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Devoted and Disgruntled 7

How can we trust art organisations wanting to support independent artists/ inventors?

Li-E Chen - 23 February 2014

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I initially raised this question at the State of The Arts conference 2012 in Manchester few weeks ago. I posted this issue again at the DandD7 in 2012 as the question hadn’t been properly discussed and I hoped that there were people at DandD7 who could suggest what and how “Trust” could be created and developed between independent artists and arts organisations.

Organisations can support independence within the arts and the production of radical and challenging work. I feel many organisations work too ‘safely’ and often support the same artists. Is this because it is easier for them to work and follow the same pattern of programming and producing?

Artists need full creative freedom, without the limits of expectation and space.
Unfortunately many organisation seem to be results driven and focused on production. This is detrimental to artists work where focus is on the process. There is a notion that if a work is not finished or incomplete it has failed. This is because organisations still caught up in the commodification of art and deem it necessary to show an end product in order to justify money spent or place value on the artist and their work.

Risk taking between artists and organisations:

I think ‘great art’ comes with work that is ‘incomplete’ leaving an openness to it. When work is complete it has already died and become merely a product, no longer art.
The highly rigid structure of many organisations programming and commissioning can in turn disconnect audiences.

In the discussion meeting at the State of Arts conference 2012, , Producers and arts organisations were concerned that artists couldn’t deliver or complete their works. I think they should not under-estimate independent artists’ abilities, even though they may not speak out. I hope the trust can be repaired through conversations. Producers must be prepared to take the same risks as artists in order to achieve greatness within the arts. I wonder which art organisations and producers are willing to take the same risks as the artists do?

Conclusion

“Dream of Trust”

I wonder if organisations can establish their own independent spaces where any artists/individuals regardless of their practice or project, are free to work together. This would be a space for building trust, love, and a better society to live in. Artists could thus be more independent and use these spaces for experimentation, development and have time to understand the work they are producing.

“Achieving great arts for everyone” is not only the responsibility of the arts organisations, it is the artists also who need to take responsibility. Artists can’t produce ground braking work without the support of time and space; not just time and space, but a supportive environment where cross-generational artists are encouraged to take risks.

Young Vic is an example of an organisation I think successfully addresses this via their young directors programme - this allows individual and independent directors/artists (any ages and backgrounds) to develop exceptional new works. The support that the programme is delivering is focused on directors’ on-going professional development, as well as giving on-going opportunities.

Improbable’s D and D is a great example of an open platform that is given opportunities for artists, arts professionals, and audience to engage in an open dialogue in an on-going process. It alleviates isolation and allows for genuine and progressive collaboration and dialogue.

I think this is something ]performance s p a c e [ also attempts to do through the provision of space and events it curates - an independent space where artists can develop any kind of works without limit to any artistic practice. However, I wish there are more spaces like this, rather than only a space created by artists.

My dreams of Sadlers Wells, Tate Modern, Royal Opera House, National Theatre, South Bank Centre, and all the arts organisations…. I wish they will have their own independent spaces which are run as an Open Space and open for everyone like Improbable’s D and D monthly. I attended Improbable’s D and D for most of every month since 2009, because this is the only space where is open to everyone. I wish there are more spaces like this within all the arts organizations where any individuals can be part of it. It is really important to recognize the value of this that can change the society and create a better place for people to live in and give opportunities to create greater arts in the future.
I can understand it is really hard for organizations to understand the value of it, therefore, I have created one and want to demonstrate that it is essential to have a public space within each art form where new forms could emerge in this open environment.

1st ACTION TO TAKE:
Send report out
Tell people about it and create dialogues with arts organization
I dream about this dream imagining that I am one of the art and cultural leaders who want to create great arts for everyone and dream for a better society to live in every day life.

2nd ACTION:

In March 2012, I joined “21st century leadership programme” at the BAC, here is the report of this successful campaign An Appeal to art venues, artists, and art & culture leaders

24 HOURS IN DREAMS
e-publication: “24 Hours in Dreams” via ISSUU
campaigning for public spaces - open collaboration, transparency, building trust, alternative societies…

The campaign was taken place at the Foyer of the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), London SW11 5TN and online via Twitter (#inventingthefutureofartandculture) for a 24-hour period, from 9pm on 28 June 2012 to 9pm on 29 June 2012. I invited artists Bean and Benjamin Sebastian, and others to join me in person or online in this campaign. Read more via storify

“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” ― Muhammad Ali

3rd ACTION: 2013-2014
Focus on my art practice, keep going to open space and when it is the right time, bring a second large public campaign again via different art organsations. Keep trying and talking to people about it, not to give up.

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