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Blog - Ivan Riches

Surroundings Blog 5

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My Facebook live interview wasn’t easy to keep going for 2 hours, particularly when answering online questions and responding to passing comments. But somehow it seemed to be successful, after trying to work out which way up to hold my iPad. A comic and rather embarrassing start to what turned out to be an enlightening experience, mainly for me.

All in all, this online conversation about the development of my new art project ‘Surroundings‘, has eventually been viewed by over 450 people, a considerable audience for me, on Facebook. I am not used to this exposure on what is ostensibly an early stage R&D project.

For a first time trial, Disability Arts Online and yours truly winged it and discovered that this form of interviewing actually works, clunky but works. Of course people dipped in and out but 2 hours of me talking about my work, which was challenging for me, let alone others. And very few people have that amount of time during the day. But thank you DAO, it was extremely helpful to me, to be guided and facilitated to assess my own work at this particular stage.

I was an artist on the spot. Colin Hambrook was a sensitive but thorough interviewer. And Trish Wheatley typed out the main points in real time, for 2 hours. DAO make a very impressive team and thanks to them, I was able to question the validity and direction of my artwork. Somehow, I was left feeling that that all artists would benefit from this gentile form of interrogation, particularly to test their motives and integrity.

It’s so easy to fool our selves into a false sense of security from hiding behind our work, reputations and the representations in reviews by others. And mine was well tested and a good thing too. The feedback was inspiring and vital to the next stage of my project and many thanks to those who were able to join me. And people who contributed after the event.

I am now equipped to go on with my work, knowing that I am heading in pertinent and valid direction. For any artist, feedback is a vital resource for their development. So thank you, DAO for facilitating this amazing experience. Although I still haven’t listened to the whole interview, as I am a little tired of hearing my own voice but thanks to Trish, I was able to read through the highlights.

So, if you are interested in looking into how an artist and online audience assess a new piece of work at R&D stage, have a look at the DAO Facebook page for the ‘Surroundings’ posts on the 6th of June 2019.

Hopefully some of you will able to see my next scratch installation/performance at the Plough Art Centre, Torrington in North Devon on the 26thof June 2019, performances at 2pm and 7pm. I will be working with internationally celebrated artist Sue Austin, to project the artwork on her amazing 360°rig, with musicians De Fry, Jo-anne Cox and Zack De Santos. Don’t worry if you can’t get there, it will be filmed and documented.

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Colin Hambrook
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I thought you did amazingly well Ivan! I think the subject matter is a very clear and important point of discussion – particularly for disabled people at this time …. but equally for anyone under the gaze of having to prove their birthright at this time …

Joe Turnbull
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Really enjoyed hearing you talk about the work and the themes and memories ‘surrounding’ it