As part of this quarter’s theme of “Local Radicles”, dlr Arts Office invited visual artist Lauren Conway to showcase part of her series, A Great Public Meeting.
Conway’s project explores the radicles of society’s culture and social participation, that of youth. By depicting personal relationships juxtaposed with rather than included in, empty school buildings. The work presented for this iteration of Library Interventions is a small selection of a wider project, which offers a critical look on the architecture of institutions vs. the ways in which communities divide, coalesce and meander through space in the outside world. This is explored through the imagery of the compact gathering within school discos and diverse variety of young adults that find themselves navigating them.
The work is available for viewing on the 4th floor of the dlr Lexicon library.
As part of this project, the artist compiled a proposed book list relevant to the artwork and to the Local Radicles theme.
Recommended reading list:
1. Curriculum: contemporary art goes to school, edited by Jennie Guy.
2. Foster, Claire Keegan
3. Another Now, Yanis Varoufakis
4. White Fragility: why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism, Robin J, DiAngelo
5. Beverly, Nick Drnaso
6. Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger
A Great Public Meeting artist statement
Through the process of drawing, Conway seeks to tease out a commonality in the collective memories of being a participant within public educational spaces. This body of work, A Great Public Meeting, explores empty educational spaces. It questions and challenges the aspirational promises put forward by the state through formal education. However, once students, teachers, and communities fill these spaces the promises made are not always delivered upon, and the fallibility of the modernist architectural ideals becomes apparent.
The work opens up a space for further connections to be made beyond the educational. It holds to account long overdue commitments to care on social and physical levels. Through the use of archival materials, documentation from site visits, and found images from her teenage years, Conway explores tensions between the empty school sites and the informal in-personrelationships outside the school. In one place, there is restriction and conformity, in the other, freedom and connectivity albeit the narrow version presented within popular media.
The project questions how young people participate within these spaces and how to resolve the tensions and polarities between the two situations.