|[D I S C U R S I V E S P A C E S ]| Residency project
[ Remi Andrews ] - April 2020 | Derelict people
| Research from our writer in residence |
A good time to visit forgotten places
‘Derelict People’ -an artist’s Urban Intervention
“Home is a notion that only nations of the
homeless fully appreciate,
and only the uprooted comprehend.”
-Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
In his 1957 work A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Leon Festinger charted the psychological apparatus people employ to reconcile the mental distress caused when a view, ideology, or attitude held dear to them comes up against data (actual situations) which they encounter in the real world. He evidenced the widespread tendency of members of the affluent society to make token, and therefore insignificant, changes to their moral practice; either by adding new parts to the thoughts causing the psychological discomfort (making excuses) or by avoiding circumstances and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.
The formulas we use to identify, and mitigate, those times, places, and situations most likely to make us resort to engaging in cognitive dissonance are manifold. Our lives are replete with phrases like: ‘I know I really ought not to [eat meat] [use air travel] [purchase this unethical beauty/fashion product] [vote for this abysmal political party] but; and then we become our own defence lawyers in explaining away that which we know, within ourselves, to be questionable life-choices.
If we can scarcely admit to ourselves that our ‘First-World/Developed’ society, produces and perpetuates the very quagmires (for example; homelessness, poverty, and crime) that the all-pervasive market claims to be able to eradicate; where do we find an authentic voice of accountability? The police? Government? Established political parties?
Experience has shown us the limitations that the aforementioned bodies have in addressing, with integrity, places and peoples that are made anathema by the very collectives which seek to ‘remedy’ the problems our cities face. Artists, no less in times of crisis, have often heralded new ways of approaching, and admitting the existence of; those hard-to-admit problems which we cannot see, or choose not to see.
Remi Andrews, the penultimate artist in residence for the Heterotopia [Discursive Spaces] series, pulls no punches in her radically unique approach to starting a dialogue about displaced, nomadic, and derelict people. In a bold departure from the usual (pedestrian) way in which discourse about abandoned individuals and buildings are framed; her installation piece takes the power of narrative out of the hands of the political chattering classes, and places it squarely in her own artistic medium.
A ceiling-to-floor canvass, made up of street-sourced, up-cycled materials, features layer upon layer of graffiti and hand-painted quotes, thoughts, and proverbs that make for an arresting catalogue of existential encounters with the artists inner-world response to the society in which she lives.
That which the untrained eye, and mind, would find unseemly about the run-down and yet-to-be-gentrified, tower blocks, tenements, and the tents of those who are homeless; are given priority as the center-piece of that which acknowledges the reality of living in liminal spaces.
To experience Andrew’s piece is no mere voyeuristic voyage into that which we may find a little edgy or gauche; rather it is a playful, ironic, and situational assertion, relevant during a global pandemic no less: that difficult questions about heterotopias and discursive spaces require answers which are by no means ‘safe.’
|Writer in residence| [Nathaniel Grant] April 2020 |
| [ Discursive Spaces ] |
Remi Andrews | April 2020
| Bio |
A Birmingham based artist with a multidisciplinary practice. The work is informed by subcultures, the politics of urban environments and the upcycling of discarded materials and spaces within cityscapes.
The artist has a particular interest in acknowledging the history, memory or potential of Urban ‘spaces’ both realised and unrealised, visible and invisible to the hierarchy of distribution.
The artist explores the creation and ownership or commanding of invisible spaces through the manifestation of vessels that seek to activate temporary autonomous zones through social engagement or intentional separation.
During the ‘Discursive Spaces’ residency exploring ‘Heterotopias’, the artist will be repurposing an object that is;
#terrainvague, normally occupied by marginalized communities;
‘Dead zones, empty zones on the edge of cities
A liminal space that provides temporary shelter and in direct consequence to the unequal hierarchy of distribution can either be voluntary shelter or involuntary exposure.
Through its re-purposing into an immersive single entry installation, she will present a temporary autonomous zone that acknowledges the unrealized potential of the space, the viewer and the artist.
The installation was presented on the 24th April in different iterations of virtual tours and live streaming.
We held a Zoom discussion at 7pm 24th April for our local community to discuss the content with the team and artist.
You can view the Q and A discussion below;