KITCHEN (britt salt + jon hewitt) with T-SAC: Make Your Own Damn Arts Centre

KITCHEN is a collaboration between britt salt and jon hewitt who recently completed a Trans-Siberian art project which they now wish to turn into a book. Kitchen would like to work with an arts writer or a writer with an interest/background in arts and culture who is keen to write a foreword for our book and collaborate on some of the text in the bulk of the publication.

T-SAC Gallery- Cabin no. 5, Day 2

T-SAC Gallery- Cabin no. 5, Day 2

Our book idea: T-SAC: Make Your Own Damn Arts Centre

The Trans-Siberian Arts Centre (T-SAC) began as an idea that didn’t have much more genesis than a “Why not?” being laid on the pub table one night. (Pubs are important.) It developed as an opportunity for emerging artists of any background to get some airplay, for us to learn some skills in directing an arts organization and to add some interest and most importantly, fun, to the slow pace of life that ensues on Trans-Siberian train No.4 from Moscow to Beijing.

With over 160 international artists involved, T-SAC presented a series of artists postcards, films and performances throughout this 6 day journey to an unsuspecting audience, with surprising results.

We hope that the collaboration with a writer could bring up new questions about what an artist run initiative is and DIY emerging artist projects. So if the writer has an interest in this specifically, there is a chance for some interesting ongoing discussions.

'Handshake' (Still) by Danae Valenza, 2011, Balezino Station, Russia

Handshake (Still) by Danae Valenza, 2011, Balezino Station, Russia

Through an insight into how T-SAC developed, our book aims to encourage artists to experiment with making new work, instigate their own projects, and interact with a diverse audience including, but not restricted to, the ‘art world’.

T-SAC-Gallery- Cabin no.5, Day 3

T-SAC Gallery- Cabin no. 5, Day 2

Bio Statement:

KITCHEN was founded in London by artists britt salt and jon hewitt in 2010 as a not for profit travelling art space which instigates exhibitions, performances, commissions and events to support and promote new emerging art internationally. From their experience of the London art scene grew a drive to work collaboratively on a venture to allow new emerging art to be promoted and experienced informally and accessibly for both artists and the public. Travelling widely with no fixed address, KITCHEN promotes a varying range of artist projects using a ‘pop-up’ ethos. Their first project in 2011 was the Trans-Siberian Arts Centre, a pop-up gallery that presented a series of events and new works by international emerging artists during a 6-day journey from Moscow to Beijing on board the Trans-Siberian train.

britt+jon, 2011, T-SAC viewing, Beijing

britt+jon, 2011, T-SAC viewing, Beijing



More details: T-SAC: Make Your Own Damn Arts Centre

…With a captive travelling audience aboard the train, T-SAC aimed to bring together a series of 3 exhibition projects for this audience to encounter from the 26th April- 2nd May 2011; an international open call postcard exhibition, a film and video exhibition by UK and Australian artists, and a series of performances by Australian artists that would be shown on the platforms the train stopped at en-route.

The Open Call postcard exhibition of works by over 160 artists made an impressive contribution to the project, covering the T-SAC cabin walls from floor to ceiling. In many ways, this particular exhibition was the easiest to access for audience members, whether they were enthusiastic and shot in to chat to us, shy and passing by to have a sneak peak, or a customs officer checking our passports at a border and being completely distracted by the works plastering the walls. Everyone can relate to a postcard. And the audience for this exhibition was as diverse as the postcards being exhibited.

It’s fair to say that we were incredibly surprised by the relaxed nature of our Cabin attendants. (These are usually the people that stop you from doing things you’re not supposed to in and around the train. These are also the people that provide you with toilet paper in dire situations. So it’s best to keep them onside.) When it came to running an arts centre onboard the train, without prior permission, we half expected that at some point we would be pulled up by an authoritative figure to halt certain parts of the project. In particular, we thought that this moment, if it were to arise, would almost certainly come during the filming of one of the Platform Performance works.

The Platform Performance series brought together a collection of works by Australian emerging artists which each involved simple or everyday actions. These were re-created by britt+jon, following the instructions of each artist at certain platforms and passengers were encouraged to interact and participate. In true DIY arts centre form, some performances proved more difficult to execute than others within this particular public environment. After much consideration of the potential of this performance to cause cultural or social insult to a public audience in Russia, Mongolia or China, Anastasia Klose’s Slapping Video was performed and filmed within the T-SAC cabin. While back out on the platforms, Danae Valenza’s Handshake created action the audience really responded to. From railway workers to cabin attendants and passengers, the simplicity of two people standing on a platform relentlessly shaking hands induced laughter and conversation between strangers watching on, before passengers themselves began to get involved and shake hands next to us.

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