Setting up ‘The Book of the Waves’ Cley 18
When an artist is at work in the open air people seem much more likely to approach and talk naturally, asking lots of questions and offering their own opinions. Last year it was often dog walkers and I sometimes made the first approach because I was a little worried the dogs would be running off with pieces from the installation and it seemed a good idea to alert their humans of the danger. I also met a young woman whose grandparents were all buried in the churchyard and she wanted to participate very actively in my temporary addition to her homeground by bringing me objects to add to it. I met some people several times and they promised to keep an eye on things when I couldn’t be there.
This year, setting up the beach installation was the most interesting part for me because numerous people who just happened to be walking on the beach came up to talk about it as I worked. Most had seen no information about the show but were particularly interested in actually seeing the installations constructed. Several people brought up the question of whether there should be more written explanations next to the work for the times I or the other artists weren’t present. In the end, I decided with Jenny (that wasn’t her name, which has slipped my mind) that what viewers work out for themselves in the absence of an ‘explanation’ is far more varied and intriguing than anything the artist could come up with. Writing it down so often reduces and fixes what could be a myriad of different views on the piece. The only problem now is that I am not there listening and I’m sad about that. What I need to do next time is continue working on the piece for a whole month and find a way of incorporating the comments in the piece!