In the summer after my first year of MFA I was interviewed and selected to become a gallery invigilator at Camden Arts Centre. I was prompted to apply by the earlier visit in the centre when I became captured by it’s atmosphere, curatorial edge and local arts centre ethos.
It was very intense and enriching experience. I have also volunteered to give tours during exhibition therefore I was required to research exhibiting artist and prepare further for public speaking. Camden Arts Centre is small and tends to look after it’s volunteers well. I did feel that I have been supported throughout to succeed in giving tours. I talked about Jeniffer Tee, Daniel Richter and Christian Nyampeta. My overall experience was good, I have managed to engage the audience and hopefully provide a little bit more extensive experience and better understanding for them. I also learned that the public is bound to ask the question on only work or aspect of the exhibition I have not researched. At some point I also had to deal with very confrontational and disruptive member of the public who was spoiling the tour experience for the group. I wish I handled I a little different then - only afterwards I have reflected that the best approach it would be to firmly redirect them to the end of tour when the time for questions will be given. I prefer when questions are asked organically as they raised, but in this particular case it was so disruptive that it would have been better to apply a different approach.
Also, when invigilating Jennifer Tee show, I have volunteered to read fragments of books to the public. The stash of books related to the theme of resilience was part of her show and she kindly requested willing volunteers to read them out loud. The readings happened randomly and before they started the audience have been asked to lay down on one of knitted artworks and close their eyes. Some have complied some didn’t. I found when they did it provided a better experience for them and for myself, perhaps that unobserving detachment in a safe space provided greater comfort for both parties. Some people wished that the reading lasted longer and it was very moving for me when they personally came up to say “thank you”.
This has inspired me to include a reading recording in my work for The Crypt. Unfortunately, the acoustics of The Crypt while having a group of talking people in it, that I totally underestimated due to my complete lack of experience with sound work, have altered the outcome too much.