More than one voice
Text: Eija Hirvonen
Would it be fine to describe an artwork as a process of registering points of connections and contacts, and not to discuss an artwork as a piece of a finished work – in other words, to see the finished piece of an artwork as an one aspect of a chain of endless encounterings between things and people?
Wasp Factories took a form as a Finnish – British collaboration art project in Edinburgh Art Festival in August 2011, inviting also voluntary local participants to join the project. In fact, in the original team coupled together, Anssi Taulu, Minna Kangasmaa, Tuomo Kangasmaa, Tim Davies and Anne Marie Taberdo, everybody knew someone, but nobody knew everyone. Also while using recycled materials, placing the art works in the forgotten parts of the city and surroundings, it is reasonable to say the project became also a research of themes of community, collectivism, recycling and space.
A preliminary work was done when the concept of Wasp Factories was tested a couple of times in Finland where Anssi Taulu has organized workshops in Jyväskylä (2008) and in Lohja (2009). Already then building materials used in the sculptures were recycled, as a self-evident starting point. In its core Wasp Factories is an argument of the state of modern society. It questions, can we, in this climate of uncertainty, forge solutions with our own ingenuity? Do we dare search for solutions with total strangers? Can we create for the benefit of the collective?
Wandering around Edinburgh to find locations for artworks was one way of understanding needs of the project in the context of Edinburgh. The site-responsive artworks take forms of structures and shapes of wasp nests. Site searching around Edinburgh generated also contacts with people. An interest was shown in an empathetic call ”tomorrow is fucking Monday” from Edinburghian guys in the sunset of beautiful Sunday while artists were peeping over a brick wall in an abandoned factory area. Contacts were expressed also in a bit more articulated form, when people in the Forest Café on Bristo Place and the Pavilion Café in the Meadows offered a possibility to use their spaces, as a site for a wasp nest and for events around Wasp Factories.
To become a community more than one voice has to be able to speak. Looking at the group working at Edinburgh Sculpture Studios which was a base for a physical work in creating nests, it will soon come clear that the idea of the wasp factory or the wasp nest can generate numerous manifestations. Of course, the idea of the wasp nest is tempting for a form for sculptural construction, but we can also consider the idea of the wasp factory connected into the thought how society functions; what is appropriate for the benefit of the collective?
However, referring back to the group dynamic of Wasp Factories, and as a suggestion, also to the current condition of society, it is probably significant to admit everything is in the flux and precariousness is the condition of our being. Do we dare search for solutions with strangers? Even loose bonds demand trust which is always in the test in building something together.
The process of the Wasp Factories can be followed in the project blog