On a cold December evening around 50 hardy individuals braved the weather and the competing claims of carol concerts, office parties and end-of-term student bashes to join us at the very wonderful Guest Projects art space in East London for FIVE YEARS: MY BRAIN HURTS A LOT, our five year anniversary festive fundraiser co-hosted with Lizz Brady and Broken Grey Wires.
It was a lovely evening, featuring everything that makes Art Language Location for me a very special project to be involved in. It was great to catch up with many ALL artists past and present, including Annamaria Kardos, Alban Low, Kenji Lim, Richard Ducker and Sally Stenton. There were also friendships to be renewed and new acquaintances to be made: I finally got to meet Owen Kimm, who exhibited with us at ALL2013, and I caught up again with friends I had not seen since university.
We made every effort to transform the space with artworks, and the array of Matthew Wilson’s helium balloons that formed the centrepiece seemed particularly effective. Particular mention must go to Rosanna Greaves for compiling for us our Reel of Fortune of short videos by ALL artists and to Amelia Critchlow for a very beautiful installation made especially for the show.
Performances have come to be an important part of ALL: there is nothing quite like the buzz of live work and Alistair Coffey, Kenji Lim, Kato Catling and Luca Stradivari provided us with our fix. Special thanks to Richard Allen for compering this part of the evening for us and delivering some high-performance poetry too. Laura Napier provided a spectral appearance, transforming language into imagery, and Felicity Barrow heroically managed to join us at the end of the evening for some audience interventions.
We were aiming to raise some funds for our future projects. We had Lizz Brady and Kirsty Harris on cocktails, Veronique Chance delivering a mean mulled wine, and our tabletop sale and silent auction both proved very popular too. The bedazzingly besuited Tom Hackett joined us from Nottingham to oversee the Guess The Weight competition for his silicone fruit bowl. A late flurry of guesses led to a suprisingly close result: John’s estimate of 4.4kg proving to be impressively close to the actual weight of 4.35kg. Many thanks to everyone who bid, bought and boozed – our final takings came to over £800.
And so finally a huge thanks to the ALL committee – past and present – who have helped to make it all happen: it is lovely to be involved which such a great team. Following a music set by Markus Soukup, our evening ended with a release of Matthew’s balloons over the streets of London, a recreation of his 2012 work for the original Text&Context event. The balloons simply say ‘What Was I Thinking?’ and sometimes it seems a very fitting question to ask. But as we watched them float off into the night sky, we realised that sometimes it is a question that does not need an answer.
If you were not able to join us but would like to contribute, there is still time to click here and make a donation. All monies will go to future ALL/Broken Grey Wires projects. Thank you!
Images: Yas Rix, Rosanna Greaves, Robert Good, Lizz Brady