GLITCH collective took over and put together an experimental line up that included Virtual Reality, a skateable exhibit, pop up workshops, live music, street food and Welsh bands in a complete departure from the galleries arguably buttoned up image. How did it happen.. how do we celebrate, and where do we go from here?
Starting any creative pursuit is fraught with difficulties, the classic ‘can of worms’ artistic process. You love your idea.. and then you start to look into the practicalities and realise… yeah, this is going to involve a lot less fun and a lot more paperwork than you thought. You were prepared to put the work in.. but damn.. ‘are meetings where ideas go to die?’
What Circuit offers to the art world is a cohort of people who are unrestricted in their initial vision by years of experience – and in the case of GLITCH festival, what it gave MOSTYN was something that would never have come around without the rose tinted vision of its organisers. Yes – there were bumps along the way, Yes – a can of worms was opened – but that was no excuse not to try.. And so problem by problem, worm by worm, the festival came around without a major hitch. This was because of the voluntary hard work of a core of people within the group – and the general drive of the group as a whole.
The festival was a huge success – as a visitor i got to see it from an ‘outsider’ perspective. I saw the space humming with activity, amazement and good old fashioned, down to earth vibes. It was a festival i would have gone to as a member of the public, with ‘legitimately’ kick-ass gigs and daring art. I so wanted the group to see it through my eyes; but often its hard to see something for what it is when youre so ‘in’ it.
As staff we are the ones repeatedly having to reign back ambitious ideas into ones that are workable and practical. BUT it could be argued that what the art world needs to reconnect with its audience are ideas that are playful – ambitious, and uninhibited – and for those ideas to even be voiced – there needs to be a level of energy, disregard for the institution.. and importantly, INexperience.
A major part of the Circuit programme is the creation of young professionals.. but should we ask ourselves.. is there such a thing as ‘over professionalising’?
Im sure it is as true in other groups as much as it is true at MOSTYN, that negativity, once it takes hold, is hard to slough off. Its just natural when the idea you loved so much is reigned back in order to make it happen. How can we help our creatives step back and really appreciate how awesome their work is, how unprecidented and affecting it is for other young people in the area?
I recently went to a derby talk called ‘Train your brain: Mental toughness in Roller derby’ And one of the subjects covered was the idea of ‘resetting’. Roller derby is played in bouts – and the idea of ‘resetting’ is that no matter what happens in your last bout, no matter how frustrated or tired out you are by the other team or your own performance, you set yourself rituals to reset your mind, so that you can face the next round with positive focus.
For me i can easily see how the idea of ‘resetting’ could apply to creative projects. After each exhibition or event, after each ’bout’ you reset your goals, talk to yourself positively, do a power pose (wide spread feet, open arms, ref. picture of Mick Jagger) and visualise where you want to go next. Maybe Circuit should develop some rituals around resetting and celebrating the culmination of long term projects.
Linking up with other organisations, bringing in mentors, and remembering to make sessions fun, cannot be underestimated as tactics to reinvigorate tired collectives (and as any creative professional knows, the risk of experimentation is that it can often be tiring and disappointing!) We need to constantly reset – as individuals and as groups – in order to keep up morale when working towards our goals.
One idea to help reset post-festival that the group have put into place is bringing in visiting mentors. These mentors come from outside of the organisation, and therefore are less held back by ‘the way things are normally done’ and appear to bring the group together and distil their individual ideas into a group vision/project.
The line is a hard one to walk (especially with a broken leg..) – between practicality and vision, and this already difficult task in any curatorial process is amplified by the peer led set up of Circuit; the fresh faced leading the experienced. We strive to keep on opening those cans of worms, and keep on creating – refreshed, challenged and amazed by the uninhibited vision of our Circuit members.