What is the most important decision you have made?
A site specific, socially engaged drawing for Cupar Arts Festival, Cupar, Fife 5 – 17 October 2013
This question was asked of 73 Primary 7 children from Castlehill Primary School in Cupar, Fife, Scotland in an interactive workshop designed to bring out their experiential understanding of the 2013 Cupar Arts Festival theme of “fate”.
What is the most important decision you have made? the artist book, is a visual narrative of the realization of this idea. It also credits all participants and randomly records, in type, all answers to the question. Limited edition of 100, signed and numbered with ISBN
In Latin, the word fate is derived from the neuter past participle of Fari, which means “to speak”. This can be translated as “things spoken” (by the gods) or “the sentence of the gods”, as the word fate is often linked with the word destiny. Jenny Smith’s work explores the significance of the spoken and written word as traditional forms of communication, and investigates ways these can be re – interpreted within our contemporary, digital age
Participants discussed the title question with Jenny and then answered it in their own handwriting. The children randomly drew 30 answers out of a hat and Jenny selected 12 from which to create a wooden stencil. Laser cutting the stencil, enabled the integrity of the original handwriting to be maintained as the children used it to cut their answers out of a grassy bank at Haugh Park in the centre of Cupar. They cut out the negative spaces around the words, leaving the words as a positive, growing in the grass. This is a work that asks us to re-examine our definition of drawing and consider the relationship between time and place.
The question is one that can be reflected on at any time in our lives but has particular relevance to 10 and 11 year olds as they start to take more responsibility for making decisions. The park is a central hub of the community in Cupar and also significant as a place where children play. All 73 hand written answers and part of the stencil were displayed in the window of a local shop, Poles Apart, for the duration of Cupar Arts Festival.