Alt Press at The SHOP
Our In-Situ residency was a project titled Alt Press. The aim of Alt Press was to question the role of the media in our society and the relationship that it has with the general public. Specific to the town of Nelson, we wanted to look at the media’s representation of people within society. This would help inform the creation of new media channels we felt were appropriate for the town.
The project realised itself in a number of ways, which included: the takeover and reappropriation of a market stall, the curation of a historical walk around Nelson as well as regular conversations with business owners and other residents. Throughout, The Shop acted as a centralised location to research, plan and design elements of the Alt Press project.
‘Pick and Mix News’ was an experimental, personalised news service which aimed to raise questions about how an alternate news channel could be realised. This led to us creating personalised newspapers in Nelson Indoor Market. The content of the newspapers was based on a short questionnaire we gave to local residents.
Another element of the project was to ask the people of Nelson which places we should visit. After some consideration and a visit to the local library, we decided to curate these recommendations into a historical walk that used relevant articles we had researched. The aim of the walk was to bring attention to local history as a way of presenting how news has changed historically. This brought our attention to the life of Selina Cooper, a little known feminist pioneer and a member of the early suffragist movement.
Through both positive and negative conversations with local residents, we found that elements of our initial approach could be seen as overwhelming or inaccessible. This led to a focus on Nelson as a topic of news and helped to centralise the research process. An example of this was asking local residents their thoughts on the vandalism of the Victory Centre.
As a trio of practitioners, the In-Situ residency gave us the opportunity to organise our time as individual artists around elements of the project that were most suited to our personal skills. This was made possible through the welcomed flexibility of the In-Situ project and allowed us to work efficiently and create a high quality visual aesthetic to accompany the socially engaged practice.
Our positive experience with the In-Situ residency has given us a desire to continue the project and as a result has given us a better understanding of how we can sustain our own practice and the projects within it for the future. This has been particularly realisable through the sustained conversations and relationships formed with the other artistsinresidence, which has been an invaluable resource.
Our positive experience with the In-Situ residency has given us a better understanding of how we can sustain our own practice and our future projects. This has been particularly realisable through the conversations and relationships formed with the other artists-in-residence, which has been an invaluable resource. While we feel that Alt Press developed a positive presence in Nelson, there are still ideas we’d love to explore as a means of creating stronger relationships with local business and the community.