Wed 21 — Sun 25 Nov • Mer 21 — Sul 25 Tach
This festival is for challenging, provocative and imaginative artworks. The 12th annual edition of Experimentica focuses on :
UNSEEN. Profiling new work that in some way reflects this notion of the challenging; the experimentical; the genre defining.
UNSEEN is not a theme for the festival, more a point of departure; a catalyst for ideas; an opportunity to explore the often hidden or ignored; the spaces between and on the edge.
From last years festival -
Futuristic and foolish?
We have been up all night my friends, the lamp light thrilled by moths, moths as feverish and futile as our hearts. And trampling underfoot our natural cynicism on the cruddy carpets of a rented Roath flat, we have been discussing right up to (or past) the limits of logic. Scrawling notes over coffee stained paper after paper.
The windows shook as a train passed, the night froze up and let out loud cracks, drunk became the drinkers, beastliness became the television, sorry songs emerged...
We awoke this morning not visionaries. We awoke not conjurers or clairvoyants. Just plain old artists with an idea.
Common as an artist’s commune.
A spectre haunts Chapter Arts Centre. All the powers of apathy, fashion, and muso sneers have entered into utilitarian alliance to exorcise this spectre. Where are the troublesome? Where are the un-fashionable? Where are the jitters, the outsiders and the underhand educators? Which clandestine corner hummms with poetry?
Two things must result:
To this end Experimentica assembles the actionists and artists, armed with no end of experiments in thoughts and objects and bodies. Individually we have all invested in different perspectives, varied approaches, and beguilement. Together though our labour holds one common direction: art moves towards knowledge. The faint outlines below form an initial sketch; an Experimentica Manifesto. These lines that over the festival of performance we fill with colour.
What’s going on?
Artists generate knowledge in actions and objects and the relationships between things. Knowledge of space and material. Knowledge of intuition and something between faith and politics. The final part there, that bit between faith and politics. That’s important. It is something more like love, or care. Art could certainly be a knowledge and an application of care.
The most important question you can ask an artist in order to learn more about an artwork they have made is: ‘What do you care about?’
It is a difficult question though; give them some time to think about it.
Why is that such a difficult question?
We are resigned to art. It’s something that we must get along with. Made with no grand intentions of changing the world, educating the masses, or imparting important messages. It’s a deal with the vacantness of the world. It’s an act with no agenda or tainted strategy. It’s a total failure of pragmatic utility.
Art - An elegy. Art - A poetic zero, that in its very chilling and humble humanity reverberates with something. Something not found in apples and medicines and good business sense.
I don’t care about the art world...
Here then, a spectre haunts the building, believe me. The spectre we talk about is a spectre of care. It is a discourse of art that happens too rarely. It is a discourse of culture that happens too rarely. It is where art is not a separated thing from culture.
Care is a critique of culture on moral grounds.
You presumptuous pig! You absolute colonial arsehole! You sick ugly sick sick sick idealist!
Here we go... Idealist: the worst of the worst.
The lowest of the low.
What is it that you love? Is there something towards which you are so indebted that it’s impossible to not swoon with visual language.
Love that fills you with such furious anger?
Love that looks simple in simple things?
Then what does it mean?
Then what does it meeeaaan?
Then what does it meeeeaaaan?
Then what does it meeeeeaaaaan?
Then… Then art can be an act! Art can be an act of living critical culture.
This is a manifesto.
Experimentica 1.1 team:
Sam Hasler is an artist and writer based in Cardiff who has taken on the role of the "voice of the festival", generating texts that frame the festival programme (including the above manifesto).
Kathryn Ashill is providing a warm Welsh welcome to artists and visitors this year. She is aiming to facilitate a strong sense of community during the week through food, drink, an information/ welcome point and a sleepover. Kathryn is a Cardiff-based artist who responds to site and human relationships, relying on public participation in her investigations that have included inviting people to wash, kiss, cwtch her, or watch as she makes visual, ritualistic actions.