Today is Monday 12 November and it is 8am in London, I have been back in the UK approximately 15 hours since leaving Mumbai behind, however am yet to leave the SqW:Lab 2018 launch week / studio behind and feel it will be several weeks till I am able to completely understand and fully reflect on the whirlwind that was last week.
Although I know this is the case I want to attempt to write down some thoughts while I am still carrying the spirit of SqW:Lab with me. I want to start by thanking the other nine fellows for their energy, creativity, flexibility and friendship. All were exceptional people and I have had some wonderful conversations, discovered new work / ways of working, laughed a lot and been supported through tears. The SquareWorks hosts, Vishwa and Goto deserve a very special thank you for their patience, kindness and openness to having eight creative people in their home making it their home / studio / kitchen for the week. I would also like to thank my invited fellow, John Ros, for his support, for being an amazing creative soundboard and for fully immersing himself into this research fellowship.
SqW:Lab 2018 fellows, Image courtesy of Sameer Kulavoor
As for the SqW:Lab research fellowship, specifically, I do not know what my expectations were of the launch of the project, as well as this 2018 iteration, other than I wanted to understand varying creative practices more and for it to be a learning curve – and it was exactly that!
Through this first week I have had reiterated to me that I am comfortable taking a lead in administrative tasks and being a guiding / managerial voice in workshops and discussions around the works being produced and thought processes of the participants. I struggled with having a creative output and noted that I did not steer away from the initial idea I had before I even arrived in Mumbai – that of collecting our dust. I found myself wanting to separate myself from the artists and architects in the sense of listening rather than collaborating with them. I was most comfortable when problem solving and making decisions rather than following an emotional discourse – all things that I think are very true to my curatorial style and approach.
SqW:Lab 2018 Dust, Charlie Levine, 2018, image courtesy of Charlie Levine
The things I was most surprised by were my enjoyment of being surrounded by creative practitioners in a studio setting, even when focusing on my own work, and highlighted the isolation of working independently / in a freelance capacity and will be something I will want to address in my work going forward.
The same is to be said for our group yoga sessions and how I was surprised by the well-being impact that practice had on me during this week, both with my mental state, its calming impact and my focus afterwards, as well as my surprise at the strength of my body with the yoga instructor pushing me (physically) into poses I had previously thought impossible. I learnt to trust my body and stretch out of my comfort zone – and this was something that I feel had a great impact on my time in Mumbai and I hope continues to do so, I want to proactively keep up yoga.
SqW:Lab 2018 fellows with yoga instructor Pradeep Mehta, image courtesy of Pradeep Mehta
And now for the next few months, Play Projects and developing a creative practice somehow through collaboration with the nine inspiring artists, architects, art writer and academics who I had the immense pleasure of spending this week with.