The Project 52 Exhibition Opening

I invited 52 people to participate in Project 52, an exploration of intrigue and our relationships with objects and people.

Each week, I produced a drawing and 52-word story, inspired by an object that was provided by a different participant. Participants were always the first to see the output. They also received a short questionnaire to prompt a reflection on the artwork, their response to it and their experience of Project52. We then shared the story of the work and their responses.

I initiated the project to better understand people’s response to my work, with the intent of engaging and developing an audience. Although I didn’t quite know exactly how the project would play out over time, I committed to presenting an exhibition once all 52 works were created.

The Project52 Exhibition opening night. Thanks to Huddle Spaces for a fantastic venue. Photo by Ben Pecotich

Billed as a relaxed celebration with a community of creative, inspiring and collaborative people, I had some very specific goals for the evening;

  • Recognise and in some way, reward the participants and people who promoted and supported the project.
  • Create a relaxed environment to enable a community of creative, inspiring and collaborative people to come together.
  • Provide others with the opportunity to engage with the work and my participatory art practice.

The Honor Roll each participant’s name and “their” works. Without these people, there would be no Project52. Photo by Ben Pecotich

 

Urban Jazz Trio played a fantastic set. Their music really lifted the mood of the evening. They got the energy just right.

In the lead-up to the exhibition, a friend suggested that I invite participants to bring along their objects. Mike Priddis showed up with his boardies, so we took this picture of the two us with Turbulent Waters, the work inspired by Mike’s shorts, in the background.

The People’s Choice Award; everybody was invited to take 3 gold stars and place them on the works that they felt the strongest connection with. The participant whose work received the most stars, won a prize. The intent of this exercise was to reward participants and also to encourage others to engage with the art.
And the winner is…Ben Pecotich wins the People’s Choice award! The prize is a visual story, describing the journey from initial object to final artwork. In this case, a lithium battery to ’The King’s Dilemma’.

Thanks to Nathan Welch and all the good folks at Huddle Spaces for providing a fantastic venue, for being so open to the event and for some great ideas (Nathan came up with the concept of The People’s Choice Award)

The Art Missions Mind Map. People were invited to collaborate on a mind map, which will form an input into my next participatory project. The working title of the project is Art Missions. Inspired by The Betterness Manifesto by Umair Haque, it will be a participatory exploration of our potential for betterness.

We Love Wine ran the bar, keeping everyone supplied with fantastic wines. All of their wines were selected with a theme in mind and every label had it’s own story – a great match with the art.

The Project52 Book; A Work In Progress

People have asked for a book. So, I’ve started a conversation on Twitter about the contents and format. I’ll use this blog to keep you update on progress and to share some insight on the content. And there’s the little matter of The People’s Choice Award, which I have to create. I’ll share the process and output on the site, as it progresses. If there’s a good response to this output, I’ll include some more of that type of content in the book.

 

Coming Soon: Art Missions

Exciting, more ambitious in scope and with richer audience participation in the artistic process. As to the form and content – at this point I have no fixed direction – just lots of ideas. I’m aiming to kick it off in September, so if you’re interested in participating, let me know or drop a line asking to sign up for my newsletter and I’ll keep you posted. Either way, I’ll keep everyone updated on progress on this site.

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