On Saturday, left behind, is the answer. The photographer we had documenting the day was taking a photograph of everyone involved – the Bedford Happy gang, the choir, Bedford Creative Arts production team, assorted artists, and so on. But me, the artist? Left out of it.
Talking to Lloyd Davis, who was helping document the day, we realised that in some ways, that’s the sign of a job well done. The social artist is an alchemist, mixing things up, making things happen, lighting the touchpaper – but a good alchemist doesn’t really want to be part of the bang itself.
But it’s important to remember that Bedford Happy was a work of art, not an event. It had a narrative, the stories gathered by the artist about what makes people happy, which were used to weave the day together.
It used the whole town as a venue, because that served an artistic purpose – to remind people, by using they spaces that they already knew in different ways, that they were special places and that Bedford, as a whole, is a beautiful place.
And it had a very strong aesthetic, a sense of beauty which held all the diverse parts together. (And that worked so well, one lady was overheard talking about how ‘those Happy people’ were everywhere. We were a small team – we weren’t. But the branding was that strong that it looked as if we were.)
So, where’s the artist? There, behind it, underneath it all, interwoven into the fabric of the artwork. So maybe not in the big group photo, but very much there.
PS This photo, taken later by the ace Graham Watson from We Can Creative, does have me in it – because I insisted. 🙂