THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT : COVID EDITION
The irony of this does not escape me.
2020 was the year I had intended to spend some sustained creative time developing my work The Impossible Project. Then it became the year where nothing seemed possible anymore.
Already on this site is the 2019 incarnation of the project which was was presented as part of the Australian Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design (PQ). For that version around 30 projects which for one or more reasons went from seeming unstoppable to being impossible were collected and reignited in small ways online and in book form.
My intention was that in 2020 I would l drill further into some of these works and search out still more with an aim of building them into an immersive exhibition in 2021.
And then Covid 19.
Suddenly the massive number of works that became impossible is overwhelming and heartbreaking. Suddenly it is not just individual works that are impossible but working techniques and presentation formats; skills artists have spent a life time perfecting have, in an instant, had to retreat. They are hibernating, on pause. And as suddenly we do not even know when, if ever, we can return to the stages, galleries and museums. What is fairly certain that when we do return that there will be many things that will never be possible again.
And so I have been thinking a lot about The Impossible Project. Trying in my own small way to work out how this work that seems so prescient can begin to be part of grappling with what has occurred.
I have come to a couple of conclusions.
That it is still important to make this work. That the idea of investigating what does and doesn’t make things possible in any particular time, place or situation is complex and nuanced. That it is a combination of politics, personality and situation. While it can never (and doesn’t intend to) answer the questions concretely The Impossible Project can open up the thinking around it and possibly invigorate and elevate our approaches. And new thinking is sorely needed at the moment.
And, that it is essential that we make a record of this time. That we build an archive and a memorial to the creations that were stopped in their tracks by this unexpected foe. Some of these works will sing again but they will forever be marked by this virus and we must record this as a schism in their ascent. And most sadly. Many, many works will end here, brought down by this greater hand. It seems crucial that we mark that passing. Without straying too far into romanticism, each is after all, the death of a little dream.
It is a little early to know which works will wake again. It is too early to know how different it will all be but it has always been embedded in the philosophy of the project that just because something is currently impossible nothing precludes it from becoming possible in the future. And it has frequently been noted that pieces that become impossible go on to feed and influence or morph into new works. This is truer still for the Covid Edition Impossibilities and as the project progresses and works reemerge I will be looking for ways to mark this transition - and to celebrate the rebirth.
Over the next few months I will be reaching out to the creative communities, and asking them to pass on to others, a request for people to share their Impossible Projects. There already exists a format and a form to be filled (go to the contact page) and the works, ideas and moments that come back will be documented, collated and made public via theimpossibleproject.com.au and social media.
The aim is to build an evolving creative archive of this moment. There is no limit to to its scale bar its completion. But the day when it ceases to be a current necessity, and shifts to become a historical document will be one of celebration.
In the mean time I suggest we find every opportunity to celebrate ingenuity even when works did not become realised as planned.
Until soon, Anna Tregloan.