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

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.


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