Artist in Residence Installation
Reflecting on my time at Brunel as Artist in Residence, I found one recurring word that embraced the many facets of this experience - "bridge". Linking together different senses in synaesthetic art. Linking together different neurodiverse perspectives. Linking the academic and the artistic. Acting as a bridge between what happens inside the walls of the university and the wider 'industry' outside.
When I started my role of Artist in Residence at Brunel University in January 2023, I had a very precise idea of what my role was - the meaning of the word Artist carries a lot of expectations, both from outside and from within.
I thought I had to create a perfectly packaged artistic product, whatever that may be.
I was going to be the canvas.
And like this canvas, my preexisting ideas were broken into lots of pieces as soon as I came into contact with Brunel staff and students.
At university you focus and specialise deeply in your chosen subject, getting to become an expert in your area. In a university you may find experts in completely different subject areas working next to each other, and communication can then become difficult. Your expertise in one specific subject will change your modes of communication, the lingo, the style, which may differ greatly from those of a different subject area.
Most of the cut pieces in this installation come from a large canvas that was painted by workshop participants at the AiR workshops throughout the year. These canvases were then broken down and cut into pieces to represent the many different forms of communication, the languages, the styles. How broken down communication and expression can be and how incommunicability affects our ability to involve different perspectives in conversations.
The common link, represented by the red thread, and the "bridge" connecting all of the pieces together is the very core of the Artist in Residence Programme.
Art itself, artistic expression, is what can connect us all through sensory, empathetic, instinctive language. Art is the one universal language that transcends the barriers of expertise, of words and of logic. It is not about the prepackaged art, it's about common language. It is not about perfection, it's about communication. It is not about who and what and where, it's about linking together.
Valeria Perboni, 27th October 2023