Well, it went okay!
I had sterling support from Adam and Stacey (Fabrica staff) on bar and filming duty, and Esk and Mia (Fabrica volunteers) on door duty, and Max, Sam, Michael and Kevin (from We Are The People Too and the In Transition film project) who supplied the music.
The Fabrica contingent were decked out in stripes – below is a photo of Stacey and Adam showing off their attire…
Stacey prepared some enticing fruit cocktails, which went down really well….
Max arranged for his friend, the talented singer and guitarist Jake Parsons to perform, and Kevin had created a playlist on his phone which we hooked up to the PA in between Jake’s performances. Just before arriving at the preview Kevin had bought fabric for their ‘green screen’ (which they will be using for their In Transition film), so they were playing around with it on Jacob Dahlgren’s installation…
The only disappointment was that we didn’t have more people coming along. In all we had 23 people attending, plus 5 staff and volunteers making 28 in total. My flyers and posters amounted to nothing… the people that did attend were either friends of Jake, Max, Kevin and Sam, or passersby who were attracted in by the music. Here is a bit of film of Jake performing, although the quality is not very good – just shot on a cheap stills camera, but it gives an impression of the general atmosphere (thanks to Adam for setting up the camera).
Fabrica are unremittingly supportive, saying that’s a good turn-out, and I’m really grateful for this. But in the echoing space of an almost empty gallery it feels like not many. If I take away any expectation though, then the way that the young people who were there occupied the space was really wonderful. It was so good to have music filling the gallery – first of all Kevin’s playlist, then Jake’s live performance. Once again I am encouraged by the way young people enjoy being in Fabrica and respond so well to the exhibition. Jacob Dahlgren’s The Wonderful World of Abstraction provided a great backdrop for Jake to perform in front of, and then he went up into the pulpit to perform from there. We got the beanbags down from the storage area on the first floor and people settled down for an intimate live gig.
It makes me think that something more low-key could be the way forward – even simply having the gallery regularly open late on Thursday evenings, say, always with music. Chatting with Stacey as we packed away he mentioned the idea of something like a regular ‘open mic’ event – providing a space where young people could come by and perform if they want to. Maybe I’m being a bit too idealistic, and I don’t know if this would always work with the exhibitions. But anyway, I’m trying to think why a young person would come to the event on the strength of my flyers or posters… I probably wouldn’t go. There has to be some reason for turning up somewhere you don’t usually visit or think of visiting. It comes back to the idea of developing an expectation amongst young people that Fabrica is somewhere for them.