Monday, 22 September 2014

Deptford X: what is the value of art?

Our regular annual festival of contemporary art kicks off this Friday with a launch event at Faircharm and rounds off with a 'march for art' on 5 October, followed by Fred's traditional Art Quiz at the Dog & Bell.

In between there will be comics, a musical, film installation, music mash-up, book launch, dinner, workshops and a human chain. And maybe even some more traditional art too.

The theme of the festival, which this year is curated by artist Bob & Roberta Smith, is 'what is the value of art?' Bob & Roberta Smith will be working on a new painting and encouraging people to contribute to a collective response to this theme.

On the main programme I'm particularly looking forward to the film installation by Komori & Seo - not specifically because I am familiar with their work and feel an affinity for it, but because it will be in the crypt of St Paul's Church and you don't often get to go down there, especially if you are a confirmed heathen like myself.

Of course in days past it used to be the venue for parties hosted by the famous Father Diamond - such as the one featured in this film about Deptford (I've been looking for an excuse to post that for months). Ironically the comments in the film about St Paul's Church seeming to be aloof from the community could apply today. The frequently-locked gates might reduce litter and petty vandalism in the church grounds but do little to convey any welcoming message to the community.

But I digress.

Deptford X has a very healthy programme of fringe events, which I often find more fun and stimulating than the main events. I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of the Dancing Builder (live feed here), so much so that I may have to make a special trip on the DLR to see him; anything with the word 'fanny' in it immediately attracts the attention of my juvenile nature, and considering this particular fanny will be in the Job Centre, it's even more attractive; while we're on the subject, I've already done the screw jokes, but there's always room to slip another one in, so let's not ignore Johnny's DIY; and just to demonstrate that I'm not just about smut, I am looking forward to seeing Mandy Williams' photographs of Kentish riverbed despoilation, which will be on show in the Creekside centre and appeal to my love of urban landscapes, warts and all.

There's a myriad of stuff on offer, as well as all the open studios and South London Art Map late Friday opening on the first day, so you're bound to come across something going on even if you don't mean to. You can't ignore it, and to be honest, you'd be foolish to miss it!

Deptford X

Printed programmes will be distributed around Deptford on Thursday or Friday, and available in PDF format here


Anonymous said...

as usual, interesting and informative story Dame, but there is something that I noticed yesterday - that a property developer has become the 'lead sponsor' of Deptford X - I wonder if the artists taking part are generally aware of this.

Deptford Dame said...

In recent times there has often been a property developer as sponsor of Deptford X - hardly surprising given the extent of redevelopment going on in the area. Cathedral, United House, Barratt Homes, Renewal; god knows what will happen to the festival once the rich developers have left town! I agree it seems rather ironic, given that redevelopment will ultimately result in the loss of all the cheap artists studios and probably change the face of Deptford's art scene forever. On the other hand you can't put on a festival of this size without some financial backing, just the design, printing and distribution of brochures must be a hefty cost.

Anonymous said...

the design, I would hope, would be done for free (I'm a designer and I do a lot of free work for local political causes), distribution, again, can be free with volunteers, print costs remain of course but with careful design these can be controlled and the printers I use generally do work on a material-only basis, so I hope Deptford X are taking advantage of all these things.
So, no, the things you've mentioned need not be costly, certainly not to the extent that you have to sell your principles (assuming these principles are generally negative towards developers) for a few leaflets. Anyway, on the Deptford X website they mention other sponsors, including Lewisham Council - so why have a liaison with a developer?

Well, the answer is that the developer assumes that it'll do (them) good - and they can probably write it off against tax.

A pity I think, especially for 'Bob & Roberta'