There was a talk at the Southbank with Jeremy Deller and Lu Jie called Unofficial Art, that I went to earlier in the month. It was a shame that not many people were there, as it was a very thought provoking evening. Jeremy Deller was talking about his Acid Brass project, where a traditional brass band played acid rock music. It seemed to be a way of linking cultures, and breaking the stereotypes around brass bands and creating a new audience. Deller talked about re-connecting people and giving them a lineage. He showed an extract from a video he made of the band playing and it really was good.
Other work he talked about included his documentation of alternative culture in Britain, including traditional festivals such as the tar barrel rolling in Devon. Then there was the film about Depeche Mode fans particularly in Eastern Europe. Questions for Deller were about what is seen as art, what is valued in our society and who has access to exhibiting space?
Art in general he thought lost much by not acknowledging it's connection to the wider cultural forms.
Lu Jie, quipped Am I back in Bejing? when he saw the title Unofficial Art, which made me laugh.
He is involved with a vast array of projects in China some under the heading The Long March, artists travel across China working with people involved in creative practise. I was really pleased to hear about one project, The great Survey of Paper cutting, which looked at the paper cutting tradition in one province, where some of the outcomes have been a higher status for the people involved in paper cutting, usually women, and international exhibitions of their work, more money coming into the region and the re-evaluation of the tradition.
After the talks I was walking across the bridge with Ruth to Embankment station. The lights around the river were making really amazing reflections on the water, the area was filled with people, which was giving a party like atmosphere and a good end to the evening.