What happens when artists and scientists collaborate with no brief and no guidance? Robert Devcic asked 50 individuals to interpret their understanding of rest and demonstrated the outcomes in the Mile End’s Art Pavilion.
One October morning our class visited the “Rest & Its Discontents” exhibition, an hour before its official opening, with the curator, Robert Devcic, talking about the causes and consequences of (t)his display. With every new exhibition, I seem to think: how can a short visit, a few moments of your life, change the way you think so rapidly?
The inter-disciplinary experiment was created from the initiative of many members. Robert co-worked with the Durham University which was doing a research on sleep, and brought over 50 scientists and artists together to interpret their understanding of the “rest”.
The unexpected is what drove the project forward, some participants dropped out, but the ones who completed the task created something spectacular.
In this way, Robert has examined the new curatorial approach which focuses more on academic research and less on the artwork itself. Artists become the interpreters of their thoughts. Same as regular designers, who are always given a brief and it is up to them to effectively achieve a given goal.
The “Rest & Its Discontents” delivers an experience. It is about the way we feel and react to what we see. There is no right or wrong answer about how we understand rest. The outcome is as the original concept – unknown, personal and unique to the creator as well as the receiver. The objects, sounds and videos become tools of interpretation, focusing on one’s breath, movements and sounds created by sketching, experimenting with ripped cloths, or searching through the (Wellcome) library’s books.
The aim of “Rest & Its Discontents” is to address a wider public and to activate creative thinking. It provokes a debate about intellectual property, something everybody owns and, in today’s world, needs to protect. Thanks to the Robert’s skills of managing expectations, communicating ideas and controlling budget, a wonderful place for self-reflection and relaxation was created and it is up to us to design more hubs like these where our minds and bodies can come to rest.
The Mile End Art Pavilion, Rest & Its Discontents #restexhibition
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