Iona Roisin - Concluding
We are on the final day of the exhibition. Sometimes post-exhibition you can feel a bit unfulfilled, like you worked hard on something and got very little feedback, like you just spent however many months barking into the void.
As I mentioned I tried to avoid almost all serious conversations at the opening but school organise a KK seminar for us to discuss with other students and a visiting artist. Obviously our enthusiasm levels to talk about something we have been talking about for months already were quite low, and I found the day sadly quite unfulfilling. Our visiting artist bothered me immensely, the normal level of middle-aged-male-artist-machismo I can cope with but he kept asking everyone really personal questions or making judgments about them that were totally unrelated to their work. Given the nature of my practice I’m used to fielding/indulging irrelevant personal questions but I was intensely irritated on behalf of my classmates.
Aside from that line of questioning being asked things like: how do you feel about using your brother for your own artistic gain etc. is only frustrating because it’s kind of one of the main parts of the work that I think the film touches upon, and if I’m being asked that maybe it hasn’t translated? Or maybe people just think they are being edgy idk.
If you make work that is or appears to be personal it’s inevitable that people will try to ask about the situation/thing/problem that inspired the work rather than the work itself, which can open you up to some quite intrusive lines of questioning. If you are open about some things at some times to some people, that openness can be taken as an invitation and boundaries are not regarded. How to present/make in a way that avoids or skirts this or how to answer questions without giving too much is something I am still trying to navigate.
School organised some individual meetings with Frame to discuss our work, they were very positive to me even about things like my installation and the book component and they had seen Practical Masochism earlier in the year which made me feel good.
The reactions to the work have been varied, as expected. A few people have told me they cried which is very touching, one of my friends said that the work gives space or permission to actually look at my brother/special needs people where otherwise you are not permitted. This is interesting, I don’t feel in a position to give that permission obviously, and of course if you make a film with/about someone, particularly in a domestic environment an element of voyeurism will be present. As much as I feel unresolved about these things perhaps a more nuanced level of understanding could occur within the audience through seeing a varied representation of autism/autistic sibling relationships and that can’t be a bad thing?
A teacher told me that it’s ‘too funny’!! Maybe the fact that people can laugh or are allowed to laugh lightens something that could potentially be much more difficult? Members of the public who have kindly chosen to engage with me about the work whilst I’ve been invigilating all want to know what his ‘gift’ is. Most people ask if he’s seen the film yet (he hasn’t). Some people told me the work is important but I don’t know what they mean by that.
I’m still a bit too much in the thing to be totally objective about it. I want to write about privacy but I'm still thinking about it. I know I should include some comments on what my installation is and why but that's basically the main thing you speak about with everyone so I cba rn sorry!
Until next time (the final time) xoxox
(Installation images by Aino Aksenja and Petri Summanen THANKS)