Awake and You’re in Motion
American artist Jeremiah Day was commissioned to develop a new temporary public artwork for Bristol as part of Arnolfini’s exhibition ‘The Promise’, (July 19 – 4th November, 2014). The work, which took the form of a series of performances, and print works which investigated historical memory and urban transformation in relation to Bristol's M32 motor way.
Jeremiah Day's work spans photography, installation and storytelling, and uses intensive research to establish connections between himself and places of public significance.
For the Promise, Day responded to the results of traffic plans directly with his work, Awake and You’re in Motion (Response to Brief from Bristol Radical Historian), presented within a roundabout within an underpass of the M32 and at Arnolfini Gallery. Investigating the history of top-down traffic planning from a critical perspective, Day explored the impact of the M32 on the surrounding communities and the people who lost their homes during its construction. A series of lithographs pasted to the pillars that support the M32 juxtapose images of ancient standing stones at Stanton Drew as another monumental artifact defining the landscape. An additional set of posters were displayed in the galleries at Arnolfini, along with documentation of the performance made at the roundabout which employed spoken word and movement improvisation to evoke past events and how they relate to us today.
Jeremiah Day graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended the Rjiksakademie de Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Day’s work interweaves photography, performance and interventions in public space to explore how specific sites and memory serve as media for political history. His work has been shown at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and Artist’s Space, New York. For the Liverpool Biennial 2014, Day developed a new performance project, and together with Can Altay, he showed “You Can’t Go Slumming” in the Thessaloniki Biennial 2015.
The Promise is about the relationship between a city and its residents. If we understand the city as more than a place, and more than a shared infrastructure, how do a city’s inhabitants live together? How does the city’s design – its architecture, urban planning and landscape, impact on the lives of residents?
“A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning. The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.” (E.B. White, Here is New York, 1949)
The Promise looks at the role of design and art in the city – how future cities might function, and how we see and create a story for a city. The project focuses on significant points in the history and changing agendas of social planning, such as post war construction, the redevelopment of the harbourside and more recently, the increasing importance of green issues as Bristol takes on the title of European Green Capital in 2015.
Besides the exhibition in the galleries at Arnolfini, the project engages with the city directly. International artists have been invited to develop new works for significant places in Bristol. A series of events and an engagement programme for all ages accompanies the project, taking place both at Arnolfini and across Bristol.
The exhibition includes works by Marcel Breuer, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Conway and Young, Luke Fowler, Isa Genzken, Judith Hopf, John Miller, Charlotte Moth, muf: architecture/art, Studio Manuel Raeder, Josef Strau, Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley, Stephen Willats, and a Mapping Project: Doing Things Separately Together. Offsite commissions include works by Jeremiah Day, Assemble, Gabriel Lester, Kate Newby, Oscar Tuazon, and Lost Property. The exhibition is accompanied by a new text by Jennifer Kabat.
Arnolfini is one of Europe’s leading independent, contemporary arts organizations, and is the flagship art centre for the South West of England with 450,000 visitors annually. 2011 is the year of Arnolfini’s 50th anniversary. Since its foundation in 1961, Arnolfini has built an international reputation for commissioning and presenting innovative, experimental work in the visual arts, always with a strong emphasis upon audience engagement. Many thousands of artists and performers have been involved with Arnolfini during this time, often gaining their first opportunity before going on to long-term success, and this wealth of creativity has been appreciated and enjoyed by consistently large audiences. Much of this ground-breaking work would not have been made or shown in Bristol and the South West region without the Arnolfini. Previous major solo exhibitions at Arnolfini have included: Marcel Broodthaers, Bridget Riley, Richard Long and Liam Gillick, as well as more recently Cosima von Bonin in 2011.
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Arnolfini, Bristol City Council
Arnolfini, Bristol City Council