You feel like a threat, don’t you?

Tate Collective Liverpool recently worked on a collaborative art project with artist Ruth Ewan and design collective Åbäke, culminating in a 32-page printed art work entitled, You feel like a threat, don’t you?  As an art work it exists officially with permeable parameters — the work is listed as an unlimited edition: the collective, Ruth Ewan, and Åbäke may agree to return to the collaborative work at a future point. The project began as a series of creative conversations and workshops between Ruth Ewan and the collective. Over the course of eight months they met regularly for workshops in Liverpool, in London for work at the British Library and at the studio of artist collective Åbäke during the production stage, as well as at Liverpool John Moores University learning how to work with a Risograph for printing. The work was collated and distributed by members of the collective within the Tate Liverpool exhibition Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789–2013, working from the Office of Useful Arts/ Useful Art Association established by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera.

You feel like a threat, don’t you? documents experiences of Tate Collective Liverpool members with anecdotes, sketches, interviews, poetry and photographs, all with a focus on the experiences of young people, their relationship to their city, and the spaces they inhabit. A copy of the publication is available here for download: You feel like a threat, don’t you?

The title of the work relates to a conversation between Tate Collective Liverpool and Ruth Ewan, where they discussed how young people relate to the spaces which they inhabit:

Me and my friends were in a family park near my house, we were only young, like 13? 14? And we’re not that intimidating, I mean, look at me! We were just hanging around on the roundabout and there were another family there. I don’t know, I definitely felt like the scary teenagers in the park, like ‘stay away from them’ or something. I don’t know, I felt in the way, a bit of an inconvenience, like, you feel like a threat, don’t you? Not like I’m threatening, but I felt a bit like they thought I might be, like a bother to them or something.

The discussion found within the 32 pages explores the idea of where young people belong. Where are there spaces allocated for young people within the city? Why are the spaces that young people choose to inhabit so often given negative connotations? Where are the young people supposed to go? The work also explores the how young people relate to art galleries as well, including a helpful dose of advice from the collective to members of staff, ending with: ‘Don’t tell them, ask them.’