The experience we are undertaking with this project at the Tate is very stimulating.
The Tate has given us the power of materials as a general theme.
By doing a first brainstorming we selected some materials (almost all edible) that represent the immoderate consumption of man and the consequences that derive from it.
Sugar, coffee, avocado, cocoa, soya, hair…
Trying to understand how to connect these materials in order to create an informative and interactive installation, we realized that deepening everything, without a real connection, made little sense.
So we started to make a selection trying to give a motivation to our choices and so it was: Coffee.
Why? Mainly the reason was that the Tate Modern coffee shops follow a precise procedure that tries to respect and carry out all the coffee production in an ethically correct way. So we thought it could be an opportunity to collaborate with some internal structures of the Tate that could help us with materials, information and data.
From the moment the material became just one, we began to ask ourselves how to represent coffee consumption through an installation in which people could actively participate, considering that the target audience covers all ages.
This part of the process was the one that certainly took the most time, especially because in some occasions we were not able to manage ourselves in a functional way.
We made several hypotheses in the course of three meetings but we still could not be convinced of our own proposals.
At the first meeting at the Tate Exchange we presented three quite similar ideas that represented the use of coffee globally and that, at the same time, also tried to make the user think about the importance of being conscientious in consumption.
The feedback gave us the opportunity to focus on just one of these options and, as expected, we were offered to collaborate with other people within the Tate who deal with coffee such as Thomas, the manager of the entire roasting process.
Before going to Thomas (where unfortunately I was not able to be present) we tried to take forward and define our installation idea in more and more detail.
The details are not defined yet because we have to test the coffee waste and decide how the space will be managed, but slowly we are getting to a final point.
I am passionate about this project as it evolves and slowly takes a final shape. The difficulty of working with such a large group (17 people) is a great challenge for many points of view. The lack of interest of a part of the group has led to further slowdowns and we often made a mistake in identifying the next steps to take. But the good thing is just that, we are learning to carry out an installation by putting together many different heads, each one with the commitment and perseverance he wants to put in.
A few months ago I went to an event at the Tate Exchange: “Power Game” by Lialiane Lijn.
The activity proposed by the artist was the execution of a game in which the players (whoever wanted to play) bet on the value of the words selected by other players. A game dynamic that took me a few minutes to understand, but once I understood it it was nice to watch it from the outside because it was within everyone’s reach and the game was played with the audience itself.
The artist’s performance had already been made in the past on many occasions around the world and I realized how much an idea brought to its maximum simplicity and why not maybe even in a game, can be effective and can convey something to the people who participate.
I think this experience has motivated me even more to want to do something meaningful on the theme that we have been assigned in such an important place that can be used to make people interact in a genuine way.
In the coming weeks we will be able to put ourselves to the test by finalizing our project and it will be exciting to see how people will interpret our work.