Stephen Willats HUMAN RIGHT @ MIMA


Emoji summary: 🖼☕️⚪️

since graduating I’ve thought more n more about how art fits into the rest of the world. how, really, it isn’t as big a slice of the pie as i think it is. which is fine!, im glad. There is more to my day than zombie formalism, sarcastic neons + seeing on instagram yet another girl has cast her boobs. Idk. even aesthetics aren’t enough at this point, like, i want a weight and a story. bc do you ever stop to think, what do you want the shape of ur life to be?

i think: i want to run around the world and be warm

i wanna have a little family, little flowers

i want to write, work with good people

and every so often i want art like good conversation.

i was in the right mood to enjoy the Stephen Willats exhibition at MIMA. i didn’t care how it looked, and the arrangement and installation made predictable use of space::: But it’s abso fine bc it was an exhibition to push its content above all else. and what i was getting from it was that movementtt as locallllll artist meets locallllll resident valued for their energy as a community builder and change-maker. * Willats set Middlesbrough people into his art like non-fictional characters in stories everybody there knows already. Their images are set against text narrating moments of politics and care. the exhibition is pleasant - even as all works are necessarily presented with the dissatisfaction that’s pushed the starring role to want to change their situation.

the gallery space becomes public. it starts to feel like the kitchen in work, where there is an 80 year old who is revered and adored. when I first started the job, everyone told me to watch out because ‘she does not suffer fools’ (so i obviously want to be her). i kno Willats would have made art about her if he’d have been in liverpool.

*he is an artist like a quiet hype man, making people into modest icons*

and there is a theoretical level if u want to see the work from another walkway. it considers cybernetics, the techy philosophy that humans navigate this world interpreting information from senses/sensors; there is, in the cybernetic world, man-machine equivalence; and the world is active like an operating system. The exhibition isn’t claiming all that for Middlesbrough, but he’s using the idea of systems to look at a diagram of social realities, tangled n meaningful; cybernetics to look at the self-organised political effects of particular individuals in the city.

u don't lose anything for not wanting to engage with this extra info n that’s the way exhibitions should be. u can take it at face value its ok

it’s just nice to step image to image and meet new people. it’s nice to stop between episodes of whatever and have a chat instead. that’s quality time xxxxxxxxx

a womans face behind a red pale filter and in the middle of a square, and she’s saying find out the rules first and then go back and argue

a graphic that says the space time traveller with squares in different colours getting bigger and bigger

pictures in black and white of men on the phone, hanging in the middle of the space

an image taken from the window upstais showing the gallery where different images are hung on walls, and there’s also images on stands in the centre