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Order in the chaos of diversity? / 22 October 2012

Working in the Cafe Space, I observe the Arts Centre visitors. Most people are busy chatting over a coffee, but in one of the groups I cannot help noticing a man whose eye is frequently being drawn to the enigmatic video installation already mentioned in the first of these blogs. He is part of a lively conversation yet still seems powerless to resist the image. I decide to invite him to talk about it and head that way.

Instinct pauses me when I am almost there. A lone guy with two glasses of wine on the table looks questioningly at me; this has to be a Con.Text conversation.


He tells me his life story and it hurts to listen. I'm amazed that he seems so self aware and together, and deeply moved by his profound insight into the effect certain artworks have had and might still have on his life.

At intervals in our conversation he toys with one of the wine glasses and occasionally takes very small sips of the contents.

He's an ex-soldier and an alcoholic, sitting in this arts space with two glasses of wine, waiting on his first appointment with a counsellor.

At the end of our conversation he pushes away the second, untouched glass, and stands to leave. My head is too full to continue.


I do aim to be sensitive to people's personal space, but in the interests of a balanced selection of conversations, I occasionally intrude upon people who are obviously absorbed in their own communion. If I get the timing right, these can be very generous and fruitful conversations.


The most difficult to process are ones where people are persistently contradictory or have one overriding opinion to press upon me. One lady was determined to convince me that while superficially we might agree that every individual was unique, my view of uniqueness was in her view, inferior as didn't take into account how different we all were.



Art is somewhere to escape panic.

A place to hide from disappointment;

sanctuary from under-achievement;

vicarious engagement with fun,

exotic and dangerous; art is

where boredom and boring are lifted

to the realms of meaning and purpose.

Art finds me in hindsight, in now,

art lures me into a future.

Art says what words cannot express;

art weeps for me. Shoulders burdens;

eases the silent loneliness

of difference. Art enables

a cultural response to the

incomprehensible; order

in the chaos of diversity.

Art offers a home

when I am





Starting a Con.Text project, throwing ideas and silences into the melting pot, and finding ways to focus the rather random nature of it's start, feels like a risky business as I'm never sure that conversations will naturally follow my chosen direction.

'Creatives in Con.Text' has quite a complex structure, making it harder to settle into, but it does result in conversations that stay with me, delight and trouble me and encourage me to continue to explore our relationships with the arts and the part artists can play in our journeys.




Keywords: art,con.text,confronting demons,diversity,poetry