Projects

Future Perfect

Nils Norman, Pieces of Play (Footpath), Hengrove, 2015. Photo © Max McClure, courtesy of Bristol City Council.

Synopsis

Future Perfect is an area wide public art programme curated and developed by curator/commissioner team Theresa Bergne and Jes Fernie. Building on the Hengrove Park public art programme (a series of permanent commissions for the Hengrove Park), this three-year programme was developed in close dialogue with the Hengrove and Stockwood Neighbourhood Partnership. The theme for the programme is the future; a notional, fantastical future which embraces extraordinary possibilities and dreams.

Description

Future Perfect is an ambitious programme of public art commissions for Hengrove Ward, a residential area in south Bristol. It was commissioned by Bristol City Council and was the first public art programme to be funded through a Neighbourhood Partnership in which governance was extended to members of the community. The programme was part of a regeneration scheme spearheaded by the Council and funded through Section 106 monies raised to mitigate the effects of development in the Hengrove area.

The project began in 2012 and was curated and developed by curator/commissioner team Theresa Bergne and Jes Fernie. The theme for the programme is the future; a notional, fantastical future which embraces extraordinary possibilities and dreams. The programme consists of four commissions by Martino Gamper, Nils Norman, David Thorpe and Martino Gamper, all of whom had extensive and fruitful conversations with local people, groups and schools to inform the development of their proposals. The last commission – David Thorpe’s Community Orchard - was completed in November 2015, with works by Martino Gamper in 2012, and Nils Norman in 2014 and 2015. An engagement programme for the Community Orchard began in Autumn 2015 and will continue through to the Autumn 2016.

Future Perfect explored the transformative potential of art; how socially engaged projects could inspire as well as inform and affect the way people view their lives, their neighbourhood and their position in their community. The commissioned artists were all interested in creating a space in which new things could happen, ideas could be expressed and the unknown could be explored. Future Perfect encompassed a wide range of art projects including a community hall curtain, a series of pathways and play areas in the area, a display system, a book of drawings and an orchard. All of these projects created a legacy for Hengrove in some form, through improvement of infrastructure in the area, skills development or the personal enrichment of the lives of residents.

A key ambition of Future Perfect was the involvement of local people at all levels. An Art Steering Group was established to oversee the programme, consisting of local residents, parents, councillors and representatives from local community groups. The programme as a whole offered many varying opportunities for individuals and groups in Hengrove to participate, through workshops, trips, talks and events.

The Future Perfect programme included a £40,000 funding scheme to support arts activities in the Hengrove and Whitchurch Ward.

Find out more by visiting the Future Perfect website www.futureperfectbristol.org which contains information on the artists and commissions, as well as videos and photos of activity to date.

Further info

Find out more by visiting the Future Perfect Web site www.futureperfectbristol.org containing information on the artists and commissions, as well as videos and photos of activity to date.

Field Art Projects

Field Art Projects is an art consultancy based in Bristol run by Theresa Bergne. Established in 1999, the organisation has more than a decade of experience commissioning visual artists, designers and performers to create permanent and temporary public artworks and event programmes. Projects include Wonders of Weston, a regeneration programme for Weston super Mare, co-curated with Situations, based at the University of the West of England, and an ambitious, award winning public art programme for The Barts Breast Care Centre in London.  Field Art Projects has recently delivered a multi-disciplinary public art project for Sovereign Housing in Barton Hill with the artist Serena Korda and are now working with the University of Bristol on a series of new commissions.

Jes Fernie

Jes Fernie is an independent curator and writer based in Colchester in East Anglia. She works with galleries, architectural practices and public realm organisations on public programmes, commissioning schemes and residency projects across the UK. Working primarily beyond gallery walls, she is interested in an expansive idea of contemporary artistic practice, which encompasses dialogue, research, engagement and serendipity. She is a member of many art commissioning selection panels and has worked with organisations including firstsite, Tate, Peer, Serpentine Gallery, RIBA, St Paul’s Cathedral, Central St Martins, University of Essex and the RCA.