A weekend at the gallery

Production managing Transmute at BDF, 28/09/14I’m just emerging from a very hectic week and enjoying some quiet time this weekend. I was going to go to a massive rave-up in Hackney Wick tonight but have chosen to stay at home to write, drink tea and watch The Great British Bake-Off on iPlayer. I do feel a tiny pang of rave envy as I write this, but on balance I think it will do me good to get some rest and catch up on the list of piddly things I’ve been neglecting for too long. If I’d gone to London, tomorrow would have been a complete writeoff and I think I would have ended up getting stressed in the coming week over all the things I hadn’t done. So I am aiming to get up early tomorrow, maybe go for a run (I haven’t been for weeks and weeks and weeks), and have a productive day.

Last weekend was insanely busy, with the Digital Festival event on Sunday night. But, we did it – and it was a success. I’m actually really glad that I got involved, not just because I can add a Production Manager credit to my CV, but also because I learnt a lot and met yet more lovely people on Brighton’s cultural scene. I’m quite proud of myself for pulling it off, even though a lot of it was down to chance rather than design.

The catalogue of minor disasters I predicted in my last blog post did unfold, of course – we were REALLY up against it in terms of time, and that meant that I just didn’t get the chance to make sure everything was how I would have liked it to be. The funniest moment was a few hours before opening, when the technician tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at a wall in the main gallery which was meant to show a projection of Earthmoves, a beautiful film by Semiconductor. Instead, we found ourselves looking at rather graphic porn. After we established that the Semiconductor piece most definitely did not contain any porn, we worked out that it was someone else’s video that was meant to be shown on a small monitor in another room. (Incidentally, that piece was a feminist critique on gender identity, and the porn fragments were intentional.) I scribbled a quick ‘this piece contains material of a sexual nature’ warning on a piece of paper and stuck it on the wall with blu-tac. Next!

In fact, the whole thing happened much as I had expected it would: it was chaotic, everyone worked really hard, there wasn’t enough time to do anything properly, we were behind with almost everything, but it somehow all came together at the eleventh hour. After we opened our doors at 7pm, I looked around and realised it was actually happening: people were milling around, having a beer, watching the projections, listening to talks and performances. No one tripped over anything. No projectors fell on anyone’s head. No one complained about unexpected porn. All of the artists turned up, most of them on time. It was about an hour before I finally put down the roll of gaffa tape I was nervously clutching in case I had missed any cables that needed to be taped down.

So when I hit the sack at about 1am on Sunday night, my heart still pounding with adrenaline, I felt pretty satisfied. Yes, it was hard work during a gloriously sunny and warm weekend, sandwiched in between two very busy weeks. It would have been great to go for a walk on the Downs rather than securing blackout curtains with a staple gun and running around a big art gallery all day with a clipboard showing all the tasks I hadn’t been able to check off. But I widened my network yet again, and all the feedback I received was positive. One of the speakers even asked me to manage a launch event for him in November (I had to turn it down, sadly, because I know I won’t have time). In short: job’s a good ‘un!

Now, I’m pretty happy to be able to focus properly on Blast Theory and our Kickstarter which is due to launch VERY soon. I am so delighted that they’re paying me to manage the campaign, and I’ve had a very long but really productive week with them this week. I already know I’m going to be really sad to leave them, and to end my career break which has been such a marvellous rollercoaster of crazy projects and lovely people. I still don’t know what I’ll be doing in a couple of months’ time, but I kind of know it will be ok.

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4 thoughts on “A weekend at the gallery

    • Thanks Jonathan – extremely good advice, as always! Duly put Caribou’s latest album on Spotify, I’d only heard a few tracks and meant to give it a proper listen. Fruit salad to follow shortly 🙂

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