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  • Christopher Jelley

The Way We See It - Exhibition @Contains Art


The title set for this exhibition at Contains Art in Watchet is called 'The Way We See It' which for me has felt a little slippery or toothless. Somehow it lacks the immediate accessibility for which a portrait or similar would ( and has ) delivered, but as I turned the phrase over and over I fumbled and stumbled, confused and not actually achieving anything.

I pushed back at the title thinking it weak and inconsequential (not me!) but in hindsight I was derailed a little just by the syntax in the title. The term 'we' in the title, 'the way WE see it' suggested a collaborative and singular view point shared by all artists and exclusive only to them. Was my view point acceptable to the clan, or is my view point unconventional to the creatives un-convention, (feel free to unpick the irony there!)

So do artists see the world the same, is there a true WE which is inherently different from the 'non creative' and does a non creative exist at all?

Ok, so I am over reading this, it's not supposed nor intended to be a trick and the output of a collaborative exhibition will always be as diverse as those individuals who step up to the plate.

Which leads me to my personal output, a poem called simply 'No' all about the restrictions and curtailments we are bombarded with daily. No entry, No access, No smoking, No sharps. I totally understand the reasons behind the need for these and why they are necessary, but do we really have to have so many?

The poem challenges these omnipresent layers of 'No' but here is a question, what if you could take those down for just a day? What would happen, anarchy, dystopia! Curiously an experiment which removed signs and road markings at a junction did in fact tackle this 'over instruction' and the effect was accidents reduced as drivers became more cautious. Without the aids and guides they were used to, drivers were not sure who they should they give way to. They actually defaulted to the cautious - give way to everyone, and in that instance less was indeed more.

So this poetry film is a culmination of both words and images which I have been accruing over the last couple of months. The image above is a trigger or target image and will sit side by side amongst the other 40 x 40cm canvases, waiting for the viewer to point the house iPad at it. Then, as if by magic, the poetry video appears in place of the canvas, making it look a little like a TV.

I have employed this before in exhibitions, with the viewer having a physical interaction - ie holding up the iPad means the works are only activate when investigated, saving overuse of the tech and the ears of the invigilator from hours of repeated bombardment in the process.

So here is the film I have made - the full one minute, though it’s not the same as standing in the exhibition space and seeing it be part of the exhibition. You'll just have to come along to view in September, and by then I may have tweaked it a bit and changed it completely.

Exhibition opens 17th September 2016 and coincides with the two weeks of Somerset Art Week.

Contains Art - East Quay Watchet Somerset.


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