[Updated Friday 10 January 2020: Typographical and formatting errors were corrected.]
With only a couple of weeks to until the end of August, it feels a little peculiar to write a catch-up post now – but, if we don’t, we’ll not feel right. So, here we are – and, as we start to work on a new project as part of a festival this October (watch this space), we’re still thinking about Trawl, our installation at Aspex as part of this year’s Portsmouth Festivities.
Last month, Croshare’s co-founder Tom went back to Aspex to uninstall Trawl following the month it was exhibited there after Portsmouth Festivities. Tom worked out it took a tenth of the time to remove the installation from the space it had occupied – and less than half of that to have it in a bin bag ready to store it before a permanent home is found for it (yes, a bin bag – we never said this was fine art – ha).
Rolled and folded, as it appears in the image used for this post, you’d have been forgiven for thinking you were looking at nothing of value; and, once this was placed in a bin bag to protect it, you’d have been hard pressed to distinguish it from anything you might put out on the kerb on a Tuesday night along with the rest of your household waste. Seven months’ work reduced to this?!
But it’s not, is it? The fact that the size of the final product of that project could be reduced with a bit of effort does not – and should not – reduce any of the work that went into making it happen. It doesn’t simplify or dismiss the time, talent and skill that went into making it possible. It doesn’t ignore any of the people who participated in the project and without whom the final product would not have been possible.
It made us think of the tendency of many creative individuals to reduce their work to their outputs, often failing to acknowledge the full significance and value of every stage involved in its creation – for example, you might chart the journey of a(ny) creative output from inspiration to idea to research to draft or sketch to prototype to revision(s) to final piece(s)… And far beyond those in terms of their breadth and depth. We must see – and make visible – the parts as well as their sum.
Trawl currently rests ready to be moved to its permanent home; in its current rolled, folded and bagged state, it’s more than ‘something stored’; it’s an artwork in its own right – a monument and testament to everything that comes before a product, an output or an outcome. It’s a reminder that anything we produce is only there because of everything that came before it – everything behind the scenes and everything that involved another person. And, from this point forward, we’ll pay more attention to these, recognising and celebrating them in their own right no matter what we might get up to.