Research Topics and Speculation about Art and Public Space by Scottish artist Matt Baker

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Commonty, Anonymity and being At Home

Since the end of January I have been involved in helping to set up an new network for people involved in the creatives arts in the region where I live...SouthWest Scotland. This has been on an entirely voluntary basis and does not come under any recognisable/justifiable category such as 'marketing' (I've actually tried to be as anonymous as possible) why am I doing this I keep asking myself?

Last week I was talking to the lady who runs our village shop - we talked about different types of places to live and the subject of 'anonymity' came up ie different types of people either like to be anonymous or not and certain types of place naturally lend themselves to one or the other state of being. When I work on a public art project I become very visible in a place...I put myself 'in the line of fire' in the hope that my very public actions will somehow be to the benefit of the place that I am working.
I have always said that I would not work 'close to home' because I needed a place that I could absent myself from that public exposure. But the benefit of being public somewhere is that I move around a place with a sense of being a real part of what is happening there. The flipside of this bargain is that I have always felt curiously apart from where I am living. 

Just this last couple of weeks I have noticed myself looking at places and people locally in a different a way that I recognise from places that I have worked in. Is The Commonty teaching me that I need to feel I am creatively investing something in the common experience of a place in order to feel truly at home? (and the safest way to do that at home is for free)

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