We Are Seven: Artist Commune Project

The We Are Seven Commune Project was a month long artist residency for Seven New York based artists. A collaboration between Grizedale Arts and The Wordsworth Trust, the artists were based in the scenic tourist hub of The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Lake District, UK. Artists were Ian Cooper, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Rachel Foullon, K8 Hardy, Adam Putnam, Dana Sherwood, Allison Smith.

Location: Edinburgh

The Embassy is a non-profit making artist-run gallery. The gallery holds a yearly programme of exhibitions and events, hosts video and performance nights at Edinburgh College of Art, and exhibits at off site projects including Zoo Art Fair.
Current Embassy Committee:
Angela Beck
John A. Harrington
Norman James Hogg
Daniella Watson

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

As the discussion proceeding Rachel's interesting presentation on the nature of ideas, and how they take from, the conversation moves towards: Ideas in art & creating something with a particular audience in mind…

Pamela Sturgis - You can't create any work of art if you are worried about being criticized, its got to be much more honest than that surely, you make work because you've got to do it. That is why you do it. In the art world there are many different strands, which are tolerated, some strands will be laughed at more one group, others will laugh at other things, ridiculed or criticized…It isn't something you can escape from.

Hamish (A poet in residence) – All sorts of things go on at the same time now where are before that wouldn’t have been the case, in a way it’s quite different…

Ian Cooper- What do you guys think of the idea of doing something for theoretical approval? Or for the theoretical viewer?...

Hamish – I think this is just quite psychological you impress someone in the same way which you might wish to impress your father. Certain figures you try to impress. You all must have figures you admire. I can’t think of anything being achieved without this intense admiration that allows you to follow, at least at the beginning. You must have thought would these people have admired what I’ve done and this must have either encouraged you or…

Rebecca – (a poet in residence)Do different poets, writers and artists and practitioners engage with each other in the states because I don’t think that happens so much there doesn’t seem to be a dialogue in London so much…

Hamish - Well art is much more big business, poetry is very very small.

Daphne – Oh really? Well one of my best friends is a poet and I talk to him a lot.

Allison – I think its starts in the schools, in the states a lot of the art world in cantered around the graduate programmes, and those are still very segregated in terms not only of writing and visual art, but even in the visual arts there’s still a great deal of segregation between painting and photography for example, there’s definitely cross germination and dialogue though

Hamish – I don’t know about segregation though, its just people do different things. The art world is surely so much bigger, the consumption of images, they always have. Poetry is connected to literacy, and that’s always been very small. Poets are addressing very small numbers of people. Compared to the number of people who are potentially buying paintings.

Ian – I think the main difference may not be the media but the direction of ideas or for a superficial idea of the subject matter or something because there are a lot of writers that are not only writers in their own right but are also involved in the art world in some ways. And a lot of it is sort of alignment. Just thinking of the seven of us, all our practices are ridiculously different, we are all here as artists 'we are seven', who is to say that making a video, or object should be in the same field. The fact that poetry has been separated from visual art, artists make text pieces, I think it’s more about an alignment of beliefs and ideas. We all draw from the same well of ideas, I am not close with that many painters for instance, and maybe I don’t share a lot of the same pools. We don’t have the same dialogue as I do with someone like Adam P.

Hamish - Of course poetry is only a small part of writing, it’s a peculiar art in the world of writing I suppose. There’s something we were saying earlier about everything happening at the same time. The truth of Romanticism, the French revolution, the idea behind it was that man, nothing determines destiny except himself, one’s destiny is political one can select and chose it ones self. This slowly sort of permeates through. The variety of practice you are commenting on, everyone chooses what they can do and so it reflects that dawning of truth that there’s nothing actually telling you what to do. And on the other hand they lose any sense of being absolute or final towards some greater end, there isn’t. So you get an odd compromise.

Allison – So for you in your work does that, is there something about that kind of state of thinking that you attach yourself to in terms of being a poet? Now in this day and age when not only there are so many options, everything’s so liberal as you say, homogenized, there is a movement in poetry there’s many different streams of thought. Is there something Romantic for you? Knowing that it’s for this very small audience and the history in that…

Hamish – You mean is it a nostalgia in me that drives me to do it?

Allison – Sure, yes.

Hamish – No I don’t think it is because…no no it’s not a nostalgia, I wouldn’t say that no. What it is I don’t know.

Extract form a conversation with Ian Cooper conducted in the third week of the residency

Daniella - How does the actual experience of the Lake District differ from any ideas about the place you may have had?

Ian - It's quite similar to what I imagined, partially because in the North East of the United States we have a lot of area that's sort of similar, like Vermont or Maine. Where there's a sort of rolling landscape and, there's a connection between the towns but its, you know its sort of an adventure getting to each one. But the big difference I wasn't really prepared for was the landscape. The elevations are so dramatic, because I think for most places in America are relatively flat and especially places that are as pastoral and rural as the lakes. With cows and sheep and everything, are really like flat landscapes. So this seems like a hybrid, it sort of seems that the animals rule the landscape.

D - To what extent do you feel the We Are Seven commune project has been a demonstration of your attempt to construct a sense of your own community and an act of rebellion, or resistance to society? Has any sense of community been affected by the experience of living in the tourist hub of Grasmere?

Ian - Well I think that for one thing, selecting 7 People that are from one area that all know each other, you know at leatt a little bit, you already kinda created this readymade clique of people. I think it would be a different situation if, say, six other people from all over the place had been selected, as there is this pre-described community and that you're sort of plonking down within another community. So there's already like, a sort of strong union of seven and you know the Wordsworth Trust or Grizedale arts have there own situation. So there's less of this kind of integration inherently, it's like a defense mechanism.

I was just in Oxford, which is quite a different town from here, obviously, and I witnessed a tour bus with about, it looked like about 45 Italian or Spanish teenagers, aged around fourteen or fifteen, getting off the bus, and all of them had the same bright red back packs. So there's this sense of unity, its almost like a costume, or a uniform and, they were sort of immediately presumptuously noisy and aggressive and its like pack mentality. Whereas me and Rachel (Foullon) going there, two people navigating quite quietly and observing things. But I think if the seven of us had all gone it would have been quite a louder experience both audio and visual too. We all look a certain way, you know, and collectively it has this sort of Adam's Family effect, right?

Continued interview with K8...

Daniella :To what extent would you say that the We Are seven project is a demonstration of resistance, rebellion, or perhaps an attempt to construct your own sense of community within the group and have these ideals been challenged by living in Grasmere itself

K8 :So you said to what extent is the project a rebellion?

Daniella :Through community or coming to a place and stamping your own identities

K8 :Do you feel that we are doing that?

D :I don't, but I imagine with a commune that it was something about going to a place and working as a group, and infiltrating the place in a way, and coming from the States that you have your own identities.

K :Well I wouldn't say that we are a rebellion necessarily, we're brought here and supported by Grizedale and Wordsworth so we're part of their operation, their institution so...How well we fit into it is questionable and indiscernible to myself. I don't think that Wordsworth has brought artists in and it seems to be something new for Grizedale also. I don't think that intentionally we are a rebellion, that the idea of us coming here is an act of rebellion. We really looked forward to it and to work together as artists. I think the idea of a commune in general like a real commune is a rebellion against society. We are not a real commune, I think that we are re-enacting a commune.

D: What would you say differentiates you as an artist seeking something from the lakes from a non artist/tourist who is also seeking something from the lake district? How do you approach your enviroment in a different way to say someone who has come on a tour bus?

K8 Hardy: Before I said that we are as much toursits and I still agree with that. But I constantly think about it , you know when I walk out of the door I see people desperatly taking photographs to try and capture their trip or Wordworths cottage or something and in the States there will literaly be a sign with a camera on it which basically means that 'this is a good place to take a photograph' and I think about these places that are constatnly photographed over and over. So I would have to say that the biggest differences between the average tourist and myself is not only in age generally, but there is some sort of critical analysis of the situation that we are in, thinking alot more about what it means to be here, where we are from, an awarness of how we produce images and how we fit in a space or not and I think that is part of our art world stance. Its a bit deconsrtuctive, its a bit critical and constantly enquireing into this. Yes I should take a photo of Wordsworth cottage before I leave to have on my own but it is probably on the internet. I am interested in what it means to constantly produce things in photograph and as images. Everyone has a digital camera and everyone is snap , snap, snapping away. We are producing such a mass of images that I am a little confused. If anything I feel a little neglected as an artist here. I want to have discussions with people and show them my work and see what they are thinking.

D Do you think that the twice weekly meetings and in the retunda and at the discussions has been benificial? Hearing about the other of the seven but also the extended discussions that have come out of them... do you think that they could have been approached in a different way that could have allowed you to get to know more about their individual practices, about their opinions as well? Do you think the discussions could have been channeld in a differerent way?

K8 Well I think that the idea of the discussions is really great public forum. I thought it would have been great to have had a chance at a public open studio... if people would like to know more about an artists practice well you cant really learn about that in a meeting. That could have happened. As an artist you want to show people your work and see what sort of dialogues thatb would create, and this is far different from the New York art world and I would get totally different feedback. I think if we had have been asked to just present out art it would maybe of been less engaging. I am not sure. I had few preconceptions. I was pretty much baffled until I arrived. The first two weeks at summer hill were nicer in terms of dealing with tourists but here it was a little exhausting as there is just too many tourists around here but on the other hand there is just as many walks, and you could find solitude. I can see that this is just like a retreat here but on the other hand is just boatloads of not very well thought out tourism.

D It terms of your interactions within the commune, how do you feel as an individual within a group? How do you feel it has gone?

K8 The two different cottages has severly hampered the idea of the commune. I mean we still exist like that and we are still a team but we have to start splitting up the money and the kitchen and you know groceres. One night they are up till one playing a puzzle and we are just here not knowing what is going on.

D So do you think that when you were at Summerhill you got the groundwork done and got the ball rolling?

K8 I think so yeah. There was much more time for group interaction and room and stuff like that but they both have there ups and downs. I think that the greater part of the commune exists in comradory which is what I think you were talking about. You know democratic communal living being achived or what have you. It was never really laid down. It was rather felt that we would intuitive it as free thinking individuals coming together. I just took things as they came and I guess for me the only things that could improve and still can is just resources and you know there is an archive right across the street and we can't get into it! We dont have access to it. Things like that could have improved. Just efforts to be condusive to our desperate practices could have been improved.

Interview with Allison Smith-

Taking place at the end of August just before the end of the project. Alli
son was working on Notion Nanny (an example of a traditional notion nanny can be seen in the image above), a project developed with B + B, The Qube, Oswestry and in association with Craftspace Touring. She met with local makers of craft, in order to learn about the revolutionary potential of traditional skills. Rather like a nomadic apprentice Allison was in search certain local traditional skills such as basket weaving and lace making and potential revolutionary dialogue.

Daniella-What differentiates you as an artist-tourist from a non-artist tourist?

Allison- I want to say I'd be looking at the landscape differently, but I don't know weather that would be entirely true, in a way I probably am like a lot of other tourists, I think because of my project I am doing here there are a lot of specific things I thought this place could deliver, or I have particular things I am looking for.

D- Do you feel the Lake District has lived up to any pre-conceived ideas you may have had about the place?

A- The Lake District is beautiful, my preconceptions are met, I had also heard that it was also touristy, so I was not surprised to see tour buses. I have been trying to experience this area by getting to know people who have actually been living and working here. I came to the Lake District to engage with local makers. I tried to do research before I got here, to locate people through word of mouth, in order to engage people in a dialogue about the work they do.

I am interested in historical re enactments; I recently did a sort of civil war re-enactment with artists. I have been interested recently about notions of making as re-enactment and studio practice a historical re-enactment.

D- Which particular ideas and interests (I am thinking of your muster project) fed into your conception for the commune project?

A- The was the first time I had started to imagine my work as a public enterprise, and the desire came to produce a kind of dialogue or community around my work. With The Muster, the idea gains momentum and people get involved, and even though things get made and shown, the core energy is around a collective dialogue. Being in a "commune" was intriguing to me in that sense, that part of making work is this dialogue, so I wanted to think about different ways of articulating that or just to expense it. But I never conceived of this residence as a commune project per se.

D- How have the twice weekly meetings been part of informing those dialogues?

A- Everyday I am having great conversations with everybody. There is something to be said for "deadlines" and for making our dialogues public. I think we have all taken our time and our projects here seriously.

D- Could you comment on the staddeling effect of being involved with both Grizedale and wordsworth trust.

A- To me I don't think that they are impartial observers. It has become increasingly clear that the we Are Seven project, was expected to be more than a communal residency, rather a project about communes, a fictional commune. Even though we all sort of knew we would be living and working together, we weren't prepared to theatricalize our time here. We were thinking in terms of wanting to have time to think and work productively, not to engage in a Utopian fantasy, or to parody it either...

It seems that Grizedale's approach is more about challenging the premise of artist's residencies, which perhaps we had taken for granted. Are they trying to teach artists a lesson, American artists in particular? At its worst moments it has felt like we are being treated like the unwitting participants of a reality TV show. Like "lets see what happens if we put these American artists in a situation and start the cameras rolling…What are they going to do?" The very notion of "how this experience has lived up to my pre-conceived ideas" belies an assumption that we arrived with false or naive hopes. I can understand if the organization wants to challenge people's assumptions about the Lake District, in which case they could have engaged us in a mutual dialogue about that. But it is quite a different thing to feel you are being spoken about in the third person and scrutinized at a distance.

Even if I could embrace this idea that, for the sake of an art project, we are here to form a temporary commune, it's hard because there was no initial drive on our part to do so, and furthermore, knowing you are being watched often brings forth a natural desire to rebel, to defy expectations. It makes your mind wander, creates a mental noise..."what's being expected of us?" as opposed to "by us, for us." It also feels like we were being given an assignment.

A lot of us a genuinely interested in notions of the "romantic", particularly with respect to history and landscape, and we are aware of the constructed nature of both, as well as the trappings of nostalgia. There's a very heavy sense of criticality and questioning of romanticism within the culture of Grizedale, obviously. It's just ironic that in this case it is their institutional heavy handedness which makes it difficult to experience the romantic, not, for me, the so-called "let downs" of the actual place. I have felt more let down by the prescriptive and cynical institutional point of view I have encountered here more than anything, which has made it difficult to explore romantic engagement or detachment on my own terms. It's as if there is a correct answer and we are getting it all wrong.

D- To what extent have you felt scrutinised or observed?

A- Little things like in the beginning if we were being given our money, it was like, "wait let's record this, how are they going to deal with this?" I just feel like somehow we are being made fun of in some ways. I could give you examples...

I've had a really amazing experience though, despite the fact that there is little apparent interest in our particular projects and instead their interest lies in the idea of a commune that is destined to fail, which really feels like a set up. I have met some really interesting people, learned some new skills, and had great conversations with the other six artists. I have started a blog at www.notionnanny.net thaat details my experiences so far.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Extract from interview I conducted with K8

K8 Hardy works with video, film, print and performance and is a founding member of the publishing collective LTTR, a queer feminist art journal, lesbians to the rescue.

(image Wynne Greenwood and K8 Hardy, New Report Morning Edition performance documentation)

Daniella - That's interesting you mean its like a reenactment of a commune...?

K8 - A commune, this is not our real lives...in the Lake District...we are all individual artists in New York City. so this is far from our real lives.

Daniella - Did you have any ideals or sense of wanting to construct your own sense of community as a group rather than being here as individuals. And if so were these ideals challenged by living in Grasmere, with the tourists etc? Was this a distraction?

K8 - Yeah, I think the tourism is a distraction, I think it being a tourist town is a distraction, I mean tourism is a distraction in its essence, right? Or an attraction. But we are tourists as well, its a little unsettling to see the buses swoop in and loads of tourists get of and swarm the town like little ants, as far as creating a commune, being productive, I don't know...

Daniella - well how about the idea of being a group of people here...?

K8 - Well I feel like we kind of are like the tourists, but living here perhaps a bit more jaded about tourism in general, and you know I think we are quite complicit, we are an attraction, we give talks...

Extract from interview with Adam Putnam

(image below blue corner as featured in Adams solo exhibition at Sandroni Rey)

Adam's practice is based in performance, photography and video. Recently taking interior architecture as his main point of departure, he creates intimate inanimate spaces which begin to perform through light variations within itself. These become literally charged with its own presence, the stage becomes actor.

Daniella - could you outline some of the preconceptions of the Lake District you may have had before arriving?

Adam - I didn't quite know what to expect actually, I think on the one hand it's a lot less...I think I was expecting something a lot more rugged but by the same token there is a feeling of history that I wasn't expecting just in terms of the houses, stone walls and such.

Daniella - And how about other elements like Grasmere village itself?

Adam - I saw images of the little hamlet and I was a little surprised by the actual town, I didn't wasn't prepared for so many hotels or...I didn't realise that this was such a tourist destination, I felt like the whole area was a tourist destination and I was expecting something more like a small town, not endless hotels and souvenir shops on the other hand, it's quite nice to see all the different kinds of people. I guess I'm surprised at how many people come here, it wasn't something that I had heard of before the residency.

Extract from interview with Rachel and Ian, talking here about particular aspects of the residency

Daniella - To what extent you've felt observed and scrutinized throughout your residency at The Wordsworth Trust?

Rachel - Well my first impulse is to say i don't feel observed at all, I don't feel like anyone's being looking in on us. I have had the paranoid big brother thought, are there cameras in here? Just as a passing thought, because maybe I feel under scrutinized or something, for one thing I feel like this the commune thing is kind a funny because we've really been treated as this group. That's very unusual for artists because usually its so about an individual, your work and what you have to say about it. To me its strange and funny and unexpected that we are at week three and a half of this month long residency and nobody at Grizedale knows anything about what I do in New York, as an individual. Or my own multi-part practice. You are I have talked about the curatorial stuff but I've really not shown my stuff to anyone. In a way I think thats nice, its like a break from it but at the same time its starnge to think that I'll leave here having met a bunch of people and nobody really knows what I do or what I think about on my own.

I have subsidized that for the purpose of the group. Its very unusual.

Ian - I definitely think its unusual I mean in most cases artists are put in groups, specifically in exhibition or publication context. But its always that its the work thats in the group, and the individuals are sort of secondary. The personalities are secondary, theoretically its that the work has been grouped. And in some senses the way Allison curated, bringing the six of us, there is a commonality to our work. But whether or not light has been shed on that? The thing I think particularly about the Wordsworth Trust...its between the Grizedale Arts residency and The Wordsworth Trust and one of those groups is an arts group and the other is a literature and poetry group, primarily. We happen to be living at the latter, almost every individual who has asked us about our work, and their ideas about art are not that contemporary, lets say.

(image of Ian's work below titled Killed Revealed courtesy the artist)

To a certain extent I do feel scrutinized, not as an artist and not as an individual, but as an American put up here, payed for etc. And recently we've had some conversations with people and there is a little bit of latent hostility or...but we've come quite close with the poets in residence which has been amazing and enriching. I do feel impotent here though, I am not in my world, I don't have all the things I need to make things. In a crazy sense its about when is the next meal and how to deal with that

Rachel - I think this project, while its a great experiment, I think it does acknowledge the fiction of trying to observe artists at work because like any experiment behaviour changes when you are being observed. I also just think many elements I feel are superficial, how can we be observed as individuals interacting if Grizedale or anybody knows us as individuals. Theres never been any sort of introduction to us as individual agents.

(image of Rachel's work titled Pioneer Place Car Souvenir)

Daniella - So do you feel some sense of being watched almost like a reality TV show? To feel exploited in the fact that the project wasn't clarified (by whoever) to you, or even the idea what it might actually be about? And it was really left up to you to decide, do you feel...

Rachel - I think that no matter what it was an amazing experience to give a group of artists money and time and a place to just be. That is the most amazing gift, to me in my mind that is what the grant is for, and everything else is the framework you have to give it structure for whoever is approving the funding.

Ian - There are residency programmes in the States where a group of artists have a living situation, each artist gets a studio and they are expected to work in the studio somehow. So that was one thing that wasn't really thought out...there was more of a scramble of where are these people actually going to sleep at night, so I think just by that alone the focus became the living situation. This panic of this house is just not that inhabitable. When people decided that the Sykeside cottage was just fine, and I found myself cleaning this filthy toilet covered in urine and hair and shit, I was like what am I doing? What am I doing here right now? Certainly living and cleaning are things that might happen in life but the idea that we had to ad hoc a living situation and then make it ready for us...setting you aside, nobody was really interested in putting forward the effort.

Daniella - How do you feel the (twice weekly) meetings have gone. Do you feel that thats been the main output, the time when you can be listened to. Do you think that going with a presentation has been the best approach?

Ian - If it was just us- the Seven- tonight I would be doing a different presentation. Because everyone has a semblance of what I do, I have things I want to talk about but bringing them up at the rotunda thing, out of the fucking thin air, would be so random and require so much explanation. Everyone had different opinions about this and I guess I didn't push it enough. But now that its nearing the end I really do feel strongly that we should have all had a night or several nights where we gave straight up slide lectures on our work for whoever came in the same way that the poets do.

Rachel - I feel that everyone would've been able to facilitate our experience better if they understood what we do. I'll be talking to somebody from Grizedale and all of a sudden I realize they don't know-what it is I do- Without that conext it is just superficial, or floating on the surface.

Ian - It didn't help our credentials amongst the Wordsworth Trust or Grizedale People that out of sight, out of mind, I they don't actually see the work that we have accomplished, and some of the people in this group are pretty fucking accomplished. If you just see us as people just going 'Oh shit theres no bed to sleep in' then all of a sudden we are just some random civilians.

Rachel - The other day Richard Stanton from The Wordsworth Trust said "A bunch of pathetic artists from New York in conversation" and he has no idea what we do. There's all this insanely successful stuff that nobody knows about us.

Ian - Arguably nobody should need to know, but that is not the way the world works.

Daniella - Do you think it would've been better to find your own structure, maybe having more regular meetings with slide talks?

Rachel - Some of the artists in the group didn't feel like they needed that. I feel that If I were to structure the programme for another group of artists I would route it in a core lecture series on the artists work and then the twice weekly things are incredibly valuable, to open something up to other people, writers, administrative staff. Returning the artists voice to the archive.

Daniella - Do you think there has been a misunderstanding about the Commune Project, and the kinds of activities that you would be engaged in?

Ian - We are engaged in so many things here

Rachel - I think we do lots of things that the people who live here never do. We go all over to seek out car boot sales. We are meeting so many people that live here, and we are so excited about this other cultures junk.

Ian - to come here for some downtime from our busy schedules is amazing but when you get the feeling that there is some nebulous hidden agenda or structure that somehow we are not fulfilling, we start to feel guilty, and we want to just use this time as planned or as not planned.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dana Sherwood's Dove cottage presentation.
Breaking out of the confines of the Wordsworth Trust Rotunda Dana decided to host her event within the wonderful spooky surrounding s of Dove Cottage. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived here for eight and a half years from 1799-1808. The cottage is Grade 1 listed and is a remarkable tourist attraction, with over 70,000 visitor's passing through each year. On this particular evening in August as the photographs show the cramped conditions helped to foster the charged atmosphere. Rather than conducting a talk about her own work Dana invited Robert Williams a local artist and Fine Arts leader of Cumbria Institue of Art and Design to stage an event.

Dana- I thought that this was a really good opportunity that instead of talking about my own work, for me I was interested to learn something different. I had been hearing a lot about Robert Williams for the past couple of years, about his work and interest in the supernatural, taxonomy and natural history. All these subject are very intriguing to me, and so since he is also from the area I invited him to come and talk at my talk.

Robert- What was in my mind when Dana asked me to do this event was that given the relationship that this building has to a writer, to the literary tradition and given the idea that Romanticism had this relationship to the supernatural I though that I would bring a performance that I first did in 2003. A performance that has to have a literary relationship. So what I have to present to you is an event of several parts.

(Several members of the seven can be seen reading from the scripts that Robert has given them as part of the performance. They are in fact re-enacting a seance, which is a strange similarity to their re-enactment of a commune)

Robert- The first part (of the performance) is lots of different transcriptions of exactly the same information, the same material. The original was written in the early years of the twentieth century by a British academic, M.R. James. He is very famous within British popular literature for writing the scariest ghost stories ever written. What I want you all to do, or the opportunity I am going to give you is the opportunity to interpret and re-interpret this information and to make other things out of it. That's the whole nature of a transcription after all. Working with the same information but we are modifying and changing it and we are moving on...

(Aha, transcriptions, this is what I am working on now, and I guess what I hoped for this blog was to give voice to the many interpretations of the We Are Seven project. Roberts performance closely resembles to me the potential as a group to modify behaviour and interpretation of actions, being willing participants the whole thing is light hearted, enjoyable and does not give the feeling of being manipulated even though that is exactly the case)

Robert is seen below in grey and looking pensive ...A brief outline of the performance...Five volunteers in each group, each reads from a script and each has been given a particular letter of the alphabet to which lines they must read. This is in order to give people a new view of the events which take place and it is essential that each performer holds on to the nature of their particular given character. After the initial group reading each performer is summoned into another room and then reads the entirety of their lines out in full whilst being filmed by Robert...When each performer has fulfilled this voluntary duty the performance is completed.

Robert is seen below wearing grey and looking pensive...are things going to plan? The reasoning behind the event was not explained in advance but everybody appears to be co-operative.
An in depth discussion about the event and spiritualism generally continues long after the performance has finished.

At a certain point in the evening I thought I had seen the ghost of Wordsworth, I was a little scared until I rationalised it down to a simple case of retinal saturation. This apparition just happened to be green.

This is another short section from the very first meeting, the group are discussing potential directions for the twice weekly meetings to take...

Adam S - so do you think in each meeting a different person will lead the subject?

Adam P - Group meetings each week but one person will come to the table with something. I mean like I say right off the back I would be really interested in hearing more of your (addressing Daphne) stories about your project about you walking down Broadway, I think there is some interesting parallels with the walks through the landscape here and I was talking about with Mark, who is joining us, about his different experiences of the landscape through walking and what you might be looking for. And that is what I think I have understood through watching you constantly videotaping. Its like what is Daphne videotaping? It's a sense that its the way you see things or if you like...if two people have a conversation...Even in the past couple of days I have been thinking like...oh...I had a conversation with K8 about performance. I mean like for me I have a kinda weird idea about performance and landscape...

Daphne - Well I think we already have three fantastic themes, Walking, Performance, and Publications. Other themes? Throw out some other themes that Seven might discuss...Landscape, Romanticism, Craft, The occult, Death...

Adam P - Like the idea about when me and Dana were having the conversation about the time when she scared the shit out of me, coming into the house, I mean bedroom with an epitaph that we saw that day. I don't know...

Daphne - Coincidences...

Adam P - Geometry...

Daphne - OK these are some really good things...I am going to read them again...walking, performance, publications, landscape, romanticism, craft, the occult, death and dying, ghosts, coincidences, geometry.


Daphne - So what you're saying that when you travel you downplay your Americanisms?

Group - Yes

K8 - Well the more you blend in the more you can see...

Rachel - The other thing is that we are specifically artist tourists, we are not regular tourists at all, we are artists and I wouldn't say I feel shame with being an American, but hesitant, sometimes I feel like I am stealing something, taking something

Adam S - Yes, artists are the worst plunderers, but the relationship to England is slightly different isn't it?

K8 - Yes I feel different being in a colonial power

Allison - When I have spent time in France, its similar, when you first get there its like a privilege. Like I can fit in here, I recognize this place, I know these people and then you very quickly find out its an extremely different culture. You become very self-conscious about that and so I am feeling that that is probably operating in this space too. Its even better here too that they are speaking English, what a relief, and I am thinking I can slip into this role.

Rachel - I notice subconsciously that I have this like pass card. To be like that I am an artist and I am doing this thing here. I don't know how anyone is going to react to that, its not like its all access.

Daphne - Thats interesting because I don't feel like that way at all. I mean I definitely plunder. I do it everywhere. Whatever I am taking I am going to theoretically make it into something new that other people will get some kind of pleasure...

Adam P - The feeling of not wanting to intrude, I have that feeling from going from the city to a rural setting. It is actually more aggressive if you to rural England...Look! Here are the city slickers! I am like yeah but you don't know me! It's definitely a self-conscious insular culture, which is also built off tourism. I keep finding myself making connections between the Lake district and Maine because I have a history of going there. They have this sense that if your grandparents were not born there then you are not from there.

Adam - None of you, no one is from somewhere realistically.

Mark - I think its to do with the length of sojourn. Initially you have a sense of space, which is visually appealing, but you don't really understand it and over time this translates into place.

Adam S - For the first time in history in Britain there are more people moving out of the city than are moving in. Its only just happened. Its significant for places outside of London.

Rachel - Are the majority of tourists in the lakes English?

Adam S - I can't pull a survey to mind, but there will be one. It means a lot to the English the Lake District. Its very specific.

Allison - I think this whole idea of escape is really interesting particularly for everyone's work, you know like when is that radical? And when is that reactionary? And I think its is interesting to compare these things. You know like with William Morris who is completely commodified and considered this suburban Englishness yet in his politics was actually pretty radical. His kinda escape was about looking back to a different time a different way of making things, artists working together...its really interesting to work through that. When did it stop being radical? When did it become a tourist attraction?

Dana - We should add exile to the list.

Adam S - When you do escape to somewhere that is kind of a retreat does it lend itself to ordinary experience? One of my issues with the Lake District is its very banal interpretation of place. It should be full of more interesting place. Its very prescriptive of what the countryside should be. It should look like this. Its a complex place it is just not allowed to be.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We Are seven

The poem 'We are seven' by William Wordsworth provided a canny link between the seven artists and The Wordsworth Trust. Although indirectly linked, the magical number seven became a significant feature during the commune project. Wordsworth resided in Dove Cottage from 1799 until 1808, the cottage and surrounding landscape is a major hub for poetry enthusiasts and tourists alike. In 1890, Stopford Brooke argued that Dove Cottage should be opened up to the wider public. He stated to the board of trustees that this was an important thing because,

"There is no place,...which has so many thoughts and memories as to this belonging to our poetry; none at least in which they are so closely bound up with the poet and the poems... in every part of this little place [Wordsworth] has walked with his sister and wife or talked with Coleridge. And it is almost untouched. Why should we not try and secure it, ...for eternal possession of those who love English poetry all over the world"

This almost untouched landscape has changed, through the influx of tourists, and conflicting interests of locals, second home interlopers and other types. The commune members did not appear to engage with these problematics directly, as I imagine Grizedale Arts would wish they would and The Wordsworth Trust would hope they wouldn't. However the level of environmental consumption in The Lakes may have seemed different to these artists coming from New York. In any case this level of tourism and fetishising of the landscape keeps growing as does the amount of traffic, particularly in the peak summer season. I guess these problems shouldn't be ignored and the area should be looked at critically. However why did this residency need to be the place for this discussion to happen? Each artist came overseas with particular agendas so there was no reason for the assumption that they would prioritize these issues. They were directed by their particular interests.

William Wordsworth

We Are Seven

—A simple Child,

That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
—Her beauty made me glad.

“Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,
And wondering looked at me.

“And where are they? I pray you tell.”
She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

“Two of us in the church-yard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother.”

“You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,

Yet ye are seven!—I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be.”

Then did the little Maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,

Beneath the church-yard tree.”

“You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,

Then ye are only five.”

“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”
The little Maid replied,
“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.

“My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them.

“And often after sunset, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

“The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

“So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.

“And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”

“How many are you, then,” said I,
“If they two are in heaven?”
Quick was the little Maid’s reply,
“O Master! we are seven.”

“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”
’Twas throwing words away; for still

The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Some images from Ian and Rachel

Here are a few images Rachel and Ian kindly sent to me for inclusion on this blog. Strangely all the pics are anonymous by their lack of sevenly human presence...very interesting.

In fact all the images that the seven sent to me are without the Seven, I imagine that there is something intriguing about this. Perhaps the experience was as problematic for as I'd begun to think.

The image on the left, Balloon Shadow, was taken around the back of the Prince of Wales Hotel, a lovely posh haven for both the Seven, myself and any passing visitors. Wonderfully scenic views from quaint garden furniture vista overlooking lake. It was a real shame about all the passing traffic from all the tourists trouping through.

The exercise of this blog was primarily for them to document what was an amazing opportunity for social interactions and bonding. So although the images may be cryptic they are interesting for what they are.

I hope that there was no suspicion that it would be a mickey take. It comes down to the fact that each participant of the We Are Seven Commune Project both individually and collectively were the ones with the power and control to shape the project just as they wanted. To highlight and disseminate exactly what and on any whim they wished.

The image on the right is taken from one of the crazy displays of veg at the local Hawkshead agricultural fair. These kinds of things created fun for all, as I don't think that Rachel and Ian could believe the daft things daft English people do just to win prizes. Unfortunately this one only came second, I'd love to see what the winner did with their turnips.

This cute
picture reveals the rope at the end of the tug of war, who knows who won and quite frankly, who cares? The winners have walked off and left the object of their toil. It was never about the rope exactly, rather it was about the struggle to win it. The crate of local Ale was the carrot that broke the donkeys back. I can't help but think of the Seven artists as I look at this image and the psychological pushing and pulling with they went through (maybe I am projecting my own feelings here) whether real or imagined.

It is difficult to imagine the possibilities left open to this project, as a result of the lack of participation of the Seven, although I still think that it is inherently interesting. I see their quandary and understand completely. I would be great to have some personal accounts of the experiences of the residency. However as the cheesy saying goes a picture can tell a thousand stories.

The photography opposite shows a cat in the dark on a s
ynthetic swan at Adam Sutherland's house, I think that the swan is in fact some art from the floating world. The eyes like van headlights remind me of a hilariously scary moment when Adam Putnam was trying to navigate the Grizedale massive green minibus around the tiny rural roads using my rubbish non-driver directions. A six point turn on those 'roads' and in that vehicle was an impressive feat and amazingly we all got out unscathed thanks to Adam. The cat's wonderfully creepy eyes are staring out into the night. I wonder what secrets does the cat possess? Who knows, and more to the point, again, who really cares?

Below are two charming p
hotographs, checkered butt taken at the Cartmel agricultural fair and Daphne's sandwich taken behind the Prince of Wales Hotel. Like I said, this hotel, it was a bit of a real world haven amongst the touristic chintz of Grasmere. I have no idea what kind of sandwich this is, but somehow it looks homemade. These horticultural fairs are intriguing to me as a people watching exercise, the social class hierarchies are hysterically obvious, from the tweed wearing landed gentry to the scallies on the make with their tombola stalls. I got ripped off on a 'prize every time' stall as it turned out the only guaranteed prize was a bottle of fizzy pop worth at current market prices 15p. They just laughed at me. Charming people.

I think this selection of images gives a nice insight into the wonder that can be found in ridiculous rituals and habits that country folk have developed to ward off threats from imps, townies and tourists.

Can you believe their prices? These are the sorts of signs that you could only expect to see in this countryside-type markets, this sign's from Cartmel's (known as the medieval gateway to the Lakes) aswell. If you look closely you can see Rachel's reflection taking the photo. The slap dash nature of this sign is endearingly taped with cellotape. Its a far cry away from the sorts of signs you could expect to find in New York or even Grasmere itself, each would have its own assumed audience and rely upon a particular form of communication. Below you'll see a sign advertising low prices in somewhere like New York or Manchester... Using fancy devices such as neon, the people who want you to notice will make you notice their low prices.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cottaging the Cottages

During the first week of the project I was blown away by the seven's gung ho spirit and determination for the world to spin on their axis. I mean this in a positive sense. Honestly. Whilst others would have been mortified and sunk down to hide beneath their bhajis, I was overcome come by awe, Daphne was the opposite of me. I think I would have sat in the Indian restaurant in Ambleside for at least twenty minutes before quietly seething to myself and my companions when that table we were promised failed to materialize. Daphne made that table come to her. In a very straightforward fashion she asked a small group of people to move from their table so that we the eight of us could sit and order. And they did. With no complaints, at least not to our faces, that would not be very British.

Like a renegade fighting against slow eaters, I thought it would be great to have her around for all informal eating engagements. The last time I tried to complain after a main course took over an hour to arrive in Manchester I got abuse. The waiter said "would you like coffee Sir, sorry, I beg your pardon, Madame." Nice.

The point behind this story is to attempt to emphasize the spirit and determination of the communer's at this point. Could this be maintained in the face of adversity? The problems with Rose Cottage and 1 Sykside over at the Wordsworth Trust would prove a test of their mettle.
Whilst at Summerhill they were in the Grizedale nest and were to a great extent sheltered from the self-sufficiency that beckoned them over in Grasmere. More to the point they were missing out on the more overtly touristic experience of the Lakes, the aspect which was key to Grizedale's tourism Cumbriana Proof project. It was important that the coach loads of visitors, the continuous stream of traffic, RAF fighter planes,and the generic gift shops were all witnessed first had. Perhaps this place is ain't what it used to be.

The physical separation of the seven would ultimately pull apart the group into couples and non-couples, dividing them exactly half way through the project. It is understandable if some tensions were beginning to rise at this point, particularly for the seven. Below you will see the list of which Richard Stanton has called 'demands' written on comment slips from the nice hotel across the road from the Trust.

I must admit, as I assisted the Wordsworth Trust boys Richard and Phil in cleaning Rose Cottage it was well shabby and dirty in parts. I was too scared to sleep in the furthest part of the cottage for fear of my life. My poor boyfriend had to drag the mattress down stairs in the middle of the night whilst Dana and Adam kindled a fire.

Adam, K8 and Dana did a wonderful job of sanitizing whilst at the same time keeping a Romantic feel which its previous occupant Hartley Coleridge would've been pleased with. They made the cottage more cottage-like, in a similar fashion that the Lake District, and its many helpers, makes itself more Lake District-like. I think that they coped well with the lack of hot water and were thankful for the small comfort of a roaring fire which they made daily.

Fun and games at the Wordsworth Trust

The artists weekly discursive presentations took place in the Wordsworth Trust rotunda (pictured opposite) part of the recently opened Jerwood Center. This provided a vital focal point for both the seven and their audiences. Excerpts from these meetings and audio clips will be featured as part of this blog.

The following account of the We Are Seven commune project from the eyes of a real insider, Richard Stanton, Arts Officer at the Wordsworth Trust, and the main point of contact for the artists and myself. His writing underlines the fraught nature of the project from all sides when confusion and expectations took precedence. The following link will take you into his world...

Liberty! Rape! National Park!

A ho called liberty being raped in the park? Don't start with your quiet insightful metaphors mate, 'cos that's when I know I'm in hell.
John Constantine

It was a grey lump of a day when Adam Sutherland, the magician of Grizeadale Arts, came to Grasmere and suggested that the Wordsworth Trust collaborate on his latest project. This project would be art in the medium of humanity - combining seven artists of different styles, levels and working methods with the princely sum of £10,000 and free accommodationn for the month of August - and explore the 'existential' questions we are so used to being old to face; the cliches. How would the principle of the commune, of the self-sufficient and symbolic gathering, of the quintessentially British noble failure, survive when temptation was so easily at hand in the form of the devil's kiss, cold hard money? Would it affect their work, effect their work rate? Would they produce anything?

The basic premise fleshed out, as these things do, until we knew the name and metier of each of our seven subjects. The list was promising - from Adam Putnam who produces his own small press magazines, to Dana Sherwood seeing performance art in everyday life, to the unofficial 'leader' of the commune Allison Smith who has a particular interest in esoteric crafts such as Ruskin lace - and the commune itself ranged nicely in age, gender and sexuality. However, we noted that despite the commune berating the Lake District for the lack of ethnicity in the population as compared to their own New York, they were all white. They were also pugnacious and prepared to do battle with all-comers. Adam had pulled off a master stroke.

I, meanwhile, was embarrassing myself in front of them continually. I couldn't hide my astonishment that none of the seven had heard of Seamus Heaney, despite his opening the Jerwood Centre at the Wordsworth Trust only two months before their arrival. This was undoubtedly the most significant event in at least the last two decades for the Trust, and the presence of a Nobell Prize winner ensured good press coverage: it was clear that, despite our offering to accommodatee them, none had seen fit to even look into what kind of organization we were. The mind googles. Should we be disappointed at Americans and their repetitive reactions to indigenous cultures - the usage and discarding, the self absorbed nuance proving more than the public body- or should we by now expect nothing more from the world police and their artists? Does the drowning swimmer hold tight to his Jiminy Cricket and ensure they all meet the deep and face Neptue together? who knows.

They do: my Heaney fauz pas was followed by a moment of condescension when K8 Hardy, one of the seven, asked if I had heard of the poet Eileen Myles. I had not. Eileen Myles, I was assured by K8 and Daphne Fitzpatrick, was the model of poetic eminence in America, the paragon of the modern age of verse from our pan-Pacific cousins. I demurred, acknowledging that I could not reasonably criticise a lack of knowledge of Seamus Heaney when I was ignorant of one of America's finest. An honorable draw. Of course, my curiosity couldn't prevent me looking up Myles - she was indeed a shameful gap in my small knowledge of modern poetry. Of course, she's also K8's partner.

Adam's artwork was taking shape beautifully. The twice-weekly 'formal discussions' were proceeding apace, and delicious. The artists, after initial hiccups, were installed in Rose Cottage and 1 Sykside. Of course, we little Englanders would say that the hiccoughs were rather unnecessary. The seven had mistakenly (but I must admit understandably) taken the impression that we had a great deal of money. Alas, the Wordsworth Trust is heart-rendingly literay, approaching anyone with a love for the arts and asking for just a little more to keep afloat. But, regardless, the seven decided that, as money was not an issue, they would make a list of demands, which you may find reproduced elsewhere. Some demands were not demands at all, but perfectly reasonable requests for essentials. Others included the toaster and kettle being replaced for no apparent reason. Both houses being professionally cleaned for their two-week stay. Fetching them firewood.

We were a little surprised, but responded as best we could, and broke our own agreed rule by spending some money on the houses. Of course, the point of the £10,000 was that this would cover everything they could reasonably require on the trip. Of course, the point of Sutherland's work is that reason begins to seem a funny word to these most reasonable of people. Of course, they were proving themselves to be out for the bigger buck, the better prize, in short, the modern American Dream.

A slight digression if you will: residencies in America tend to be unpaid (even, on occasion, the artist may have to pay), in relatively low-end accommodationon, demanding, and yet still viewed as a privilege. Was our mistake to import people used to this system into our own, where the artist is paid, housed and generally allowed to get on with their work? Was our mistake to tempt them to believe in the misty wonders of Coleridge?

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree

Indeed. Who could forget the appropriation of those lines into the quintessential American film, Citizen Kane, where the opening equence follows these words with the small window of a huge house, a single window's bland monochromeme light blandly, pointlessly shining? The artists, like Kane, thought to feed on honey dew and taste the milk of paradise, but instead found only the realities of our world, which now seemed, if they had ever been a delight, to be an affront, if only you could see it for us.

Of course, people tend to appeal to you eventually, and finding ourselves among these artists proved as spiky as one might expect. A quick respect for their work formed within us: from the teasing out of horror movie trivia by Ian Cooper to the sharp short films of Daphne Fitzpatrick, turning a week into seven minutes. But modern art, as we all know, is less about talent and insight than parties and bullshit. In a world where striped sails or painted tea urns express concepts that no two critics can agree upon, the question of artistic validity becomes, rather refreshingly, a purely aesthetic reaction from the individual. With lack of consensus comes freedom and nonsensese; an escape from proscribed excellence into loose mixed bags. We could say every idea has minutes of fame.

In the end, the commune proved itself a non-commune, but this was inevitable. Withoutut the time to gel, and with fault purely on the side of the Wordsworth Trust for this, the individuals remained individuals, and brightened up our hamlet to an extent. Allison's crafts; Daphne's videos; Adam's phallic ruins, K8's phallic ruins; Dana's disturbing supernatural stockings; Rachel's pursuit of 'idea'; Ian's eye for the macabre and humourous. Someone remarked that "nothing could be less important than 80's's horror movies", but in this world of plebian television, Britney Spear's, and George Bush, nothing could be more or less important than anything. Value is decreed by search engines that place more value on Karloff than Shelley and feed a preference for trivia over knowledge. Indeed, what could be more important than trivia - did you know that the most potent magical number is seven?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Participating in the We Are Seven Commune project were Ian Cooper, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Rachel Foullon, K8 Hardy, ADam Putnam, Dana Sherwood and Allison Smith.

When I was first assigned the role of project manager for the Seven, I got slightly over excited about the prospect of working with them to articulate, present and document their discursive output and input. My notebook began to fill up with interesting and I thought innovative ways of dealing with working through and putting the groups process 'out there' for public consumption. Obviously these thoughts were only my thoughts and the really interesting thing for me would be the approaches the Seven artists made. There was an expectation about which ways they would utilize my presence and how their enforced idleness could be disseminated. There would be no way of knowing what would occur and how best to channel and irrigate their discussions when the time came.

Perhaps my over excitement and eagerness to perform got the better of me, as I got the impression that the group got the impression that there was an attempt to mould them in particular directions. I hope that wasn't the case as from my point of view I only wanted to act as a filter and facilitator for them. Maybe if I hadn't been there watching over them they would've found their own, more visible ways of operating, we could have been more open and generous in our approaches.

Anyway, twice weekly meetings were designated as the main format for Sevenly discussion and debate. The first meeting took place over at Grizedale's Summer Hill, where the Seven were hosted for the first two weeks of their commune project. This meeting proved to be a sort of damply thrashing out of possible ideas for meeting themes and possible structures, with an interesting discussion on the nature of operating as an artist/tourist. Adam Sutherland (Director of Grizedale) suggested that the group had the potential to use the commune project in a directly performative way. (See www.themuster.com for an illustration) However horses led to water aren't necessarily gonna drink...Here's a little snippet.

Daphne- Shall the meeting commence? What do you say seven?...I was thinking that maybe we should establish how long we should have these meetings for. Due to audience exhaustion I don't think they should be more than one hour. More or less...

K8- Audience being?

Daphne- Whoever, well today we have three audience members, but other days we'll have more...If its interesting I would say that if we are in some kind of heated argument...(laughter) debates are happening...Then maybe we can go over a bit.

Adam Sutherland- Are you going to have the meetings at seven? Are you going to do everything in multiples of seven? Seventy minutes?

Adam Putnam- Well one thing that me and Rachel talked about before when we were off some place is that some of us know everyone's work and some of us don't and at some point it would be great to have like kinda an intro to everyone's work somehow?

K8- Like a background? Well aren't we having Wednesday and Thursday meetings?

Adam P- Well the idea was that...The Wordsworth trust invited us to meet us and we can invite everyone there to our cottage to have five minutes to present what we do and have some wine...

Daphne-...I wonder...I would kinda argue against that and say why? Everyone does that. I am more interested in what we are going to do here. What purpose to go through slides? Why not focus on the here and now?

Adam S- Quite a lot of the people at the Wordsworth trust would be interested in what you do and there would be no reason not to...What do you call it...Feed their interest.

K8- I think we should work in our background if we are leading a meeting. And if you have something completely separate then arrange a time after the meeting to meet up and find out what we do.

I think this would have been a good idea with hindsight (of course) Giving opportunities for the seven to collaborate and discuss their experiences and group dialogue, as Daphne puts it 'focus on the here and now' The idea K8 has of almost We Are Seven daytime workshops would have worked well also. However the conversation continues...

Adam P- Yes, let them find out what you do.

Ian- One thing I would say to counteract that a little bit...I mean its all very interesting...Is that people project whatever you do and it is always a misconstrued version of that. It seemed that everyone we talked to at the cocktail event (Wordsworth trust reception and introduction event) thing seemed too willing to help but were curious about how they could help. Maybe by informing people as to what we have done and seeing where our interests lie and seeing physical things and documentation might make it a little more grounded...

Adam P- It's a conversation starter, I mean amongst ourselves...

Adam S- It's kind of if you're role playing or not. There is a kind of opportunity in this quite a theatrical set up in a way. There is seven, and its quite a theatrical place, it's a museum, an archive, and its a little bit toy town as well...In a way...Because it's a tourist place...and you have the opportunity to play a theatrical role and if you make it explicit about who you are and what you do then people will certainly help you. I guess it depends on what your aims are. I guess you all have slightly different aims. But if your aims are about producing an individual piece. I mean as individuals producing work, that could be one strand but there might be another idea about what the group are doing, about what the seven are doing then perhaps it is worth thinking about that...

Daphne- Wait are you saying that it is an opportunity to treat this as a theatrical thing in itself?
Adam S- Yes

Daphne- OK, that is interesting.

And it was interesting, but after all the discussion a more conventional presentaional mode was decided upon. Idivudual projects were continued and idea of what the comuune could be was sidelined for the time being...

Please feel free to post comments about which direction you think the Seven could have gone with the project at this early stage.

Did the We Are Seven artist commune project decide to:

A) Embark upon exitstential S & M with the landscape

B) Stay in and cook food

C) Hang out with the poets at The Wordsworth Trust