The bigger picture

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spark
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The bigger picture

Post by spark » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:00 pm

So, what is the aim and object of the forest cafe, though, the cafe is only one aspect of the "forest".
If we look at the likes of the Elephant house, we see how they are milking the 'harry potter was written here' situation.
Can we expect something similar in future from the forest? What if someone who hangs out in the forest community became famous, and I mean big time, the kind of fame which lasts for thousands of years even unlike JK rolling in it who will be forgotten in a generation or three.
What if the individual in question who has become famous felt that they were abused by the forest comunity artistically at least? A bit of a bummer for the forest surely.
With that in mind, and basic human decency, without crass politeness, the forest arts comunity needs to start thinking about its atitude towards the members of the said community.
It is my opinion that more artists will have been hurt and abused by the forest arts comminity than have been helped.
I am writing this here because, as I see it, there is a comitee behind the comitee and soo I feel more comfortable out in the open where all can see, unlike some I suspect.
So where is the forest going and does it realise who it has been abusing and will do in future?
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ravanwin
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by ravanwin » Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:08 pm

Hi Spark,

not sure I understand your complete point. If you have a specific situation or gripe please air it but, as it stands, your questions seems vague.

if any artist from The Forest made it super famous I think we would be 100% supportive and also, I hope, a bit proud. We have relationships with moderately famous bands and artists and they, to my knowledge, are fine. Even people who once hated us, end up loving us again eventually. We have accidentally burned some bridges but this is usually due to disorganization and chaos rather than maliciousness.

There is no 100% way to say what the forest is or what we will do if a certain situation arises. The collective and the dynamics of our space and the people involved are constantly changing. Further, it is hard to summarize what The Forest feels about _____. This is because there are a lot of people involved who have differing opinions about almost everything. There is no predicting what any given member of the forest feels about anything, for instance, look at Mark's posts.

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chris
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by chris » Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:40 pm

Hiya Spark,

Aims and objectives of forest cafe, can be found in a few places on our website, as well as on the walls and posters in the building. Heres a good start on the website:

http://www.theforest.org.uk/charity/charity/

briefly (and to quote our constitution) our aim is:

"...to advance access to art and cultural activities amongst the general public of Edinburgh and the wider community"

as you probably know, we try to provide a free space for artists and performers to do stuff in, and we try and support them through a network of volunteers.

I cannot comment on what the elephant house do, or JK Rowling, or what a famous person who once played here or had an issue with forest may or may not say or do. However, I will try, I imagine that if they became a millionaire, they would probably forget about us doing our obscure little diy art space, as they would be too busy playing sell out stadium shows, and trying to pick out the most sumptuous all over sequin leotard! Any problem they might have with us would probably be left behind with the british grey skys, as they relocate to the georgeous Azores in Portugal. I do not know. All one wishes for in this world is sincerity, and happiness.

Forest operates according to a working group structure (this is also documented on the website and on posters in the cafe), encouraging people to get involved in all aspects of forest. For sure some people are more involved than others, if you'd like to get more involved, come along to a working group meeting.

its upsetting to hear that forest has upset anyone, artists or otherwise, without specifics i'm unable to respond, other than saying, that this clearly isn't the intention of forest, but as a voluntary organisation sometimes things can go wrong and people can get upset, on the (hopefully) few occasions when this does happen, we try and talk about them with the people involved and resolve them so everyone is happy.

i'm surprised by your suggestion that we have hurt more artists than we have helped. And it seems rather unlikely to me.

Additionally, I feel its quite clear that our principal intention is to provide a place for artists, any specific feedback regarding how we are succeeding or failing in doing this is welcome, but suggesting that "the forest arts comunity needs to start thinking about its atitude towards the members of the said community." and suggestions that we are abusing artists, seem rather cryptic and vague, they obfuscate, rather than clarify.

If you have a grievance with something thats taken place at forest, please write about it, then perhaps it could be addressed, or discussed. If you have specific criticism please write about, then it can be discussed. If you are uncomfortable talking openly about what has happened, or who we have upset, feel free to pm me privately to continue this dialogue.


Chris
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by spark » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:52 pm

There is no comunity arts centre or project by the sly cheating lying government in Edinburgh, therefore the forest is the only option of this kind. In that respect, it would be wrong for people to blame the forest for much which bothers people. The forest is not responsible for providing facilities of this nature, the government is, but there is obviously a mis apropriation of funds. They give it all to their pals in quango's etc. in other words.
For artists who live in the city centre, the forest is the only place, unlike those in places like Craigmillar(arts centre) and pilton(arts centre) and wester hailes(arts centre) etc.
I don't think that the forest realises this as much as it might.
Your posts are reasonable, polite even, but it doesn't cover the selfishness of a few, and they will know who they are, there are only a few of them after all.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by swithun » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:57 pm

Who are these people? I think we should be told.

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Jane
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Jane » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:18 pm

I agree. Without details of what happened it's impossible to resolve the situation and making statements such as
the selfishness of a few, and they will know who they are
yet refusing to tell anyone who or what they have done, is exactly the kind of secretive "committee behind a committee" language that you are criticising.

It's always worth remembering that the forest is only the people who commit their time and energy (for free, and in the case of many of the jobs which need done, for little gratitude). Any kind of statement about what "the forest" should realise is essentially meaningless, as there is no one distinct entity which is "the forest". We are all basically a group of people doing our best to provide some kind of alternative in the city to support artists. If there is something you feel should be done differently, as Chris says, open meetings take place on the various aspects of the forest weekly to make these kind of decisions. A list of all of them should be on the noticeboard on your left as you enter the front room of the cafe. Anyone may attend.

Alternatively, if you cannot attend meetings many discussions take place here on the bb. Any specific changes you believe should take place could be posted and discussed rather than making cryptic criticisms about how people are doing things wrong. It's always easier to point out mistakes than offer positive alternatives.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by thehemulen » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:25 pm

The forest is not responsible for providing facilities of this nature, the government is...

i think that's untrue. the point is (and this is important), "the Forest" is responsible for whatever "the Forest" decides to do. so if forest chooses to provide a community arts center, then forest is responsible for doing/maintaining that.
and i cant imagine 4rest has hurt more artists than it has helped. i only know forest helped me while i was in embra and helps me whenever i return.
still i think one of the original questions
where is the forest going?
is very interesting.
"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." --John Cage.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by milk » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:49 pm

spark wrote:The forest is not responsible for providing facilities of this nature, the government is, but there is obviously a mis apropriation of funds. They give it all to their pals in quango's etc. in other words.


that's a false dichotomy imo. i think the government should be progressive and liberal enough to either give the forest or other such bottom up community groups funds/grants if they so wish to try for it (with a proper plan, natch, like we have with our 'Charitable Aims') but without the caveats of "oh, you're not allowed to do that because we think it's [whatever FUD rational they use in this day and age]", or to help set up/fund such groups where a location is lacking them (without the same caveats). i'd agree on the 'mis appropriation' of funds (crap budgeting) though - if the uk was to spend less on things like unilateral wars and more on progressive and non-morally bankrupt socioeconomic policies, then maybe we'd have a population as happy as certain other countries.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Susana » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:27 am

Since we are in a reflective mood I am afraid I have a point or two to add here:

Recently a friend of mine mentioned, in passing by, that the Forest is a club. I am sure he wasn't talking for himself but rather about what he picked up at ECA where he was studying.

Also some time ago this musician said to me that the Forest is notorious for its dreadful sound system.

And even I have a bone to pick: a few years ago I intended to do a run of films from the Far East (my friend has a huge collection, including films that have only made it here now). These films had great photography, image, landscapes... and of course subtitles. Alas, it wasn't worth it to show them: the image was so weak and blurred and the subtitles so unreadable that at the end I resorted to show only a couple whose subtitles could be read and where the other features were not so important as it relied mostly in the drama itself.

Perhaps before giving money away on grants we should use it to bring up to scratch the facilities of a place that is meant to be largely for the arts???

By the way, refering to the 'ECA' comments and in disregard to whether they are right or not (they may well be) I have often had the impresssion that the Gallery is there just to offer a space to these art students so that it will be another entry in their CV. Nothing wrong with that but in my opinion (I am not expert but perhaps I do have some judgment) the quality of the work is soooo poor !?!. And if that is so it could be a good point for debate in the Forest on why others with more talent/experience/technique don't find the Forest an attractive place to exhibite ????

Food for thought.
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Gandhi
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Gandhi » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:52 am

in my opinion the sound system is pretty good but as the place is volunteer run it depends who is on the sound that day...this is not our fault, the Forest tries its best. The room is small and we like things loud and therefor relatively difficult to get an amziang sound, to get the balance right is difficult but more often than not it is done really well. Different amp/speaker placement could help but would be very difficult.

The last few times of watched anything screened at the Forest it was very good, and therefor i think although it might have been rubbish a few years ago, our audio and visual systems are good now.

The club thing is an issue, which i beleive has always been with the Forest and probably always will...people who do not know exactly how the place works may think its some club :roll: or something, so the best way around this is putting info on posters, tables, menus etc which I believe has already been done. Apart from speaking to every single person individually about every single thing that the Forest does there aint much that can be done about that. Maybe some talks to students or student specific events or events where we take Forest artists and musicians and food etc to student unions for a night might be cool but they sound like a logistical nightmare but of course never say never. We did a Forest on Tour a while ago how about a mini Forest on Uni Campus Tour this year or next? Spread the word, get people interested, show them the Forest aint no cult, could be cool!?!

I believe the Forest gallery can sometimes be crappy but I put that down to me liking very specific artistic styles and therefor can't really comment on whether the overall quality is poor, however I reckon the gallery peeps do a great job of picking varied art to be shown. I personally think that the artwork should be on the walls of the main cafe where it can be enjoyed in a more relaxed environment which would also make the main cafe a constantly changing and interesting space and maybe the gallery space used differently but that just personal opinion.
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ravanwin
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by ravanwin » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:58 am

the gallery, actually, isn't used by students as often as you might think though - for other reasons - it is not an ideal space for all artists as the environment surrounding the gallery is less controlled than in other spaces and that, to some, is dangerous.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:04 am

Thanks Ryan and Gandhi, you beat me to it, so adding this on preview, the main section was written in response to the previous post to yours:

@ Gandhi: What you're saying about the gallery is, by and large, fair and reasonable comment. What I would add in response is that art doesn't always go on the walls, and if we were just using the cafe walls we wouldn't be able to show sculpture, or video or sound work, as these things would get lost in vaious ways in the cafe. The point of having a space like the gallery is that it gives the art a dedicated space to happen in, but i agree that we could be doing a lot more artwise in the cafe, and i think that Sarah Focque's recent tape installations are a good example of things that can work well in this space. Art is more than just pictures on a wall.

@ Susana, as you can see if you check the archive, the gallery shows a lot of work that doesn't originate from ECA. Recently we have shown digital collage from the south of France, video from Georgia and are planning a show of work from Italy as well as having shown a whole heap of Scottish work that wasn't from ECA. I'd say that in terms of arts activities in the forest the gallery has at least a wide a reach as any other medium, if not the widest of all... i don't really see how that fits with what you're saying...

In addition, I think most of this work is of a very high quality- what gives me the right to say such a thing? The fact that I have been a practicing artist who has been putting on exhibitions and showing nationally and internationally for 20 years? - but, hey WTF do I know? Everyone's an expert here, right?

if you don't like the work that the gallery shows then come to the Visual Arts Working Group meetings on a regular basis and get involved in choosing and programming the art that you like and want to see in the gallery, and then put in the necessary hard work to make it happen... standing on the sidelines moaning and bitching is easy...

BTW what is going on with the bb at the moment - the tone seems to be getting very negative and snippy - is this what we're about? I'm getting quite sick of it...
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Gandhi » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:20 am

I wouldn't let it get on top of you Michael sometimes things on the bb sound snippier than they actually are. people just have vary varied and strong views about things and sometimes things aren't as eloquantly put as they perhaps should be...I too am perhaps a bit harsh with they way I say things, but I have fiery Italian blood running through my veins and therefor it's not my fault.haha :roll:

Totally agree with you on the gallery, you are right and I was mainly thinking about paintings/photos when i wrote my post which was a tad silly of me. I do think more art on the main cafe walls would be sweet!
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:18 am

Thanks Gandhi - point taken...no worries - I won't!

I've had my second coffee now and am feeling a bit better... :roll:
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by martinmckenna » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:41 am

on the total kunst front , we can only pick from what we get . the working group work very hard to make it as good as possible also with the support of the forest. the quality of the work relates to how attractive the forest as a whole is . i recently had a discussion about how other things happening in the gallery affects if people want to show in gallery. i would ed exactly say we had agreement . the lack of respect to gallery is a problem .

on the quality front . not all the show are great . its hard to get more expriance artist as they need to be paid . as it costs alot to dedicate yourself to art . in order to develop ideas to high degree of resolution . it doenst come cheap . and it is very hard to have a full time job and make art and many do . but would you like to spend all that time on a show . then for someone to be using the gallery as a changing room, making puppets or practicing juggling .

the same can be said about the quality of events in the cafe .there are limitations to current model we have . you ether like it or you dont . but please be aware of consequences of it .

on the eca front . of course we are going to have lots of show from eca . its a major influence on Edinburgh . as is all art schools do in there respective citys . getting art from other citys costs more money to ether the artist or us . other gallery s in edinburgh ether get money from Scottish art council or from selling . ether of which we dont do . if you really like an artist maybe you can apply for funding to show in total kusnt . we would love that !

the other way to get better show is devolpe relationships with the artistic commoditys , this takes time . and again suffers for all points i made before . which is if people are volunteers then there time is limited to how much they can do . of which am fine with and understand .

weve had some great shows in the gallery this year and thanks to everyone that supported it . and as i found with art everyone has an opinion on art but rarely take the time to learn about it . the further total kunst gets away from art the better. think about it !
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by swithun » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:44 am

The projector gives a pretty good picture these days. I don't know if it was a different one when you tried to show these films. Or did you put them on during the day with the shutters open? Surely not.

The sound can be a bit rough sometimes. But this is as much to do with the people operating the equipment as the equipment itself. Some people know how to make it all work. The rest of us are happy if it makes a noise at all.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by ravanwin » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:24 pm

the new exhibition is brilliant and - again - as i learn more about the art business I feel we are lucky to get the amazing quality and range of stuff that we do have. i have massive respect for the the hard work that goes into keeping that space as viable as it is considering the quite stressful limitations. Having the gallery as a resource for young artists or artists who are trying new ideas is essential but, let's be honest, we have not been a place where work sells earning the artist a profit. if given an option - you'll take the gallery that can get you a higher profile and get your work sold. much like the events space - we are a stepping stone. we are fortunate that some very good musicians and artists love us very much and they continue to support us by GIVING us their artwork and their expertise. I agree with martin and I feel the art team has really done amazing work in the last year or so and that anyone who doesn't realize that doesn't get the bigger picture.

what a great thread!

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:24 pm

ravanwin wrote:what a great thread!


Amen to that!!! :lol:
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Shannon » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:26 pm

BTW what is going on with the bb at the moment - the tone seems to be getting very negative and snippy - is this what we're about? I'm getting quite sick of it...


but it is getting snippy in here...

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:53 pm

Ok, I haven't finished the replies yet, so I'll probably write more after I'm done with that, but first of all I want to say THANK YOU, spark, for writing this email. Even though it was done to shame some people in the Forest, I think that from the variuos replies received, from the very helpful suggestions which I've read so far, this post is a very, very good thing.

Ghandi, I so strongly agree with what you say, at least for the gallery room. Oh yes, yes, in my opinion the artwrok should be displayed in the cafe itself, since so many people don't even go into the galery (I know that I pass it by many time without even glancing at it). I think that it should be used as something else, definitelly...

Please, please, whoever's in charge, can you change that? I think that having the artwork in the main cafe would be so much more helpful, to the cafe and to the artist.

Also, I went to one of the artists' meetings, and the opinion I got from there is that only one or two people are the one's who judge what artist should display his/her art. Is that correct? If so, why?

I should go back for my volunteering now, but I'll be back later

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by stephengoodall » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:06 am

It's a shame that you feel that way about the gallery, personally i think that the window onto the street actually attracts people who would not usually frequent the Forest.

It's also a shame if so many people just ignore the gallery since it only takes approximately 30 seconds to walk around to see if there's anything that interests you. I suppose maybe that illustrates a fairly presumptious attitude to the space and art shown in galleries in general.

We have also endeavoured in the past to bring art into the main cafe as well as the gallery space with some success.

Your comments about one or two people deciding who gets to show their work unfortunately irk me slightly because as a commitee, the Visual Arts group hold open access meetings for all to attend and anyone who attends is welcomed to voice their opinion, no matter how disruptive it is or whether or not it is conducive to a decent conversation regarding what work should be shown and what should not. We also consider all proposals on the merit of the work itself and find CV or what art college one attends irrelevant and aim to put on a variety of different shows to reflect the diversity of the creativity we come into contact with form the gallery submissions inbox. I think this filter needs to be in place to get the most out of the space.

Yes, the meetings are usually attended by between two and six core members because over time some people have decided that they want to devote time to running the gallery. Anyone is welcome to join this group if they want to devote time to run the gallery, but that usually involves a fair amount of boring work and not much discussion of what art should be, painted in broad strokes.


I think this all been covered above, i just couldn't resist sticking my oar in. I think, however that the misperceptions voiced on this thread about the gallery directly translate to the Forest in general, I have it in me to try and articulate these thoughts but i need to go to work now so maybe i will return to contribute them later.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:26 am

mmmm, yes, ok. hmmmm...

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Gandhi » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:01 am

I'm not sure what you're insinuating with comments like that diaci but I'm pretty sure its not helpful or helps progress debates.

Anyways...after reading through all the gallery folks comments i retract my comment that we should use the space differently. It surely attracts people in, and by having it at the front of the building it means that people can look at the stuff without having to come in, spreading the word about new artists etc. i do still think we should have some constantly changing artwork on the main cafe walls as well but obviously this would have to be restricted to only things that can be hung on the walls. By cleaning up the walls in the main cafe and using art to change the atmosphere/look of the place would in my opinion be pretty amazing.

I know a lot of people get scared of losing our identity and freedom to do what we want with the space if we were to clean the walls up etc but I don't think it would do that at all. The Forest is the Forest because of the volunteers, the food, and the cool events you put on...not what's on the walls. making the whole place tidyer would benefit the place a lot and move it away from have that "club" feel to it. it would openly invite many other people instead of mainly attracting students etc (sorry for the generalisation, and i apologise if i've offended you..didn't mean to :roll: ).

Having constantly changing artworks on the wall, in my opinion, would reflect more openly our accessability to people who may think that they couldn't get their artwork in the gallery or people who are put off by random stuff on the painted walls...at least if they don't like it the artwork they can not look at it instead of being surrounded by it...and also know that next month or next week the wall would have changed to new, different artworks.

I hope people don't find my comments offensive, and I know it's not like i do anything at the Forest to give me the right to put forward my issues...but thats one of the points i think this bb is addressing. Working groups are great for making decisions and although the Forest has a great array of characters who volunteer there, sometimes it's good getting a random person views who's not directly involved with the place.
Maybe it would be a good idea to hand out informal surveys to people who visit the place, and especially to people who aren't volunteers. However I am aware of a general hatred towards any sort of poll or survey but that's maybe just restricted to our online bb polls? I do think it would be more reflective of what people thought of the place as opposed to what 10 people think of the place.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:03 pm

right, mmm...

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by mark » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:01 pm

Of course it is said that 'all art is rubbish' and as georg says 'all rubbish is art'. once he found a picasso in the bin, but it was just a print, or a copy, but it proves the point doesn't it?

It seems to me that the people running the 'totalkunst' gallery are idiots. For a start it is an unpleasant dyslexic joke to name the gallery that, why not call it 'totallyvagina' gallery? Dont they understand that not everything need revolve around life giving organs.

art is for everyone. we are all artists. we all collect art, but perhaps refuse collectors/ rubbish(wo)men/ dustbin(wo)men/ wastedisposal (wo)men. have the best collections of all.

when are these elitist closed meetings? we should be told.

Clearly forest is not what it once was, I remember (and as georg often remind me) back when it was much better, if you brought in a picture you could just hang it up, and if someone don't like it, they would just hang it down (take it away and break it, destroy it even!). This is more democratic.

I think those in charge should respect my view, cos It would be better and fairer. I want the gallery to change so that anyone can just come in and put up their art piece (just one per person), so everyone can enjoy it. that way you would get more better quality art. and real work too. wouldn't it be awesome to do this! What is the point of carefully 'curating' art shows? (waste of time)

and why on earth should there be a room just dedicated to art? art is not important enough to have its own room. it should be mixed in with the cafe,food,music so its incidental like background music. Georg is right. Art recieves far too mush attention from the tele and newspaper allready, anything that exposes how rubbish it really is should be encouraged.

The newspaper said damiens shark was a cracker though. so maybe hes onto something.. although if our 'art experts' were on the antiques roadshow and georg brought in damiens shark, would they have valued it right? or even known it was a shark? or art? - no, i'm sorry to say, no they would not.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:35 pm

LOOOOL!!!

On one hand, Mark, I applaud you with all my might for the wrods you say. On the other, well, that would be on the other hand... I strongly, strongly agree with many things you say in this post, but I'm not sure if all art is rubbish, as you imply.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:37 pm

mark wrote:It seems to me that the people running the 'totalkunst' gallery are idiots. For a start it is an unpleasant dyslexic joke to name the gallery that, why not call it 'totallyvagina' gallery? Dont they understand that not everything need revolve around life giving organs.


Kunst is actually the German word for art, and the name of the gallery was chosen a long time ago by people who are no longer actively involved in running it. That said, it has always struck me as being useful to keep this identity as this is how we are known, like it or not.

Secondly there are no "elitist closed meetings" as Stephen explained at some length above. diaci13 would do well to remember that she actually attended the last meeting and participated in loking at the selections which were 'on the table' that day, as did everyone else who attended that VA working group meeting, so I'm at a complete loss to understand how this whole notion of secretive decision making has grown up...

I think it's good that we are having some debate about this, my only caveat is that I wish that it could take place with a modicum of mutual respect. I am one of the 'idiots' who helps to run the gallery and to be quite frank, I am appalled at the tone of some of these comments, which are verging on slanderous. Mark, I'm willing to bet that you wouldn't have the nerve to say such insulting things to any of the VA people face to face, so why do you think it's acceptable to be so offensive on the bb?

In addition, if we are all artists then are we all musicians or brain surgeons too? Of course not, yet anyone who has devoted any of their time to trying to make art in any kind of considered way has to constantly cope with everyone else in the world proclaiming that all of their hard work counts for nothing, as we are all equally adept...

And by the way, the only way to find out what 'us art experts' think about Hirst's Shark (I think you mean The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living) is to talk to us about it, and then you would see that we all have very different opinions of it, and that there's no 'party line'...

Debate is debate, but this has degenerated into mudslinging... and I've had enough. I'm too sad, angry and upset to keep engaging with this... I'm really not sure now whether I want to or indeed how I can carry on working in the gallery in the face of all this nastiness and ignorance...

On preview: I'm glad you're finding it all so funny, diaci13... I feel like crying myself.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:47 pm

oh, and yes, i mean what is the forest? why does the art have to be 'selected' to be hanged? Isn't that done in other places that are unlike Forest? As we discussed many time in many other occasions, or at least I saw different discussions on the Forest and what is does/represents/etc., it is, afterall, a volutneer run place. People who come, or, well, I mean isn't Forest here so that people could relax, express their creativity, themselves, different things, enjoy, read, talk, be open, things of tha nature?

It's strange, really, but none one of us really have a say, as in, I say this so we all will follow, because Forest functions as a community, not an individual. That is where it all becomes tricky, how to deal with many people, how to know, how to understand, how to agree and come to an understanding, etc., etc., etc.

My assumption is that when the Forest was first established there were few, a small group of individuals, the leaders (let's say), who took everything in charge, at least to some extent, and because they had one goal in mind, that is of creating something like Forest, they collaborated together, worked together, knew one another very well.

In the present comunity, from what I understand, yes, there is a group, but perhaps of a different kind? People come and go, but, this would be something different I suppose. The structure of the present Forest is different from the way it used to be, which is what I gather from other posts and conversations. Perhaps those of us here, talking, are this some kind of group because we want to know about where the Forest, the idea, the project of it, is going, what will happen, what has to happen?

Who was the creator of the Forest in the first place?

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:52 pm

Michael, yes, I was there at the meeting, but I think I made no choice/decision whatsoever into what art should be chosen. I made a hard effort to be there, as in, to look at it, but no one told me that this is what will be put on next, or what I thought.

If to be honest with you, I don't know why, but I felt largely ignored. I don't know why. Perhaps because I am new to the forest and not many know me, but is that a reason for this?

Perhaps it doesn't matter, really.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:06 pm

That's because we didn't make any decisions that day, because one of the selections that we looked at had already been previously rejected, and in the other case (that of the italian artist who was producing black and white drawings, which i seem to remember you saying that you liked) it was decided that we would need more information before we could offer them a show, so I agreed to email that artist, which i have done. the work which is currently on display (and the next three or four shows thereafter) were programmed at meetings previous to the last one. Sorry to be so dull and boring, but we have to programme these things in advance otherwise nothing happens. Again, this programe is all on the bb in full view of everyone.

I'm truly sorry if you feel that way, but you seemed to expect the meeting to be some kind of creative free-for-all cum sandpit. It isn't. It has an agenda (which people are open to contribute to on the bb) and in this it is EXACTLY THE SAME as all other Forest meetings.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by neil » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:25 pm

why do we have to have meetings anyway? couldn't we just visualize the future and make it happen like that???

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:11 pm

I wish we could... :roll:
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by ravanwin » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:39 pm

Guys / girls - I'm just going to say this:

the gallery is brilliant and essential.

any talk of changing the structure or appearance or existence of this amazing resource is either

a) wrong
or
b) joking
or
c) both

I'm really sorry to hear you are so upset by this thread, Mike. It definitely shows you care though and, now that you've said it, I think it is fair to say I feel that too. This is a depressingly snippy, mean, backstabbing waste of time and I felt that since the first post which seemed, by design, to be decisive and ignorant. The gallery and how it came to be is one of my favourite things about the forest. We would be a cluttered, over-run, uncultured mess without it. If I could apologize for the tone and ignorance of some of the comments of mark and his cronies I would. I would remind all people participating on this thread to be a bit more respectful and to learn more about the amazing work all the core members of the VA group have done beyond showing up at one meeting or criticizing a handful of exhibits.

Here's something: go into the cafe and look up.

I want to go on and on but I would lose my diplomatic grip, I think.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by stephengoodall » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:54 pm

I agree with mark, everyone at The Forest are idiots because we failed to realise that providing gallery, darkroom, studios, rehearsal space, performance space, equipment, tools, funding, an excellent venue and cafe, time and encouragement actually constitutes abuse and is playing directly into the hands of neoliberalist puppeteers.

I totally agree with what Ghandi says about having input from all corners Its always good to get challenging input, evrything should be questioned.

- I don't know who Mark is and i'd warrant that having anonymity allows hir greater freedom of expression and i also suspect hir above post is likely a piss-take shit-stir rather than a mean spirited attempt to insult.

In fact i propose everyone on this forum register several anonymous user ids and get some really lively debate going- who's with me?
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by chris » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:28 am

anyone who thinks:

"art is not important enough to have its own room"

clearly is not interested in art, and has no place discussing it, or criticizing the way it is organised.

for what its worth diaci13, i am one of the people who started forest, and its safe to say the gallery has never been so well organized, so easily accessible to get involved in, or contained such varied and interesting work.

the gallery forms a vital part of forest, and having it curated by working and exhibiting artists who are experienced in and understand art is essential. It is a luxury for people to have such easy access to becoming involved in curating shows in a gallery, learning how it works and about art and the art community.
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by milk » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:51 am

michaelbowdidge wrote:... I am appalled at the tone of some of these comments, which are verging on slanderous. Mark, I'm willing to bet that you wouldn't have the nerve to say such insulting things to any of the VA people face to face, so why do you think it's acceptable to be so offensive on the bb?


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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:08 am

LOL - Thanks Milk!
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by diaci13 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:39 am

LOL :)

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by milk » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:12 pm

(getting to the first one these days only requires you type "shitcock" into the [firefox] address bar then enter (also, all XKCD comics have an image alt-text that appears when you hover the mouse over the image))
Last edited by milk on Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:15 pm

So I see.... :)
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by martinmckenna » Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:11 pm

tk is dead , long live tk !
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Jimmy Bastard » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:06 pm

When the future’s architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You’d better lie low

If you love me
Won’t you let me know?
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Gandhi » Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:38 am

lets snuggle
It's like God's vagina!

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:04 pm

no tongues, mind...
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Susana » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:09 pm

I was away for some time...

Sorry if my comments came across as destructive, negative criticism. It wasn't my intention; I just thought to let people know of comments I've heard as it is essential for the health and potential growth of the Forest. The point about my experience with the projector, well... that is how it was; it's (or ' it was' maybe) a fact.

About the gallery, yes, I am afraid my opinion still stands but hey! in any case at least is 'real' stuff. By that I mean when I compare it to the commercial galleries in town (I don't mean the very large ones, that is a different matter). To me there is a 'general' pattern or at least a 'too often' pattern: they seem to cater to people with money who want to enhance the decoration of their house... and/or have a talking point for visitors and in fact I would say they tend to offer three types of adornments:

- Cute sculptures of endearing animals/pets
- Vases of ceramic or colourfull/striking glass
- Paintings of landscapes/people/whatever with much colour

Of course there are also the ones that specialize in obscure/abstract/purposefully snobbish where lay people like me wonder if it is the case of the king with the invisible clothes. ??

For what is worth I full-heartedly support having the gallery where it is and for what it is and ideally with artists and non-artists curators.

And I think the idea of running some sort of survey is excellent. Tons could be learnt from it. In any case it is great to discuss/air all these issues; that's what the Forest is about, isn't it?
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Bismarck Christmas » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:42 pm

...about the gallery, yes, the case of the queen with the invisible issues; that's what the forest is about, full-heartedly support having the gallery experience with the projector, well... types of adornments:

- cute sculptures also the ones that specialize in where lay people like me wonder if it is essential for the health and potential I am afraid my opinion still stands...


BTW 'Total Kunst Gallery' is an anagram of 'Get All Yo Runts Talk'.

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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:18 pm

I thought it might have been...
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by Susana » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:59 pm

!!!!!!!!! Wow. :| Is that aggressive or what?
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by michaelbowdidge » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:35 pm

I'm not really sure how what looks like a random cut-up of your post which was probabaly created by a computer can be aggressive, given that it all it does is re-arrange and filter what's already there (check the link that Bismarck posted for more info) but if you think it is then no-one can really argue with you.

Similarly, you probably find it difficult to understand that your own posts on this thread might seem ill-informed or even threatening to some people... we're all prisoners of our perspective, aren't we - that much is obvious in your assumption that some galleries are 'being snobby' - it's only human to assume that something we don't understand must be bullshit - we all do it, myself included... ho hum, that's life , isn't it?

FWIW I do appreciate the fact that you have at least tried to put your ideas forward in a reasonable way, but you need to understand that (without wanting to sound like a drama queen) to be involved in the creation or promotion of contemporary art for any length of time is to feel in some sense constantly under attack from the ignorant and the opinionated in a way which I think has few parallells in any other discipline, creative or otherwise... no-one ever gives mathematicians a hard time for writing difficult equations, so why should artists be treated any differently?

At the end of the day I wouldn't take Mr Christmas tooooo seriously, i think he's just poking fun in the only way he knows how...
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Re: The bigger picture

Post by matthew » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:51 pm

diaci13 wrote:
My assumption is that when the Forest was first established there were few, a small group of individuals, the leaders (let's say), who took everything in charge, at least to some extent, and because they had one goal in mind, that is of creating something like Forest, they collaborated together, worked together, knew one another very well.

In the present comunity, from what I understand, yes, there is a group, but perhaps of a different kind? People come and go, but, this would be something different I suppose. The structure of the present Forest is different from the way it used to be, which is what I gather from other posts and conversations. Perhaps those of us here, talking, are this some kind of group because we want to know about where the Forest, the idea, the project of it, is going, what will happen, what has to happen?



For the record - at the start of the Forest there was a group of a few people, and a few of them knew each other well, but most of them had only met a short time before. They were all enthusiastic and had a shared vision of the project. Within a couple of weeks, this group had expanded to 20-30 people who also had ideas and shared this vision. The Forest has always been about encouraging people to get involved in every aspect of its running that they are interested in - this has been constant.

So I don't think the way it is organised now is radically different - except that as the organisation has grown larger with more people being involved and more projects, it has been useful to develop more sub-groups to organise these things. From the very start, people have come and gone, and ideas have been in a state of flux - there has always been debate about directions to follow - we have the constitution mentioned above to ensure what goes on is within its shared aims and vision.
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