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“I’m an artist, but I don’t make things. I make events.”
Anthony Schrag is coming to Mill Hill in Blackburn as part of one of Super Slow Way’s community commissions. Anthony works closely with communities and develops events in response to the issues and people he encounters, exploring the place and its people which often leads to participatory and performative events.
“I prefer to work with people in a participatory manner instead of making things to put in galleries. Central to my practice is a broader discussion about the place of art in a social context.”
His practice of participatory art can take many forms from the human piñata to lecturing sheep – that is exactly what it sounds like! His most recent work involved him walking from Aberdeen to the Venice Biennale; a three-month pilgrimage and durational art piece, in which he tried to trace the value of different art practices and how they relate to the people he met, from the socially engaged, people-oriented work of Deveron Arts, who commissioned the work, to the ‘high art’ found at the Biennale.
In response to a request from members of the Mill Hill community, Super Slow Way set a brief with the hope of finding out what it means to be a ‘Mill Hiller’. Anthony will set about developing his response through a series of interventions in the community, trying to get a sense of what identity means to people who live there.
Anthony said: “I am really excited to get to know the Mill Hillers and work alongside them. My work is always site- and context- responsive, so I try to design projects that are relevant and meaningful to community groups. I look forward to exploring all that Mill Hill has to offer and what fun we might be able to have together!”
“I’m super excited to be working with Super Slow Way as they seem to understand how artists work in social contexts and that support is really critical if projects are to be a success.”
As part of his first research trip, Anthony spent three days in Mill Hill, staying with a local resident and working closely with the community centre to start exploring the town and its people. He has spent time getting to know residents at the local club and pub and met with local councillors community workers, street pastors and the police.
Anthony will be spending 60 days in the town of the next year and is busy planning his next visit.