Ninth day in Johannesburg

Today my energy was low. I had a feeling some of the artists felt the same. I’m of course not sure if I was the one projecting this tiredness on them. The weather was heavy and cold, which can be one of the reasons for the lack of energy I was sensing.

The energy in the group depends on engagement. There are those artists who come more than once and whose regular contributions bring stability to the group; And then there are those who come only once bringing impulsive and fresh energy.

The regularity allows the artists to develop a rhythm, which will make them go in depth with the project. The artists express about different topics every day or choose a theme they research and even get experts in.  When artists come regularly for some days, it is possible to see the development of works and the progress in artist’s engagement. The artists create the dynamic energy that can turn in to positive addiction. When diving in to the regular rhythm, it becomes a new ritual that affects not only the artistic production but as much their way of reflecting and conceptualizing. It definitely also creates a very special group feeling, since all the artists are working simultaneously towards the same dead line. Even though they are not necessary working physically together, by having a same time frame work, they sync on the energy level.

Interruption of regularity on the other hand creates unpredictability and brings thus the flexibility to the group. New participants create a positive dynamic and new energy. Because they would not know the other artists and what debates have been taking place in the previous days, they would be able to enter the project with fresh energy and see it with new eyes. In this way we make sure the project does not get ingrown and only related to a closed group of people. I guess the-first-time feeling from the new participants, also reminds the other in the group about their own first-time-experience, and this gives a good circular reflection about the development of the project. Of course the project can develop into new unknown ideas as the participants engage and start shaping it each with they different contributions, but still it is a good think to be pulled back by the new participants to the start and be reminded about the motivation one has for taking part in this project initially. This is like a reinforcement that gives new life to the project.

I believe both energies are good to have when shaping a strong group. And the dynamics between these two streams of energies is what creates the vigorous development that characterless the project.

At the moment we have 6-7 artists from Denmark, who are staying in Johannesburg for one or two weeks so their participation is regular. We also have participation from artists who live and work in Johannesburg and some of them have been coming several times. The group is very good and the involving artists are very engaged. But we have not seen any collaborations yet. Even thought there were some intentions to create works together from the very beginning, we have not seen it happen yet. This could be a new time of energy and a very interesting development to observe.

 

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