Making a collaborative sculpture in Hounslow
As the blogger in residence at this year’s Bell Square outdoor arts festival, in Hounslow, I’ve been enjoying seeing a real variety of different performances and a mix of artistic mediums.
Every other Saturday throughout the summer something exciting happens on the square – something for everyone and anyone. Hounslow brings it directly to the public, and the public loves it!
So, it’s another Saturday afternoon in Hounslow’s Bell Square…and once again something completely different.
Italian touring company Teatro Stalker has worked together since setting up the ‘Political Collective’ at Turin Academy of Arts in 1975. The company maintains a strong commitment to bridging the gap between performance and contemporary art, experimenting in socially challenging situations, with audience participation at its heart. Using its distinctive style, Stalker makes ‘happenings’ which embody the environment and the people who inhabit it.
Steli (meaning ‘Reaction’) is a project realised by Teatro Stalker together with the Educational Department of Castello di Rivoli Contemporary Art Museum: one of the most important contemporary art museums in Europe.
Here in Bell Square, with upbeat music blasting over the loudspeakers, Teatro Stalker invites members of the public young and old to construct a sculpture with them, bit by bit taping together long, thin, brightly coloured sticks of yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green resembling giant pick-up-sticks. In doing so they create a spontaneous, ever-growing sculpture; a rainbow of geometric shapes. Here is a wonderful process of collaboration and joint discovery, engaging the natural curiosity of both participants and onlookers alike as decisions are made; cooperating and working in unison to make or a solve a problem – all the while building confidence and a magical sense of community cohesion.
Watching the sculpture grow I was struck by its rhythmic musical quality, the ephemeral structure creating a kind of spatial poetry. Slowly but surely a bright, colourful, angular composition grew – precariously at times – and somehow miraculously found its balance. The children were playful, focused and engaged throughout the process.
And then…as if in an adventure playground of their own making, they took a ludic journey through it, step by step negotiating their achievement.
I can’t help but commend what Bell Square Arts festival is doing for the community in Hounslow. It’s providing inclusive events which bring together a wonderfully diverse audience of all ages to play, to witness and to discover through the medium of the arts.
So if you get a chance to visit Bell Square this summer they have got a fantastic program of events happening over the coming month. Shows take place every other Saturday both in the afternoons and some evenings, and it’s completely free of charge, so just roll up, take your seat and be entertained.
Hounslow High Street
Hounslow TW3 3HH
For more information: https://www.bellsquarelondon.com/