Work by Janek Simon at the exhibition "Craftivism"


December 12, 2009 - February 14, 2010
16 Narrow Quay
Bristol BS1 4QA

"Craftivism" is an Arnolfini contemporary art project that responds to the resurgent interest in craft as it relates to socially-engaged art practice. It involves thirteen projects developed by artists and collectives that work with craft-based traditions and activist practices, and who employ the tactics of 'craftivism' (combining crafting & activism) to question and disrupt the prevailing codes of mass consumerism.

The project attempts to collapse the distinction between 'making' and 'doing' - the former associated with craft, the latter with human action. It places an emphasis on interaction and participation in the wider social realm, and employs aspects of self-organisation and 'open-source' principles. The artists involved engage with craft-based traditions through diverse practices including art, technology and fashion. Selected works exemplify 'innovation' in the general sense that newly invented forms might diverge from established rules and perceived norms.

"Craftivism" is developed in relation to a range of contexts and includes eight artist-led participatory projects developed with local communities, the outcomes of which are shown as part of a gallery-based interactive exhibition, online and in free software-related projects, workshops, talks and the uncurated satellite event "UnCraftivism".

Invited artists & collectives: Kayle Brandon & Heath Bunting, Rhiannon Chaloner & Manuel Vason, glorious ninth, GOTO10, Household, Rui Guerra, Christine & Irene Hohenbüchler, JODI, Mandy McIntosh, Gloria Ojulari Sule, Trevor Pitt & Kate Pemberton, Janek Simon, Stephanie Syjuco, Clare Thornton.

The Polish artist, Janek Simon has developed a display in collaboration with the scientist Józef Bukowski that explores the individual psychology of bees, and how this effects the making of honeycomb. Seemingly meticulously crafted, honeycomb is produced by bees with an incredible array of difference. This scientific display presents the bees in a way that allows the individualism to be seen in their bodily forms, their behaviour and their productivity. Remaining pragmatic at its core, Simon's work seeks to bypass mainstream modes for producing culture and objects, often to exist within his personal cycle of manufacturing. His works give the appearance of simplicity, yet they offer insight into possibilities for a wider under- standing of how things work or are made. A colouring book is available for visitors to take away.

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