This was an exciting week for the Beyond the Balcony project as all the participants met together for the first time, and started work looking and thinking about Manet’s portrait and how to develop our ideas about the theme of the balcony.
On Tuesday YDUK kicked off the workshops and after practising taking photos on the iPads we visited the galleries on the third floor to get inspiration and to start capturing details and subjects that opened our way into the project themes.
The participants were looking for interiors, views and any details of balconies and windows, and thinking about how these related to them and their lives.
It was rewarding to look at the paintings while trying to find particular details, to be looking for something.
There were lots of really interesting conversations in front of the pictures that we recorded so we can use the words and thoughts in the final work later.
On Friday the project participants from MIND came to the Ashmolean and started their part of the project, and again, after getting to grips with the iPads and getting upstairs to look at Fanny Claus’s portrait began gathering their images and thinking and talking about how the paintings they were seeing opened up connections with their own experience.
Imagining views from the balcony, urban or across a landscape, and taking all or part of the image to work with later, or focussing on an interior and imagining the lives lived inside, all provided inspiration for thoughts and memories that we recorded for using later as the project develops.
We finished each session by having some tasty lunch together, and looking at the images taken projected large on a screen. There were some really beautiful images and some great chat and thoughts around the project themes. Both sessions were a fantastic start to the process of building the collaborative work: great thanks to everyone who was there and see you next week!