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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  February 2009

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING February 2009

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Subject:

Re: from afar

From:

marc garrett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

marc garrett <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 1 Feb 2009 17:31:34 +0000

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Hi Peter & all,

Firstly, a warm thank you to Susan, Nick, Zachary & Peter for shariing 
with us detailed perspectives regarding your own experiences with The 
Public; from the 'thick of it', as Peter points out - in contrast to 
'from afar' which is where I and many others on this list sit. Although, 
I am sure many of us can reflect upon similar situations, if called for.

 >What has been said in the news so far is only partly accurate, and
 >some disingenuous press releases havenít helped.

I am disappointed by the trickle of, any authentic press coverage about 
The Public. Especially when the examples of media related-news coverage 
around it, has been more interested in the pleasure of scapegoating. 
Yet, when reading real accounts from some those actually involved, there 
is a more complex story to be told.

When listening to Will Alsop's interview on Radio 4 about it, I didn't 
get much of an insight into the matter at all, other than a discussion 
relating to the Arts Council not continuing its funding this time round.

 >This has never happened. The building was due to open in mid summer
 >2008, but by spring it was still a hard-hat construction site. Every
 >month from then on we had been promised that testing would be complete,
 >exhibits would be working but every month brought new lists of problems.
 >I am not included in conversations with the local authority but as I
 >understand it, there was a combination of the technology being more
 >complex to resolve that was ever anticipated, the local authority not
 >having the cash flow and having its own political pressures that
 >meant it couldnít prioritise the building, and, I suspect, not having
 >the right frame of mind to deal with this kind of project.

Even though you emphasise on Andrew's behalf it was not a media art 
project. One of the worries I have in regard to the various whispers 
going around in the media/news outlets with some linking to issues about 
the technology, with The Public; is that, it may unfortunately offer up 
even more political weaponry for those who are constantly cynical about 
the media arts in general. Especially if we take note of the recent 
troubles with the ICA and its closing down of Live art & media art in 
its venue and Echen's misplaced and frankly irresponsible comments on 
the subject.

The other interesting thing here, is that you have given the most 
clearest account in relating to us that, the local authority have played 
a major part in holding things back, due to its own political pressures. 
I have been reading various blogs where some local groups were 
complaining about how much it would cost them to enter the venue - I 
recall the amount of £20 as an entrance fee, which may be just an idea 
rather than real, not sure.

 >The local authority have said that they are committed to opening the
 >building, and, indeed, because it is written into their EU funding
 >grants (as an urban regeneration project) they will have to do this.
 >The Arts Council is also committed to the Public building as a
 >substantial regional national lottery project, so they have ring-fenced
 >3 million and asked the local authority to come to them with a business
 >plan. We all genuinely hope that the local authority can manage to do
 >this in a form that does justice to the artistsí work since itís
 >central to the experience of the building.

 From what I have read and heard, it seems that the arts council have 
remained supportive all through the process. What I do not know, is if 
the local authority have equally been as supportive in sharing this vision.

Thanks again,

wishing all well.

marc

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