Yesterday, I had the joy of taking a train ride to Birmingham to talk to the Craft Net Conference about Prick Your Finger's nature of curating. The event was organized by Craft Space and the Crafts Council, at the newly refurbished MAC. I was delighted to learn that we are Creative Producer Models . (Turn to the left!)
Because our engagement with our audience is not institutional, and I was asked to show how our plans to push frontiers of programming with our Spark Plugs project. I won't go into all that now, but it was brilliant to be asked these questions. We never planned to be curators, it crept up on us. Thinking about the origins of our programming, we realized it came from ideas we had when we were kids.
In my talk I pointed to three influences, which have helped form the curating program at PYF.
1. Fugazi. Straight edge, DIY, punk was our number one structure for thinking. If you wanted to do something, you didn't wait for permission, you got on and did it yourself. Making a little difference could make a massive difference, and it didn't matter what was selling, it was what you were buying that mattered. All their albums were good and Guy was very sexy and would scream on the floor with his shirt off.
2. John Lennon walked into Yoko Ono's 'Half a Wind' show at the Indica Gallery in 1966, and climbed her step ladder, at the top of which was a magnifying glass through which to read some very small letters saying 'Yes'. John and Yoko struck up a conversation about it. The interaction of the piece sparked a whole new chapter in their lives.
I was studying textiles but wished I could make something interactive, to make things 'happen'. Fluxus gave clear, short, precise instructions to the viewer, who became free to answer.
3. We were too young to have been to Sex on the Kings Rd. We imagined that if you went there, something unplanned would have happened. Malcolm taught us about the Situationists' "Be reasonable, demand the impossible", and how to take traditional culture, re package it and use it to cause trouble. Vivienne showed us that conformity is brilliant because you can question why it has to be there. There were a lot more slides in my talk but I don't want to bore you. 4. This is a traditional English white carrot which I grew on my roof over the winter.
I gave a bunch to my friend Jason and he served them with a blob of potato and a lump of venison as a joke for a lunch party. All this dish has to do with the rest of the blog post, is that I thought about what to do with carrots throughout the conference.
Thank you to Miako for the carrot picture.