Fran’s thoughts since the residency began
I’ve spent most of the sessions so far playing around with lots of different little ideas, loosely based on investigating coverings, characters and hand made environments. I’ve learnt some new skills and had forays into using technology, which is a big step for me! I made a short experimental film using layered images and textures. John helped me with editing and Joe introduced me to new software to manipulate the images, which was all pretty exciting. While I am yet, a little nervously, to make anything concrete I’ve really enjoyed the freedom of the sessions; some have been surprising, I especially enjoyed the “music” day, where John brought in a range of distorting boxes, contact mics and loop pedals (there was a lot of noise and energy!) while some of them have been more quiet, with everyone just going about their business. The sessions have ended up being a good exploration for me and have acted as a catalyst in generating new ideas and possibilities.
Working with the Musgrave Kinley Archive at the Whitworth has been a real education. Looking at the wide range of work and discussing both the difficult and inspiring elements with the group has been particularly enlightening.
I think I went in with some pre-conceptions, of basically just thinking that Outsider Art was an amazing thing but, of course, it is much more nuanced and potentially problematic than that. Discussing this within the group has been interesting, especially in considering the term ‘outsider’ and the role of labelling more generally, especially in view of working with learning disabled artists. All in all, It’s refreshing to work with five other artists whose paths wouldn’t ordinarily cross - it is fun and challenging. It has pulled me out of my comfort zone, which is what I wanted, and has also been a good tool for reflection; I have definitely been questioning myself quite a lot; how I approach my work, how I collaborate and why and on and on, but this can only be a good thing!