A tree branch covered in pink blossom against a blue spring sky

Croshare Catch-up – April 2017

Croshare’s projects see us approaching individuals for their assistance in making these happen; we recognise that we need to be collaborative, adding others’ experience, expertise and resources to our own in order to achieve the results we want. Often, when we approach these people, we do so thinking of them in the terms of the one thing for which we need them, or the one thing we need them to do – and it can often come as a surprise that they are, do or have far more than this ‘one thing’.

Thinking of people as ‘one thing’ – thinking about who they are, and what they do and have in a discrete and linear way – means we often take for granted that this represents the sum of their activity and potential. On one hand, this can be simplistic and reductive; however, on the other, it can be an efficient way of managing the involvement of others in your projects. Remember – context is everything, and this is something of which we’re increasingly aware as we produce our art.

And this, in turn, makes us think of how others consume our art: both the work we do and why we do it. As artists, we want the experience of each individual who comes into contact with us and our work to be as unique as they are. However, at the same time, we don’t want them to get ‘the wrong idea’, or come quickly to value judgements about the totality of our practice based on one encounter. We don’t want to be seen as ‘one thing’, or as having done only ‘one thing’, unless it’s on our terms – unless that’s the point of the piece or the practice.

And, so, we have to try and balance the information we provide about our work, asking questions about how much should be available beforehand, and what the nature of this should be. Do we want them to understand the work, the artist(s) or both – and to what extent each of these? How much do we want to influence their experiences and interpretations – how much should we? Is an acceptance or understanding of the work or the artist(s) critical to the piece or the practice, or is an acknowledgement sufficient?

It’s a terrifying thrill in art – both producing it and consuming it – that any part(s) of it can be distorted in innumerable ways benign, neutral and malign; and that any one perception or consideration can be the ‘one thing’ taken away from an interaction with either or both of these, with the potential to become an influence for succeeding audiences or participants in and of itself. As we continue working on this year’s projects, we ask ourselves how much of the ‘other things’ we are and do might or should go into our work, but recognise that too much of who we are risks ego taking over, just as too little would make our work soulless. Perhaps balance is just as important as context.

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