Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thoughts from the Agents

After a tough day battling the elements, the agents thoughts on their day's intervening in West Bromwich prove enlightening.

"it was raining really hard today and that in itself became a challenge to overcome. people were generally curious about the activity and its purpose. there was some wariness, bemusement, cynicism and even aggression but... the overall impression (is) that the people have been excluded from the decision making process of regeneration, and worse still, forgotten.

"my attention was drawn to the kind of messages being communicated on the high street. the facades of buildings and market stalls have a type of visual language and a specific diy-handwritten aesthetic to the signs that appear to sell and advertise. are these signs read? or noticed?"


"i was apprehensive at first and very much out of my depth. having completed the walking tour of our target zone, i was struck by the seeming lack of public involvement with regeneration decisions. the town cannot change unless the people want it - equally change should not be expected to be a success unless people are in agreement with that change. as the day progressed, my confidence increased and people, at first reticent, began to engage in discussion.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

After the missions comes the documentation.

Back in the relative warmth and mostly dry Interrogation room, the agents set about disseminating their afternoon's activities and thinking about how to document and display them. This next 1 1/2 hours is essential to provide the viewing public the opportunity to understand what has happened.

The Interventions

the afternoon provided the agents with the toughest possible public realm conditions...rain. however like true agents they weren't deterred and here are their resulting actions.

Agent lynch responded to the multitude of types of signage to be found in the high street - some professionally branded, but mostly impromptu and home made. she responded to the presence of workmen by the clock tower by making and positioning a sign by them proclaiming their work to be about a "new square" for west brom. by adding a question mark to an "opening soon" sign she altered the sentiment. and the tiny but perfectly formed addition to the signage of a stall holder did what both other interventions did i.e highlight the empty or broken promises often made by councils and in particular, west bromwich council.

Agent Cassidy-Smith used rubbings of architectural and physical features found in the eastern gateway, and combined them with photographs of overlooked architectural features, displaying both on the ground - part performance, part intervention, it was designed to arouse curiosity in the public, who, agent cassidy-smith hoped, would be moved to actively question her actions. her resulting rubbings were stitched together to form a book for the documentation wall.

Agent Powell was struck by the endless promises of regeneration and sought to highlight the issue by offering the public a chance to regenerate themselves. having bought a selection of "fancy dress" adornments, she attempted to persuade people to give themselves a "60-second makeover" whilst offering them the chance to talk about their feelings towards the town's regeneration.

Agents' repast = inspiration

dinnertime for the agents but that's no time for resting - 45 mins gives them just enough time to wolf a couple of sandwiches down whilst seeking light-bulb moments

inspiration found in a wafer thin potato slice

The agents' INTERVENTION briefing tour

Following the procedure of previous mission weeks, the artists are led by Agent Francis on a tour of the target zone - a chance for thoughts and ideas to ferment into hopefully what will be fuller formed projects this afternoon.

the agents inhabit the public space

the rain can't get in the way of art

the artists ignore the rain 

agent francis - the director

agent cassidy-smith listens to agent francis' direction

interrogating against the tide

the local constabulary worried about speeding in the target zone

pizza hut under threat

will one of these notes result in a successful outcome?