Creative Change NI

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I have to confess I haven't visited the OBG as much as maybe I coulda shoulda, but I have always loved the space though not always what was in it. I hate that what is meant to be one of the cities main galleries is more than likely going to close. Should this really happen?

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Royce, Ref your opening line -

Royce Harper said:

Excellent ideas El, some of the best I've heard; too bad no one in positions of authority will take a blind bit of notice!

 

I actually think expressing my thoughts on this site my contribute towards a collaborative voice that has every potential to be herd by persons who are in a position to make a difference, the key I believe is to collaborate across all levels of experience, expertise etc. To come up with, suggest, initiate, positive and workable ideas, models and solutions that will allow growth in these areas that may have lost their way and are out of touch with what matters, with regards to creative practice in NI.

 

As Bronagh always says, 'We are all one' ;)

completely agree....all for one, and one for all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



TEXTFILMS (Elvina) said:

Royce, Ref your opening line -

Royce Harper said:

Excellent ideas El, some of the best I've heard; too bad no one in positions of authority will take a blind bit of notice!

 

I actually think expressing my thoughts on this site my contribute towards a collaborative voice that has every potential to be herd by persons who are in a position to make a difference, the key I believe is to collaborate across all levels of experience, expertise etc. To come up with, suggest, initiate, positive and workable ideas, models and solutions that will allow growth in these areas that may have lost their way and are out of touch with what matters, with regards to creative practice in NI.

 

As Bronagh always says, 'We are all one' ;)

As some who has been running a small artist based gallery and workshop for nearly 25 years,which has had 600 yes 600 pounds in funding in all those years ,and were a good mixture of people from all walks of life attend our exhibitions,and workshops.I can remember the last time I went to the OBG an exhibition of ceramics, these pots were placed in glass or plastic  cases maybe 30 or so pieces,I was totally pissed off the environmental impact of this work, the look don,t  touch aspect.Maybe that just summed up the OBG itself or that type of attitude.I agree with a lot Sam has said and have watched to my horror at the rise of the curators and their heir of importance,without artist whom or what would they curate.

I truly believe we need to shift away from an obsession with ego and a cult of 'celebrety' in the arts. There are too many 'curators' 'coordinators' and 'representatives' who sadly..deep down are driven by the progression of their own careers. Too many people want to be 'famous'. Too many try too hard to be more 'cutting edge' than the rest....to be 'seen', 'admired' , to be 'winners'..to be seen with the right people and to grasp the photo opportunity.

 The result is that decision making is often driven by the agenda of the individual rather than the agenda of the project. Like DJ s..some 'curators see themselves mixing and tweaking the work of others too try to become more famous than those who made the original music.

So many administrators, council workers and arts managers need to tick the boxes to say they have fulfilled that years funding criteria..that year's popular political agenda. After all that is what they are being paid for. As a result they can't really be creative.

I can hear the moans of disagreement form here!...but if we all really search our hearts we know that is the truth. I dont mean to be deliberately critical but such behaviour has been part of human nature for a long time. I certainly don't believe I will change that with a few words in a blog! What I do believe is that the way to get the truth is to ask questions. Questions of others and questions of ourselves. Those who employ and fund organisers, curators, workers, advisors and consultatnts should remember what their FUNCTION is . WE need to stop treating the 'public' like the unclean who simply make our galleries untidy by actually coming in and looking....How dare they do this without having attended the three hour seminar and curatorial lecture held the night before!!!!!

 

Above all we must love art. Those who make art should love it. Those who manage it should love it and those who look at art should be encouraged to love it. Yes ..this sounds idealistic. Yes, it even sounds romantic but you know what?.....I don't care because I think its important.

 

Sam, agree completely with all you've said, love is indeed the answer, I believe this to my core. 

Funding bodies are bereft of such notions. there is nowhere on the application form for anything so ephemeral, physical or spiritual! Try talking to ACNI about passion, love and genuine feeling for the arts. I have! They, like all politico's will smile, nod their heads and seem in complete agreement. Even before you leave it will be disappearing like ether into the air, as they smile to themselves at your cute naivety! I've seen this look all too often. 

We will achieve no change until we change our institutions, They believe in dry, dull governance, accountability, filing, sober management and assigning positions to 'properly' qualified bores! BCC, the same. They see everything in 'monetary value' progression of the 'creative industries' etc. And what that means is helping the successful futher along, while jumping on the bandwagon of said success; all their decisions are based on fashion, political agendas, fear and ignorance. But rest assured they will never come knocking on your door or mine for advice or pointers! Because most of all they fear for their 'phoney-baloney' jobs, their continued standing in society and the fact that what they do most is attend meetings and go on long lunches.

As I've mentioned before, nowhere in the UK or rep' of Ireland is the gap between artists and arts administrators so wide. Why is this so, well here in Ulster there is a more than thirty year history of division, which has left people in power who see culture, language and arts as being of one 'opposing' political persuasion, one which they have no empathy with! Not that they ever saw arts as being of any importance. It doesn't make cars or generate electricity!

Some effort has gone into the councils retaining and attaining power over monies for the arts, why? so they can give it to their respective 'orange' or 'green' recepients...in other words, those who directly vote them in.

In the main, those who apply and attain the salaried positions of authority in our galleries and arts organisations are at base, scared, suspicious and down-right contemptous of the 'doers' because they do what the managers cannot! Make original art, have original ideas! For this, they are held at arms length and occaisionally thrown scraps from the table.

 As you say these same Managers, over-paid and ego-driven, attend junkets all over the world while climbing the ladder of success in arts administration. We live in the most conservative country, with a top-heavy civil service right across the board. Self-sustaining and self-interested.

Art is by it's nature anarchic, questioning of authority, individual, overtly liberal! So the powers that be keep a lid on it, firmly! Fear is the chief player here.

I no longer waste my energy attempting to change 'arts officer's minds, when there aren't any. Only salaried employees reading off their job descriptions to the letter. Looking to impress their own Managers, who are more conservative than they.

Example: is there one sentence, report, idea or view expressed by one such as I mention!

Anna see what you started I suppose you can say that no it cant be saved and there does not seem to be the row there was before when it closed. Royce dont get me started on PR. Love the discussion here, love the creativity coming out of Northern Ireland at the moment . Love the freedom that the internet and social networking brings to the community. Love the wider debate. Looking forward to seeing what happens next and being part of it.

Hi I don't really care if it closes what did it do outside of it's clique, waste public money. The building should still be owned by the city council it should have been promoting local art but not trying to compare itsself with the tate modern. I have gone to ACNI backed galleries and asked what are the criteria for having work exhibited and was told there was a committee. Only to discover that no committee existed. With the help of public money these galleries have been able to create their own little clique and profit from the public contribution. No one is held to account for the money that is wasted or miss directed. The ACNI is like Stormont, it doesn't have to account for it's failures.

When oh when will discrimantion end in this little island?

Been saying thi

s for years Sam (quote below)
the desire for fame and the desirability to be near fame is the absolute antithesis of honest creativity.

find myself agreeing with pretty much everything that's being said, thankfully by those more knowledgeable and eloquent that myself. so I'll just nod along,
this is a great thread, but what can we actually solve here?

Myself, recently I've decided just not to bother here (N.I.)any more. I have always refused to sell out, wimp out, water down or be a f+++ing hob-nobbing smoozer. I wouldn't be any good at it for a start. I'd love to do a proper show in my own country but I can't see myself wasting any more time thinking about it. I've sold some old paintings this week, and had a few interested parties contact me about showing in like minded group shows. .....all American (well one sale in Belgium) all based entirely on my work, and there won't be any 'we better check that you're not going to offend anyone' crap either.


but anyway...great discussion.

sam fleming said:

I truly believe we need to shift away from an obsession with ego and a cult of 'celebrety' in the arts. There are too many 'curators' 'coordinators' and 'representatives' who sadly..deep down are driven by the progression of their own careers. Too many people want to be 'famous'. Too many try too hard to be more 'cutting edge' than the rest....to be 'seen', 'admired' , to be 'winners'..to be seen with the right people and to grasp the photo opportunity.

!

Have you all read the secret why the Ormeau baths closed post?

Well said I agree totally

sam fleming said:

it is sad to lose any venue for visual art in belfast. However, as I have stated in my blogs, I believe there is a danger of too many significant gallery spaces in Belfast persuing the same curatorial agenda. Namely, conceptually and academically driven exhibitions . Of course we need this and we need to encourage the mainstream public to be challenged by different experiences .

Over several years I have taken my art students to a different belfast gallery every week. My experience has been that there has been an increasing similarity in the content and presentation of visual arts. I also notice how devoid of visitors these spaces are. There has been an increasing lack of breadth. Yes there are lots of venues in Belfast showing lots of different things but the bigger institutions, the ones which are regarded as important public venues have been in danger of disappearing up their own discourse. possibly losing touch with broader tastes as they become more attractive to academics and their institutions.

'Public 'Art galleries are the medium through which we communicate art to the public! There is almost a fear that if the public 'understand' it then maybe its not good art! We need to stop the habit of indulging our private curatorial desires within the gallery and then ( maybe) opening our door to let the public have a peek. The result? Interesting shows written about by many but seen by no one. Curators trying to be artists.

I do not suggest 'dumbing down' public art experience. I do suggest making that experience broader and at times more accessible. Yes, great art can be these things and the sooner we have the maturity and self belief to embrace this concept the better. The loss of a gallery is sad but the loss of creative diversity and democracy is a tragedy.

In its defence the OBG did put on some big popular shows....

Gilbert and Geroge, David Burn and Yoko Ono stand out and Howard Hodgkin more recently. Plus it was for along time the only place were one could go to see contemporary Art.

I agree that it does suffer from not having a good cafe or shop attached to it - Galleries should also be meeting places

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