Aug 162010
Well, it’s done now. Twelve short weeks of planning, devising and creating and the weekend event called re:bourne is now history. Or not…plenty of the installations and performances elicited creative, tangible feedback from audiences that is being collated and kept and may appear again in not too long, whether through exhibitions or otherwise (watch this space…) And keep an eye on the re:bourne website plus our site and that of our partners, Workers of Art, for plenty of photos and videos of the event.

Days before re:bourne happened someone asked the question, ‘Why Sittingbourne?’ As in, ‘Why put all of this energy and creativity into an event here, rather than somewhere else?’ A simple question on its surface, but there’s a subtext, isn’t there? The question is really, ‘Why put all of this energy and creativity into a community with no experience of this kind of arts experience…and which is unlikely to understand it, let alone appreciate it?’

The answer to both questions is the same: Why not Sittingbourne? Why always London or Brighton or Canterbury? What intrinsic cultural advantages do audiences in those communities have over people in and around Sittingbourne, other than more regular exposure to interesting, engaging creative work? In which case, a vicious circle ensues: if one assumes that folks in the sticks won’t ever ‘get’ ambitious arts-led events, no one will bother to offer them. If they’re never offered…

But if nothing else, we think re:bourne has proven our case, not that of the cynics. We were told again and again that re:bourne should be taken as an experiment and that we shouldn’t be disheartened if our largely local audience didn’t get it, or were even hostile to what was on offer. Kind words meant here, but for us, missing the point. As demonstrated by the following sentiment, scrawled by a re:bourne audience member as part of an interactive installation, our re:bourne audiences did ‘get it’. They engaged fully in re:bourne, whether through something wonderfully simple like underwater UV body-painting (wait for the photos!) or through more abstract film and audio installations. Did everyone get it? Probably not. But not everyone gets what they experience at the Edinburgh Fringe or other high-profile, like-themed happenings (it’s just that fewer are ready to admit it).

Thanks to everyone who helped us make re:bourne happen. There’s a huge list of people involved so we won’t bang on here, but suffice to say that along with artists, officials, funders, and production crew, the people of Sittingbourne deserve our thanks as much as anyone. They gave shape to re:bourne. It’s their triumph as much as ours.

Posted via email from rebourne2010’s posterous

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