Greater Things (2021)
A participatory art work focussing on the founding ideas of Braziers Park.
In a summer without a Supernormal festival due to Covid, the Supernormal team came together with members of Braziers Park School of Integrative Social Research and Braziers International Artist's Workshop to play Greater Things: a collaborative game devised by artist Abigail Reynolds.
A collaborative game is analogous to the community at Braziers Park. Greater Things is a simple game of catch, with the addition that as the ball is passed around, players must remember in order the section headings of Glaister's text Greater Things: The Blueprint For Braziers Park School Of Integrative Social Research written in 1945. These eclectic and enigmatic phrases are a summary of the ideas that shaped the community at Braziers.
Beginning with the question ‘Is human nature incurably selfish?’ Glaister examines society in twelve chapters, speculating on a possible future through a multiplicity of post war lenses including biology, religion and anthropology. He considers for example, the life of an uncultured magician, the modern use of primitive religion, the creation of multi-mental organisms, emancipation from illusion, and Super-Normal people, ending with an invitation to us to join in the effort to build a better future.
‘I’ve been involved with Braziers for years through the workshop and the festival which followed it. It has a unique place in my mind - Braziers to me is like a landscape remembered by children; there’s a curiosity, insouciance and a turning upside down of expectations embedded there. Working with the archive what struck me most was that the founding aspirations and ideas of Braziers Park are still being played out. They extend to the core principals of the workshop and festival. In ‘Greater Things’ I use a game of catch as an analogy for ideas being passed down. The players are drawn from the three organisations represented in the archive, bringing them together in the present, which, staged on the terrace at Braziers Park also feels like mythic or ‘real’ time – the time of childhood.’
Statement of practice:
Abigail works across many media to consider and create meaningful shared experiences in public space. She is currently creating work with libraries as part of British Art show 9. Her work, ‘Elliptical Reading’ is an ongoing participatory work for UK libraries in the form of a regular reading hour. Readers meet weekly and share short sections from favourite books, generating an unruly word collage which builds over time. It will manifest in each city of the BAS9 tour.
All her work is in essence collage: making connections and bringing found materials to a fresh context. This often illuminates historic changes in social structures.