At some point in 2019 I started to write my own 'manifesto for making'. I pinned it to my wall and would occasionally stand in front of it and frown... then cross something out, or add a new sentence. I always planned to return to it properly but never really had the time... Something in me felt like the word manifesto was wrong. Perhaps also some of the claims I was making in it weren't always true (such as always wanting to look into the eyes of the people I was engaging with). And yet it also felt important. I needed to really understand what was at the root of my practice and would do so (I vowed) when I could find the time. So I let it hang there on the wall...
In 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic I undertook a residency in the University of Winchester's Institute of Place. Because of when the residency began, and because I was literally all over the place in terms of where I was living and working, we elected that I would think about the word 'displaced' for its duration.
I had found, when the pandemic began, that I didn't want to make or to be creative (contrary to everyone else - those who weren't key-workers, ill or experiencing precarity at least). I felt displaced within my own practice, perhaps for the first time ever... This seemed therefore the perfect time to return to my manifesto. To help re-ground me.
So here it is... Still unfinished.
Or maybe fine as it is.
I can't decide.
I didn't re-write it in the end. Instead what I did was settle on a set of intentions or artistic vows for me to keep instead (you can view these on my instagram account as set of 5 small movies - called 'incomplete intentions').
An unfinished manifesto for making:
- Down with ‘only growth’ (apart from of flora and fauna)
- Down with scaling up and business models and the institution
- I don’t want to colonise the world
- I want to make things of great quality that don’t cost the earth (literally)
- I want to look into the eyes of the people I’m engaging with.
- Each person. Every pair of eyes.
- I don’t want to perform in front of an anonymous mass…
- Here’s to quality of experience over quantity.
- Here’s to making a space for people to feel and think in. Some time and space to sense who they really are. Contemplate. Life, death, values, community. Learn whose shoulders they stand on. whose histories. Work out ‘what next’. The work that still needs to be done.
- Slow making. Deep roots.
- Careful making.
- Research full.
- Fact full.
- Care full.
- With an eye on the world.
- With an ear to the ground.
- Listening out for rumblings, grumblings and noticing those only just coping.
- Less of the I and more of the we.
- Anti anger (whenever possible)
- Pro compassion.
- Pro empathy.
- Anywhere Everywhere. Mixing it up.
- non-linear. Full of entanglements.
- Pauses. Stops.
- Profit isn’t the driver (although profit can sometimes be ok).
- Prioritising richness of conversation. Richness of being in a space together… Richness of difficult togetherness.
- The value of one person simply leaving a flat for an hour. Of having a cup of tea made for them.
- The interconnectivity of everything.
An out-take from Threshold a set of images I made for Metal's publication In Other Words (2020)