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Week Nine – Farrah

The Winter Show Online Exhibition Proposal Form

In Week Eight I prepared for the deadline of the Proposal Form. There were several sections which I had to respond to, such as showing photographic and drawn evidence of my project so far, and questions about what my project would exactly entail. Overall, aside from being a necessary assignment, I found the process of filling out the Proposal Form incredibly useful. It has allowed me to know my project inside and out, and I now feel able to refine my idea for the Winter Show, and become totally prepared.

We then had to present our proposal forms to the group in class. I was rather nervous for this as I can sometimes feel overwhelmed when public speaking. However, once I started to talk through my proposal, I realised I did not have to feel nervous as I was very prepared. It all ran very smoothly, and I found the feedback at the end very useful. It was helpful to have both positive and constructive feedback as the positives allowed me to see that my project was strong and the concept useful. I was advised to source a new plinth for my timelapse as the one I have is not professional enough in appearance. Aside from presenting my own proposal, I really enjoyed hearing the others from my group. The range of responses to nature and the different pathways each has took is so interesting, and I am immensely looking forward to the Winter Show. For Week 10, I need to bring in work which I have done in preparation, such as rehearsals or scripts.

Artist Research: Rikrit Tiravanija (1961-)

Rirkrit Tiravanija is a Thai contemporary artist. He creates installations which often take the form of rooms in which people are invited to cook, share meals, read and talk; living and socialising is a key element in his work. Untitled (Free/Still) from 1992–2011 is one such work. Originally, this was where Tiravanija converted a gallery into a kitchen, in which he served people rice and Thai curry; it has been repeated since into different galleries. Although at first you could consider this work simple and be confused at why it is classed as art, it becomes clear that the boundary between the artist and the viewer is blurred.

The viewers become participants, stepping out of their traditional role as the observer, and becoming part of the art itself. The piece is conceptual, sociable and is clear how it relates to everyday life. As the participants eats the curry, talks with new people, they begin to make the art. This will never happen again in the same way, the people will be different, the elements of the curry will differ slightly, the surroundings will be slightly different, the conversation will be different. What I find interesting about Untitled (Free/Still) is that Tiravanija is relinquishing control of his own work – he sets out the elements and then steps away from it. The piece will work the same whether he is there or not, if he is there, would he be classed still as the artist, or as the participant?

Relating to my own project, I will be taking elements from Tiravanija’s work, such as the preparing, cooking and eating of the food. Although the format will be different as it will be a livestream, this will reflect the changes which have impacted our lives since the Coronavirus pandemic. I hope that my work will be featured at a lunch or dinner time, as then other people will be cooking and eating along with me, making it a sociable event. This is increasingly important due to the isolation and loneliness which has been caused since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Ten years ago, I do not think we had the same yearning for socialisation – most of us lived our lives in our own bubble, wanting our own space and privacy. I think the pandemic has changed this. It has made us see this world we craved and showed us its downsides. Personally, although before I would have rather stayed inside than gone to a party, I now want nothing more than to talk to new people, get bumped into at a busy bar, share a meal with acquaintances.

It interests me to think of the way Tiravanija could adapt his work to the current restrictions of the pandemic. There are no restaurants open at the moment, no spaces to socialise available. However, I think most of us have tried to think of solutions to these problems; we video call despite the glitching, we buy takeaways from restaurants to continue supporting them, we go for socially distanced walks with friends to be there for them. If Tiravanija was to continue his Untitled (Free/Still) in the pandemic, I can see zoom webinars with hundreds of people at dinnertime, sharing their meals and discussing their experiences. Has the room and gallery space become obsolete? I think so, I think the spirit of Tiravanija’s work is communication, which can survive through anything if we try.