Thursday, 29 July 2010

Where Do We Go?

The Spiral team continues to build. Today we were joined by Yel - who flew in fresh from successfully organising Kingston's International Youth Theatre Festival and Mariana, a former TV presenter from Bulgaria who gave up working in the media to organise similar festivals in the North West of her country. They immediately set to work.

The idea of framing became prevalent this morning. Many of the images of places we'd like to go to but can't, have been finished and I spent the morning taking photos of each artist holding their work up. A picture of a picture. Some of the participants who didn't want or felt nervous about drawing brought along their own images. Photographs from distant lands, food that they can't buy in Spain and most movingly, people they've lost.

The children and a few of the adults then headed off to the cultural centre to make brightly coloured frames in which to display the photos. Whilst I headed back to the swimming pool where the bathers were queueing up to answer the questions sent over from the Bronx. They were taking their job seriously and a few debates were breaking out on the fringes - mostly trying to figure out what had prompted the questions in the first place.

As a team we'd had a brief discussion this morning about how and when we would intervene. I thought it was vital that we stay politically neutral, even in the face of racist or tribal comments. Others felt we couldn't afford such liberalism and should bring ourselves into the debate immediately. It's a tricky issue. None of us would be involved if we weren't interested at a fundamental level in social cohesion - but it's a deceit if we go into this project knowing the result of the work in advance. We have to trust our sensibility and the material produced. In the end both 'beaches' seemed to want to engage and unpick the prejudices rather than react negatively to them.

I'm coming home tomorrow sadly leaving the project at a fascinating moment.

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