34 artists have been commissioned to make a piece of art about one of 34 Bristols around the world. As someone who is not a native Bristolian this is an interesting concept, challenging me to think about my relationship with this place.
Of the few piece I have seen these are my thoughts;
In Fire Wild, Leona Jones and Sion Dawson. Arnolfini, Bristol Friday 5th July.
Out dated. Hard to follow. Noisy to the point of being distracting from what ever it was trying to say. Definitely about a place very far away from this Bristol, as there was nothing familiar. In need of a lot of development.
The only part of any note was the interesting use of electric guitar to create a sound scape.
Official Proceedings, Shaun C Badham. Arnolfini, Bristol Friday 5th July
Readings from the minutes of 8 years of town meetings. Dry and lacking in story, it was always going to be tough to create something with guts. But it was interesting to hear the comings and goings of a town in South Dakota that bears the same name as my fair city.
Badham used varies effects to create further interest and comedy including animals noises to represent councillors, echoing something from Animal Farm. Posting a letter to seal a passed motion, visual representations of meetings such as the painting of a swimming pool. Good as a durational piece, but on that occasion it seemed awkward to walk off and come back as there.
The Water is Wide, Jo Hellier and Yas Clarke. From Arnolfini, Bristol Sunday 7th July.
Using 20 drummers spaced at 6 meter intervals from the Arnolfini to Spike Island in Bristol representing the distance from Bristol, UK to Bristol, Maine, USA. The beats were every few seconds and walking past them, there was the echo of every drummers, and often several beats could be heard at one point depending on where one was stood.
Although this was a durational piece with little story behind it, I felt more of a connection to the place I was in. Listening for drumming in the distance I was struck by the sound scape of Bristol. From a group of drunk middle aged men on a boat moored by the Arnolfini playing 90’s pop loudly ignorant to the culture of other events happening around them. Children playing and tourists taking pictures of the ‘Gromit Unleashed’. Echoes of crowds in Millennium Square watching Murray win Wimbledon on the big open air screen, across the water to the industrial M Shed. Cars, and other boats going by, both motorised and not.
Interesting and enjoyable, as I found my own unique meaning behind the performance.