Make Space: Participant Reflections

Posted on Dec 6, 2017

Make Space was a three-year programme run by Nic Green and Artsadmin from 2013-2015, developed to offer young artists the opportunity to explore site-responsive performance practices. Over the three years, the project was based at Hackney City Farm, Richmond Yacht Club (Eel Pie Island) and Totteridge Cricket Ground consecutively, with each group spending a month exploring the collaborative potential between themselves, each other and their chosen site.

This weekly series of blog posts will feature reflections, artistic responses and critical writing inspired by the project, exploring the potentials of ‘place’ and rejecting the pressures of ‘productivity.’ The posts were written by the participants and artists, all of whom all attended the Making More Space symposium in 2016:

Participant Reflections

MAKE SPACE PARTICIPANT REFLECTIONS

Jayson

It extended my idea of what London is and what London can be. 

When I started the Make Space program I had only been living in the UK for about 10 months. I was in a transitional period, feeling like an ‘outsider.’  I slowly came to the realisation there actually is no "inside". I could build my own inside. 

Being led down a path, trusting in the leading, leading as an invitation, no power, all the power, discovering, learning. 

Letting the site do it's performance, the site has agency, amplify certain aspects of its day to day existence.

Audain

How do you define success and how do you evaluate growth? A trace-question from a Make Space process.

Robert

I feel that reflecting has become easier for me and now I take more time to allow the world to move and take things at my own pace.

Molly and Rosa

Make Space is being invited in as a guest and viewing a small chunk of life unfolding. It is unearthing an uncountable catalogue of events, uncovering material, and viewing all the events as equal, without judging what is newsworthy. It is documenting both the profound and the banal. It is making the banal profound.

Make Space is constantly feeling like you are doing something mad but feeling like in this moment, at this place, it is so right.

It is just being there and allowing and accepting what happened. There is no set outcome, end goal or final product. You cannot plan or predict. You cannot force the process. You cannot have your own agenda. There is no big artistic vision.

The feeling that you know somewhere or something that you maybe shouldn’t know. Or once you knew something. Kind of like your Grandma's house or your dead pet’s blanket.

Making space and making time. Sit back and trust that life will happen. It is a very different way of working and learning compared to studying from books, the internet or listening to experts. It is a kind of multi-sensory, slow but analytical observing and responding.

One of the many things the project highlighted is how having an outsider’s perspective on a place allows for opportunities to gently disrupt normalcy, playfully challenge systems and fill artistic-shaped holes in the everyday events of a cricket club.

When I think of the cricket club now, I imagine life carrying on as normal, as though we were never there. But I know that our project will forever be a small, strange blip in Totteridge history.

Eno

A space, that allows you to move, speak, think, listen, dance, sing, cry, laugh freely.

Sometimes it’s difficult to make space for yourself, our world is rigged so that the space you do have is never quite enough. Inside Make Space I discovered ways to not only expand the physical, mental and spiritual spaces I occupied but how to take up more space within them – to move around freely and boldly. It’s difficult to make space for yourself. It’s even more difficult to maintain this space, to retrace your steps and return to the spaces you found. It’s easy to get lost again, again and again and have to find them all over again, again and again. That is part of the process. Another part of the process is learning how to be okay with this – this too, is difficult.

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