In the run-up to my first formative assessment in my MA, where I will need to prepare a short presentation, it was apt that I was attending TEDxBrum hosted at the Hippodrome theatre and this year’s theme was PERSPECTIVES.
Highlights for me included Clare Devaney, a pioneer for citizen-led innovation who amongst a lively presentation interestingly identified critical thinking and creativity as key skills working up to year 2020.
Performance artist and writer Travis Alabanza powerfully educated us on surviving violence as a trans, gender non-conforming person in the UK, urging us not to stay silent and to work collectively as a community.
This week on my MA I had been reflecting on the potential of materials, so interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers presentation screened from the TED Conference in Vancouver 2016 was particularly relevant. His talk discussing how his ‘BAM’ series of sculptures addressed police brutality and racial violence was compelling.
Biggers described how for years on his travels around the world he had collected wooden African figures, some were genuine, some were reproductions. He then disfigured them, firstly erasing their identities by covering them in wax and then by shooting them with various guns which he describes as re-sculpting, before finally casting the new forms in bronze.
The video from the shooting range I find uncomfortable, but the result emotionally powerful and provoking. Although I don’t believe I am destined to line my work with such a political message, the display of process is engaging and I hope I can also open up a dialogue with my audience.