Funny how things start.
Last Summer I had a conversation, in Venice, about inviting people to have tea with me in Splott. Then, because of it, this Spring, I'm working on a project to make links between g39 and The Trinity Centre.
Word of mouth, contact, connection, ideas, links.
At the start of the project, we had some really good ideas. Ideas about how to approach it and what to do. Ideas about where to go and how to look at things.
Mostly, they didn't quite happen. They were, and still are, good ideas it's just that they came into the world too developed, too formed.
Since that start I have been stepping back. Looking behind those initial ideas and working out how to make connections between the two organisations, how to allow the ideas to bear fruit.
In a way, Just Between Us isn't really an exhibition. The original intention for the Unit Space has had to be shelved because the original ideas for the project have had to be shelved too.
What you will see in the Unit Space is, instead, an attempt to document the process so far, the
process of stepping back, the process of creative failure.
Not an exhibition then, but a reflection of the start of a process. I've spent time at the Trinity Centre. I've hung out in the drop-in and joined in with English classes. I've watched people playing table tennis and had cups of tea. I've tried to notice how people use the place and to notice something of what they get from it. Most of all, I've exchanged smiles and handshakes and had conversations.
One of the things that has really caught my attention at Trinity is the table football table. There are two teams of plastic men, red and blue, and the games tend to start with men (and so far I have only seen men) from different countries, say Iran and Eritrea, on opposite sides of the table. What gets me every time is that a colour doesn't equal a nationality or even a team. There are often 3 or 4 players on each side and 2 or 3 people at each end, waiting for a turn. What seems to happen is that when a game ends and it is the end of the agreed number of games, everybody moves round one. So a game may start with men from one country on one side and men from another on the other but, sooner or later, they will have swapped round and there will be men from both countries playing on both sides.
What this means is that a game, which, by its very nature and design, is adversarial, mixes things up and breaks down the ideas, and the consequences, of difference: I started off playing with people from my country against people from your country. Now I am playing with you against people from both our countries. I started off playing with one colour, now I'm playing with another colour. I started off on that side, now I'm on this side.
Thomas Williams, 2016
The process is continuing. During the month that the work will be on show in the Unit Space, there will be events taking place there and the attempts to develop, enhance and deepen the connection, the relationship, will continue after June 25th.