact I still don’t have the final model. If you know of an asian male, between 16 and 22-ish who has a day and a half spare, please let me know!
It was also around that time that the technological part of the project got ditched. The intention was to have small mobile phone screens embedded in the sculptures, running a film made with the model of what they thought about while they waited. Memories, people walking past, lists of things to do, traffic sounds, recent conversations, worries, pigeons etc. But in the end there were just too many things that could go wrong. How would I change the batteries? How could they be displayed so that only the film would run? How likely was it that they would be vandalised? I met another, very talented, local artist Sarah Hardy who demonstrated a free programme that runs films on your phone called aurasma. But it only works on smart phones, which is more exclusive than I wanted, and I just didn’t have the time to get it up and running. It’s an idea for the future though…
So the next thing to do was build, but I think I’ll explain that as an illustrated ‘how-to’ guide on another page.