Thought Workshop 2 took place at Hoxton Hall on Saturday 26 October 2013. Our participants again had joined us from across the country as well as Rome and Brussels. This time we gave the day a title: A Rehearsal for Utopia.
We started with a talk from Dr Richard Noble, Head of Department and Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, with a background in political philosophy. Richard is the editor of the Whitechapel Gallery publication Utopias and talked to us about the concept of Utopia and how artists have approached the idea. Much of the day was structured around a workshop led by Andreas Lang of the London-based artists and architects group Public Works. Following a presentation of some of his own projects, he ran the workshop in three parts:
The participants introduced where they presently were with their ideas for change, reminding us of their cause and reflecting on how their thinking had progressed since they first joined the group. Prior to the event, Andreas asked everyone to bring along a prop or an object that might have some connection to the individual ideas for change. We saw shirts, silver shoes, weighing scales and the Starship Enterprise among other things!
In small groups the participants were asked to visualise the future results of their projects, speculating on how their individual causes may develop over time – a model for Utopia. The result was a collective future scenario where the different concerns of the groups were brought together into one narrative.
The participants were asked to individually make direct impulsive actions. Everyone was encouraged to act upon and initiate their Utopia, call someone, write a letter, go visit a place, get feedback, find allegiances or write a speech.
In the evening each participant had been asked to invite one guest: a friend, a colleague, a relative, a neighbour – whoever they chose – to join us for a sharing of the day’s work and the group’s ideas, explaining what had happened to their Utopias today.
Lunch and dinner were prepared for us by Mazí Mas. Mazí Mas is a social enterprise and a roaming restaurant that creates employment opportunities for migrant and refugee women, whilst bringing the best of authentic home cooking to the London public. They talked to us about their project, where they came from and what food they had prepared. Lunch was Ethiopian and dinner was a Brazilian/Filipino fusion. Both were delicious. Read about their experience of the day.
We also invited artist and filmmaker Dan Saul to make documentary of the day. You can watch this below.
We will be back at Tate Modern for Thought Workshop 3: A Reality Check on Saturday 11 January 2014 and can’t wait to move things forward there.