Wednesday, 24 June 2009


One big and very instrumental piece of the South London puzzle, Pat and Trevor are an independent curatorial duo, who after splashing their innovative experiments in sound ‘n’ vision across South London roofs, basements and pool parties, moved onto the posher confines of the ICA, Whitechapel Gallery and Tate Britain. Their latest project is set to be bigger than ever and calls for ideas from YOU.

This Is Why We Meet is an investigation, celebration and showcase of collaborative working practice within the arts. A call out for collaborative installation ideas from University of the Arts London students.

How was the idea for the project born?
We were running the Sassoon Gallery in Peckham and working a massive range of shows from MA Sculpture at Wimbledon to boyleANDshaw performance work and experimental music events with Janek Schaefer (British Composer of the Year 2008) and a very special Seb Rochford/Leafcutter John collaboration. We were constantly meeting people, talking, working, collaborating. Laura Vent (from WK) must've been coming to some of the things going on there and wanted us to work with her space at Wieden+Kennedy. At the same time as all this we we're tutoring. It was all about collaboration, exhibiting and meeting people.

Both being fairly recent graduates yourselves, how do you feel about working with students both in this project and as lecturers at London College of Communication?
We feel like current students who graduated 2 years ago. We've been working hard since leaving London College of Communication and have had the chance to work on incredibly interesting projects at respected institutions. Actually Pat And Trevor started when we were still in college. Now there are things we can pass on to students about working together.

Some of the best advice and tuition we got from college was from our peers. We're just at the next stage. We can talk to students about what happens next, and most of the time, they believe us.

The work produced for the competition is going to be collaborative and participatory. How important are these aspects of art practice are at the moment?
They are very important, it seems.There is a difference, however, between participation (you create a situation/have a proposition and invite people to take part in it), and collaboration (something that emerges together from a group of people, always built together) - our good friend Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre pointed this out.

Chaos and challenge can (sometimes) take your experiments further. I found a nice video with Jim Dine talking about collaboration. Usually working in solitude (but for his tools, Pinocchio, an owl, a raven), he says, "It gets lonesome being an artist in a studio. It's a social act as much as anything. And sometimes you run out of ideas, it [collaboration] gives you ideas."
So collaboration is just another way of working.

How will your other work as Pat And Trevor inform this project?
We will be using everything we have learned ever, go out all guns blazing, throw the kitchen sink at them, and then see what happens.

Actually, the most important thing we have to be concerned with is creating an environment in which students will be comfortable. It is going to be very intense, there is a budget for materials, a studio space, and 4 students. We have no idea what is going to happen, but that's what makes it so exciting.

What will the students gain from taking part?
There will be thousands of people walking past their piece every day which is always a good thing. They will meet lots of fascinating people, they will be pushed to experiment, they will be busy and they can do or say anything they want. And they won't be assessed! Actually, we might devise our own special assessment criterion...

By Millie Ross

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