Mouv’Art

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It has almost been a month already since Chloe and I embarked on our second collaboration using painting, song and video. We were part of a festival called Mouv’art in Beziers. The idea of Mouv’art is to bring contemporary art out of galleries and into the street, to engage people who would not necessary visit galleries. Each artist had their own shipping container from which they displayed their works. Chloe and I were positioned in and outside of the container, with her short film being screened on the inside and a massive canvas ready to paint outside. The festival lasted five intense days and I have fond memories of all the people I met, shared stories, painted and sung with. One young girl who was about 7 sung me a song after I sung her one of mine. Pebeo kindly provided us with high quality paintbrushes, paint, and canvas which we hung attached to the the metal structure to create a space within a space. We were located under an old tree, next to a beautiful water fountain at the top of a beautiful park, just outside the city centre which was frequented by the public.

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Throughout the five days we invited the public to watch Chloe’s short film ‘to the moon‘ with scenes from the sea, moon sky and nature created a meditative space for reflection as she sounded Tibetan bowls.image

The public was also invited to come paint, leaving their mark, inspiration, a trace of their thoughts, being and expression. At intervals I sung with my ukulele. I was keen in sparking moments of ‘truth’ in learning through the work. Badiou talks about truth and being able to punch through situations into a new space to create ruptures or opportunities for greater understanding. In this way, I was interested in supporting moments where people could be moved and shifted in immaterial ways. In ways that cannot necessarily be measured or articulated but which are felt, as often this world focuses on what people think and not feel. These can be thought about in terms of moments for real learning, where individuals perhaps change, or people transform. People move as a result of something, it moves them, it alters them. They don’t just know more as a result of it but they are in someway different. Badiou writes of truth as ‘a process that builds upon an event occurring in a particular situation’ (Badiou, 2005). As the public painted, so did we, and this gave us a common ground for engagement, involvement and feeling part of something that is cooperative.  It also sparked conversation which ranged from politics, to who they are, their thoughts on art and education to what they were up to that day. We also shared our stories and reasons for facilitating this piece. It was a unusual space to express oneself and given the minimal instruction. People’s reactions were varied. Some jumped at the opportunity whilst other remained much more reserved or even terrified at the idea. Some people were keen on painting but had no idea what to paint, and many painted their names. We helped them to feel free to paint whatever their instinct or intuition told them and we ended up with a beautiful humongous canvas.IMG_0250

We had two school groups come and visit, approximately 50 children in total. They were very keen, enthusiastic and chaotic. It was difficult to spend time with each of them especially as they had a little short amount of time with us. Just enough to watch the short film, listen to three songs and paint. But the short encounters were important nonetheless.IMG_0352

We were so pleased with how the project turned out, our collaboration together and all the interesting people we met. It was sad to leave and many asked us if we were there all summer or if we were coming back next year! Thank you Pebeo and thank you Emma!

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welcome to your new home

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Today I planted out my courgettes and peas! So much for hardening them off over two weeks! Two days is enough for us! Well I was quite concerned with how big they are getting and they really didn’t enjoy hanging around outside and in their small pots as they weren’t stable enough. Today I planted them and put a fleece around to keep them a little warmer and shelter them slightly from the wind, rain and sun. I’ve also got some well planted bamboo canes in the ground which I trust will keep them safe. I love this photo below. I took it as I was almost finished planting (four hours later). I peered under the fleece and I thought WOW! This looks fantastic! You’ve helped to create something so beautiful, a place full of love and life. It feels so good to live here. I’m having so much fun in the garden and growing alongside the plants, we’re all beginners. I hope that the wall get covered in peas and flowers. So excited to see how they progress.

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Meet the crew!

meet the crew
from left to right: calendula, tomatoes (gardeners delight), nasturtiums, courgettes (gold rush and cocozelle)

This morning I woke up at 4am. It happens sometimes, actually it seems to happen the day after an essay deadline when I no longer know what to do with myself and am overwhelmed at the new found freedom. So by 7am this morning I’d hung out two loads of washing and settled my lovely plants in their new home – to see if they like it, their thoughts… I’ve given them a little shade from a fleece so that they don’t wilt in the sun. I love them. They astonish me. I had many doubts about my ability to nurture and give them everything they need, enough moisture, warmth and consistent conditions but look how they’ve grown. Now I am slightly worried that I have too many plants for the space I’ve prepared. I could continue weeding other areas but I think it’s good to keep it small (definitely not simple!) as twice the space = twice the amount of care… (oh but I want to expand!)

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My plants are growing very fast and I need to harden them off before I plant them out so that’s why they’ll be sitting there in their pots. I’ve read that this should take two weeks, the first week leaving them out only during the day and the second week during the day and night. I’m heading to France to do an arts festival MouvArt (check it out!) in the beginning of June so I won’t be around to look after these babies. Which also means I should get them planted out so that my housemates can water them easily and that they don’t outgrow their pots! I’m sure they’ll be enormous in four weeks!

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When I wake up and stare out of my window and wonder around my garden (at 4am) in the morning I really think I’m in paradise. The birds sing so beautifully and the sun shines through the trees and mist creating such peaceful, abundant and nature-full oasis. I’m so grateful for this place, it’s really great to have my own space. I’ll miss it when I’m gone! Better make the most of it while I’m here and grow!