Tuesday 9 April 2013

Real-time art

So, I don't usually talk much about work here, but I am quite, quite excited about an experiment we are running at The Dowse this week.

I love watching exhibitions get installed. That kind of behind-the-scenes access - along with visiting the collection store - is the biggest treat of the job. There's an intimacy to the way you can be with the art, and a camaraderie in the team, that just makes it a lovely experience.

This week, we're experimenting with opening this up to visitors. Normally, it would be risky to have people in the space while we deal with loan works, trundle scissor lifts around, futz with lighting and play with power cables. But Kerrie Poliness's big elegant drawings - executed straight onto the wall with permanent markers - are basically damage-proof.

Plus, the process is the point of the work, as you can see in this blog post I wrote about the works. Letting visitors watch the drawings get made - allowing them to be part of the planning, if they're in the room at the right time - felt like such a natural idea. We've seen time-lapses of installations of Poliness's work, but never an open installation. So that's what we're trying.

Laura choses her four starting points for the drawing by eye - no rulers allowed.
Kerrie Poliness Black O 1997. Jim Barr and Mary Barr Loan, Collection of The Dowse.
From today (Tuesday) through Friday, you can visit The Dowse and watch Cat Auburn and her team making the three drawings we've selected for the show. Come along at the right time, and  you could even get to map the starter points out.

I have no idea if this will work, be popular, or be worthwhile. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

(Fortuitously, at the same time that we started this experiment, Suse Cairns posted about the value of "process stories" for museums - those chances for visitors to get more deeply involved in their visit, to get an extended form of access. I hope to write a follow-up piece about how this works out here.)

Oh! And you're welcome to take and share your own photos of your visit. That would make me super happy.

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