January 2019: Festival of the Not, Newcastle

posted: January 03, 2019 12:13

I'm delighted to return to Newcastle this month, once again as part of a production by CIRCA Projects + Giles Bailey. This time it's a festival, entitled Festival of the Not and taking place at the newly re-opened Star & Shadow Cinema. I'm thrilled to be part of this, as our work together in the summer of 2017 was an incredible experience, and I've also been following the Star & Shadow's activities remotely (ever since performing there in Lied Music, with Mark Vernon, back in 2010).

I will be participating in a discussion with artist Louwrien Wijers on art and economics, but also leading a workshop/working group throughout the festival built around experimental documentation. If you would like to participate in this project – called Documentation of the Not – you can register for it here. Some more about the workshop, quoted from my proposal:

Cultural experiences are documented and disseminated for multiple purposes: for social media, to please funders, to establish press kits and CVs, etc. Traditionally, the role of documentation falls under the administrative team, sometimes with professional photographers or videographers involved (if budget allows). The dominance of social media has decentralised documentation, at least that which is not the ‘official’ part of the festival. But generally, the format of documentation remains constant: experiential (in personalised, social media contexts using images and video) or quantitative (in reports to funders, with statistics, etc.).

How can we reformat the idea of documentation, celebrating the pluralistic voices that are commonplace with social media, while also extending the language of experience sharing? Could the act of documentation be integrated into the festival itself, as a participatory activity, rather than an administrative burden or afterthought? How can other approaches to fixing the ephemeral combine?

Festival of the Not takes place from 17-20 January 2019 at the Star and Shadow cinema, organised by CIRCA Projects + Giles Bailey. Participants in the experimental documentation working group will gather at the start of the festival (or the night before) to explore alternative techniques to festival documentation. For example, such techniques could be forensic (gathering of evidence and artefacts); poetic; emotional; or performative. Participants will attend the other festival activities and document them through these exploratory techniques. Each night, before the main evening programme begins, the working group will make a 10 minute presentation of that day’s activities.

The experimental documentation working group is built around openness and experimentation; all participants are encouraged to explore different techniques. The subjectivity of this documentation will be made explicit, as opposed to ‘official’ documentation which implies objectivity.

For: people who like to collect things; people who enjoy collaboration; people who are not fussy about things always making sense