Extraordinary Times Project

What we learn from Ashurbanipal perhaps is that it’s important to collect things from our time, to preserve our understanding of the world as it soon may not exist in the same way.

What we perhaps learn from Pepys and Defoe is that a) recording our understanding of our world is an artform within itself. And b) that even in the time of a global pandemic, that was much worse than our own, people flourished. They led rich lives, were industrious and creative; they developed coping mechanisms, forged new communities and social networks, and made and wrote some of the best art that has ever been produced.

What we’re going to do for the rest of Unit 2 (or as long as Chelsea is closed) is develop this blog to be a ‘diary’ of our times. No matter where we are in the world, even if we can’t work as normal, even if we’re in self-isolation or enforced quarantine, we are living in one of the most Extraordinary Times in recent history. We are living not only through a pandemic, but also what may be the catalyst to some of the most radical social, political and economic evolutions in the past century.

Back in October during the Future Art Workshop, we discussed that what an artist’s job is is to articulate our experience of the world right now in a way that has resonance for others. Art can do this better and more immediately than any other form of media — because art’s function is theoretical.

Please post EVERYTHING and ANYTHING you would like to contribute or share. Images, writings, links, texts, videos, social media feeds or any other media this site can support. Use this blog to evidence your anxieties, frustrations, boredom, frailties, intellect, curiosity. silliness, kindness, generosity, creativity, triumphs, and humanity.

You can choose your own privacy settings in each blog post if you would prefer an entry not to be viewable to the world. The site is public because a) you can’t make a private WordPress apparently, and b) all our thoughts and feelings right now, other people are thinking and feeling too. It’s your job to articulate these, because at present there just isn’t an apt language. Be honest. Be real. Be really really REAL. That is how connectivity happens.

You may have a practice that has developed around a certain way of working — I know many of you will be missing the studio and workshops. But that is not what makes you an artist. Artists problem-solve and envision, analyse and probe. They propose a different understanding of how things could be. This is what we are going to do for Unit 2. We are going to be Artists. In Extraordinary Times.

One thought on “Extraordinary Times Project

  • Reminded of the impact which the 1816 volcano (and later 1883 Krakatoa) had on the world in a variety of ways: landscape, economy, and culture – including art and literature. Often quite dark – probably because there was little light, the sun was blocked out for a long period of time, “year without a summer.” Paintings by different artists, in different styles around the world mirrored each others landscapes and linked the global human experience. It potentially generated a big rise in artistic activity making sense of what was happening, reflecting and documenting. Particularly early of gothic literature, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – the monster mirroring and exploring the parameters of scientific and societal anxieties.

    Slighter on the darker side (but I personally love all the zombie etc films!)


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