Residency Dates: 28 September 2020 – 20 November 2020 

Post-pandemic, this will be our first physical residency at Artcore Gallery in Derby. Learning from the experience of our ‘Error & Power’ residency-from-home and online exhibition, ‘Together in Isolation‘, our series of online exhibitions responding to the changing world we abruptly found ourselves living in when lockdown began, and our success in reaching audiences digitally, we would like artists to make work across both physical and digital platforms, recording and broadcasting both live and recorded material as the work progresses.

Through the residency, we want to give two artists the opportunity to make new work dealing with the tensions caused by the current uncertainty and looking forward to a brighter future.

‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’

The famous opening line of L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between, published in 1953, speaks of the problematic nature of memory – personal and collective – and the subjective nature of history. Both memory and history entail the telling of stories which are at best half-remembered and at worst cynically misrepresented, especially when the voice is Western and its position one of assumed superiority, and the re-telling perpetuates systemic racism and prejudice. Statues have suddenly and unexpectedly become the focus of conflicting accounts of history, sharply illustrating the dangers of symbolically commemorating actors and actions that shaped a past that should be a cause for shame celebration.

But what of the future – is that, too, a foreign land, and will we do things differently there? In a very real sense we will become a foreign country in January 2021, as we finally sever ties with the European Union, so how should we break free from the mistakes of the past and what monuments to the future should we build?

Nothing changes, and at the same time, everything changes: since March we have lived in limbo, somewhere between the past we thought we knew and the present we were expecting, and now the future we dreamed of seems to have changed beyond recognition. In The Go-Between Hartley’s main protagonist and narrator, Leo looks back fifty years at the suppressed memories of his past.  He recalls the events of the year 1900 – the momentous turn from the Victorian past to the unimaginable upheavals of the 20th Century. The story of Leo’s lost innocence highlights the modern experience of broken time, a condition in which humanity is on one hand alienated from the past, yet on the other cannot be free from it.

Noam Chomsky says, “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” We believe that artists can and should take responsibility for creating a strategy for a better future, and we would like to hear your proposals for doing so.

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