“I make stuff from poor materials.
I make stuff so it wont last, so it wont sell.
I use dust, chalk and blackboards, audio tape and 8 bit samplers.
I like things that evaporate or melt, things that glitch and have to be rewound to listen again.
I think I like things to be humble and quietly shocking.
I read this from the dust jacket on a book by Bill Drummond the other day. The book was sort of questioning contemporary art practice, so the book was about: ‘Why we make art. And what we want from it. And what its worth. And why we think about it. And where it is going. And is it ever too big? And is it getting better? And why we buy it. And why it can make us angry. And why do people have to write about it. And what is it for. And why is it important? And why sometimes we want to destroy it. And is my art better than your art?’
I had this idea that I could work creatively with a group of my sixth form students from King Edward VII School on something unique, something that took them and me away from our creative and educational comfort zones, away from our shared ‘target driven culture’.
A project that hopefully takes away the artist / student barrier and focusses on process and materials.
As yet, we don’t know what this project will be, how big it will be, or what it will be about.
What we do know is that we will have a base at Bank Street Arts from September 2011 and that this base will be the starting point of our Residency. Maybe along the lines of something I heard on the radio the other day: ‘Stop – lose the sound of yourself. Hear what’s going on around you’. I think that might be a good starting point.”
Stephen is currently developing work for a collaborative project called ‘can you hear me now?’. Working with Andrea Hadley-Johnson, Exhibitions Officer at Derby Art Gallery and Museum, he is devising site specific and materials specific text pieces based on audience contribution. The exhibition opens in February 2012. In January 2012 he will be installing work at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London as part of their biannual series of exhibitions curated by art history students at the institution. He is also curriculum Leader in art and photography at King Edward VII School and Language College, Sheffield.