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When arts cuts were announced in Italy, the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples protested by threatening to burn 1,000 works in their collection.
Brighton’s Beatabet Collective have embraced the new age of austerity, however, in the third of their biennial WTF Festivals, which also marks their tenth anniversary.
The theme for this year’s invitation-only day festival is Make Do And Mend, with the artists taking part using recycled materials and coming up with low-budget ideas.
“Artists have been making work despite a lack of money for ever,” says co-curator Chloe Hoare, who is working with Beatabet’s Kassia Zermon on this year’s event.
“There’s no money out there for arts organisations but it won’t stop people from creating work.
“Sometimes by giving limitations you can make people come up with more creative ideas. You see a lot of pieces in the contemporary art world that use the most fancy piece of equipment or expensive materials, or are done on a large scale that costs money – that sort of stuff isn’t particularly interesting to me. I’d rather find out what an artist can do with a scrap piece of paper – it’s more exciting.”
Among the new works being displayed in the two-and-a-half-acre grounds of Falmer Court, where many of the Beatabet Collective are based, are new pieces of furniture put together by artists Kate Duncan and Lisa Turner-Wray from chairs rescued from skips, and a Sound Meadow created by PiP Partnership, which is using recycled materials to create objects that will make sounds as the wind blows.
Visitors are being encouraged to contribute to the works too, with Matt Kilpatrick making a giant collage from images and objects brought to the festival by visitors, while there will also be the option to get a T-shirt printed.
Interactive activities include helping Paula Davy complete a jigsaw blindfolded, getting your shoes shined during the day, or contributing a bicycle light to help illuminate the disco taking place in the barn.
The festival isn’t just about live art events, though, with ten musical acts performing across two stages during the day.
Included on the bill are Beatabet’s AKDK and special guests Balkan folksingers Barefoot Howlers and former Download star Kristin McClement.
“We are trying to create events that are experimental and fun but quite accessible,” says Hoare, who adds that 400 people took part in the last festival in 2010. “There will also be lots of audio-visual and digital work. Kas will be performing as Bunty [see Undercurrent, top right] doing live looping using her own voice to layer up sounds.
“We didn’t ask people to come up with new works, but there are lots of new pieces being shown for the first time.”
Invites to the event will be sent out by email today and tomorrow morning until the start of the festival. If you would like to attend, email the address below with your request.
- WTF Festival takes place at Falmer Court, East Street, Falmer, on Saturday, August 18, from noon to 7pm. The event is free, but by invitation only. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an invite.