Place Projects was established around a central ethos of connection: consolidating existing connections between artists and groups and fostering new ones between those who might not otherwise meet, all with a view to facilitating dynamic, risk-taking shows and events.
When we applied to be part of New Work Scotland at the Collective Gallery, we wanted to embed those long held ideas at the very centre of the project we were proposing.
We were delighted to be selected but immediately had a healthy sense of trepidation about how the project could possibly work and there seemed to be an endless number of frighteningly shifting variables involved in what we had set out to do.
The idea was this: the guest room is a small and unusual space, and rather than enter an unwinnable war of attrition with the architecture, we decided to work with its oddness as a room and create a project which would set the artists at the core, providing them with scope to use the gallery in any way they deemed interesting.
We decided to set up collaborations between artists who had not worked together before, with the emphasis on a transparent process of collaboration with the importance shifted away from output and towards the experience of coming together to generate ideas and possibly works.
Once we had cemented this as the outline for the Guest Room, we realised that setting those particular variables to rest had invited a whole new set of questions and concerns; like a set of Russian dolls, every seeming conclusion or point of settlement gave rise to further necessities for careful consideration.
As we realised how intricate a process we had initiated, we began to realise that, in line with our ideals of generosity and risk taking, we should open up the development of the project to anyone who might be interested. Any artistic undertaking has points of friction and struggle which are usually obfuscated by the presentation of outcomes, often leaving little scope for others to learn from mistakes or take away an understanding of how to replicate successful elements, so with this in mind, it became highly important to us make available all the highs and lows of this collaborative process.
And this project is collaborative on several levels: Place Projects and the Collective, Place Projects and the artists, the artists and Collective. We all have a role and a voice in this, and have agreed to be, albeit tactfully and constructively, wholly open in expressing the strengths and weaknesses that emerge in the networks we are building and navigating with this undertaking.