Posted by: stelladuffy | September 26, 2014

Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist

choose what you want to do

Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist* – the official title of our Fun Palaces website, is now live as an artwork on The Space – the online gallery and festival created by the BBC and ACE. There’s a great piece about it from Sandy Mahal, director of The Space.

Making this site, making it live and live (with both pronunciations) has been a huge labour of love, passion, outreach, engagement and real collaboration between the Fun Palaces team, Caper, Mudlark, and The Space.
We have, each of us, worked with people new to us.
We have, each of us, come to understand both the limitations afforded us by limited time, money, resources, peoples – and the possibilities that affords.
It’s been a massive job and we see this iteration as really the very beginning.

I urge you to have a look round the site if you haven’t already – here’s some bits I particularly like :
– every Fun Palace has it’s own maker page, be they big or small, funded or not, digitally-savvy or brand new to all forms of tech. We’re calling this ‘equality of online presence’ – and we’re proud that The Space’s support enabled us to offer a space to every Fun Palace to share what they want, how they want. Some share a lot, some share some, the options are open to all.
– our film, beneath the scrolling banner (edited, updated, re-edited and re-edited again by the brilliant Remi Stewart) was filmed by us and by Fun Palaces makers themselves.
– our live images (courtesy of Instagram) and our live info and chats (courtesy of Twitter), in the scrolling banner, allow visitors to the site to see what is happening with Fun Palaces all over the place, in real time. Come the weekend, they’ll be updating still faster! (Yes, not everyone uses Instagram and Twitter, but they’re free, and free is the key for us – how can we make this available to the most people for the least cost? Many FP makers have taught themselves how to use these methods of communication in order to be able to share more widely – many of them are using free technology, in a new way, or for the first time.)
– the map lets you find your closest Fun Palace
– there’s loads of juicy stuff in the blogs – from making a Fun Palace more accessible to how to engage digitally, even when you’ve never wanted to do so before
– and we also have pieces about the key figures behind the original idea and how this version came into being

All of it is ready to (eventually, time and funding willing!) become more interactive, more engaged, more something we can all use – meanwhile it is fully able to share live on the Fun Palaces weekend, to create an archive of the great work that was made, and to be the artwork that WE make it :
– an artwork of the people made of the live engagement on the Fun Palaces weekend and the lead-up (because making a Fun Palace that is a Fun Palace in itself!)
– an artwork of the people made of the images and ideas we created, held as a kind of archive
– an artwork of the people ready to sign up to create again, anew, in 2015

It’s art and it’s science, together, in the same space, at the same time. It’s a Fun Palace. A Digital Fun Palace.

* Joan actually said “Everyone an artist, or a scientist.” I misremembered this and started saying “everyone an artist, everyone a scientist” – and it’s stuck with us. It’s better really, we’re in an age where either/or is not relevant. All the artists I know also love science, use sciences – all the scientists I know care about the arts, are their own artist. We are arts and sciences, with different balances, different focuses, but both. Just like Fun Palaces.

Posted by: stelladuffy | September 19, 2014

IndyRef – now can we lift the Left?

Because we’re stuck with this lot if we don’t.
It’s 8 months until the next election. I’m really interested in how we use the passion of the Scottish Left (both those for independence and those against) to FULLY engage the (fractured) all-Britain Left, especially the too-many who feel so disenfranchised from Westminster politics that they choose (or don’t bother) to vote at all. I do not believe that the majority of this country agrees with the poor-punishing, disabled-attacking, divisive and brutal austerity-lie ‘coalition’. Rather than rely on UKIP to split the Tory vote*, we need to find a way to unite the Left and engage those who have given up on party-parliamentary democracy. It’s the only system we have right now, and therefore the only way of getting rid of this government. With another five years they WILL complete the dismantling of the NHS and our education system. Thank you Scottish voters, from both sides, for your passion. Time for everyone else to pick it up a little. A lot.

* it won’t, Tories will always vote Tory when it comes down to it, they’ve shown us that time and again, it’s the Labour Left vote that gets split to Greens, Respect, and other Left-leaning (or Left-seeming) parties. It’s the split vote that has (recent) historically gone to the LibDems (though I doubt that will happen now), but it was a left-split vote, rather than a pro-Tory vote, that enabled this (not)coalition to emerge.

ps – I have my hopes pinned on a positive result in New Zealand. watching you with interest, Aotearoa. xx

Posted by: stelladuffy | September 11, 2014

51 to 27 and 75 (aka, how the ‘failures’ are useful)

Dear 27 year old me,
today you have two interviews about Fun Palaces and one about your short story collection, you have a book reading tonight, tomorrow you fly to NYC to get a show you directed into a new theatre, on Sunday night you fly back in time for a Monday Fun Palaces interview.
Yes it is knackering, and it’s brilliant.
And you’re very lucky in that you also have a brilliant partner who gets how it is.
The thing is, 27 year old me, you wanted all these things then, and you didn’t understand that you hadn’t yet done the work that would make them happen. You hadn’t yet done ALL the work that was rejected or ‘not understood’ or seemed to end in nothing.
Those ‘failures’ got you to this place too.
Dear 75 year old me, I’m so looking forward to what you have to say to me at 51.
Stella x
(ps 75, do you think, by then, someone else might be paying for the flights?!)

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