Adam James (b.1978) is a British artist whose work brings people together, often using ‘live action role play’ (LARP). KEMENETH – the Cornish word for community – is an artist’s project developed by James in collaboration with St Ives communities and Tate St Ives.
One group of local collaborators, PlayClub, have been meeting in a series of online sessions to playfully explore their experiences of the past two years. Together, the group have created two fictional community collectives which embody solutions to individual, local and national needs. One collective, The Fiery Foraging Warriors, is based around ideals of ‘living off the land’ as equals, and centres on a green space on the upper outskirts of St Ives. The other, The Inclusive Isolationists Society, proposes a creative community on a fictional ‘island of strange events’ off the West Penwith coast. Both share an interest in moving away from the social isolation and reliance on technology they had experienced since March 2020, in favour of more cooperative and fair modes of living.
PlayClub members have imagined characters and inspired costumes and banners associated with each fictional collective, which have been produced by Adam James and the Kemeneth Makers Collective, made up of local people with an interest in textiles. These elements are brought together in an immersive installation, The Improbable Meeting of Two Fictive Solutions to a Shared Problem, created by James at Tate St Ives.
Running concurrently to the gallery display are two 'augmented reality’ (AR) environments by James – The Inclusive Isolationist Society at the Island of Strange Events and The Fiery Foraging Warriors – which can be discovered at two locations in St Ives. Using a smartphone app, these outdoor public spaces are brought to life with an immersive experience that reflects the ideas and values of each of the two fictional collectives.
Project realised with funds received by Tate St Ives as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018