Thursday, 2 February 2012

Occupy Thanet, The Turner Contemporary, You Can’t Always Say What You Want.


I went for second look at the new exhibition that is on at the moment at The Turner Contemporary and also a second chat with the people in the tents outside.

I am a slow thinker and find it hard to absorb things without several attempts, so guess it will be several more visits before I even know if I will ever understand the exhibition or the demonstration.

Because both of these thing are happening in the same place at the same time, they are linked for me and I have to consider them both together. I go into the exhibition look at some of the paintings, go and have a cup of tea, go and talk to the protesters, go back and look at some pictures, go an have lunch in the gallery restaurant, sketch a few of the people in the restaurant, go and talk to the protesters again, go back an look at some of the pictures and so on.

One thing is absolutely certain and that is I will never be able to write down properly what the Turners are about, if I could then painting them would be have been pointless. In much the same with the protest, if I could communicate what it is exactly about in a few words then there wouldn’t be much point in people camping out in a very cold and exposed place at this time of year.

With both things you really have to go and engage with them yourself, with the turners looking at the pictures online or in a book isn’t the same at all and with the protest it is as much about exchanging ideas with the protesters as anything else.

Many of the Turners on display are small watercolours, sketches to catch an idea or a moment, some work for me and some don’t, I would guess that some worked for Turner and some didn’t. If you use a sketchbook, then I imagine you will understand what I mean. If you don’t then using a digital camera is somewhat similar, you take a lot of pictures, some work and some don’t, some convey something to you personally, because you were there when you took them and wouldn’t convey anything much to anyone else, some convey something meaningful to some other people, stand up on their own in some way.

As readers of this blog will know, if I go somewhere I usually take a lot of pictures and publish them all, including the ones that didn’t work, here are today’s http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop212/

If I get time and somewhere reasonably comfortable to sit I also do some sketches, this just isn’t something you can replace with photography, for instance I did three in the restaurant, today.

One of the window cleaner.

One of the people sitting in front of me.

And another one when some people went away and someone else sat down.

Some are obviously better than others, but you can only tell up to a point, unless of course you were there, recognise the people and can therefore tell if I managed a reasonable likeness.  

I think it is much the same with the turner watercolour sketches and this is more difficult because it doesn’t say which ones were intended for display, with some it is obvious that they weren’t. One is four different sketches on one large piece of paper, which has been cut up after the sketches were done and then reassembled in the frame.

With the protesters, it is obvious that they have some real and valid concerns, their statement gives you some idea http://thanetpress.blogspot.com/2012/01/statement-from-occupy-thanet.html

I don’t think they are so much proposing some sort of solution as they are discussing ideas with the people who visit.

I will ramble on about this I expect.  

23 comments:

  1. Nothing to worry about, Michael. The Protesters themselves do not really know why they are there. It's a piece of self indulgence and good fun.

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  3. John, complex this sort of thing, I got involved in various protests myself about forty years ago, and I suppose there is a sense of this, some people involved will be like you just said, some won’t.

    Essentially though the problems of 1% of the population controlling most of the wealth, the banks gambling with money, and so n are real. The Margate High Street problem is also very real and the long term implications of everyone having to make some sort of environmentally much more damaging journey for shopping and leisure than would be the case if the people living in the town had the facilities in the town.

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  4. Which was more interesting - the tent people outside or the exhibition?

    Great to see the recent Granville pictures on your blog.

    Ben Kelly

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  5. Michael,
    I had a good friend who used to go on CND marches for the sole reason that it was a good place to pick up girls. I expect this has coloured my opinion.

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  6. Do you think if it will increase my chances of picking up women if I join the Margate protesters? This could be the thing to persuade me. ; )

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  7. Peter,

    I am sure you stand a chance. Some heavy listening, flattery and a camera could do the trick.

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  8. The only thing that the Turner Center and The protesters have in common is that they are both 100% irrelevant and pointless.
    The gallery is no more than a bad joke that has cost an absolute fortune and will continue to do so for years to come.
    The protest also no more than a joke, how does sitting in a tent in any way shape or form change policy, direction or the political will of parliament, utter stupidity and frankly giving these people the time of day is time wasted that you will never get back.

    Regeneration, don't make me laugh, more like pushing money to insignificant minority groups to forward theirpleasure in utter rubbish. Protencious rubbish that has no place in todays world.

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  9. John Holyer, I would love to know what is good fun camping in arctic conditions and the protest is certainly not self indulgent, I take it you have actually gone and spoken to the people there? It is funny how people who are a difference from the usual apathetic thanetians are derided, at least they are TRYING to do something about the world, what have you done lately?

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  10. I hope none of these are unemployed and on benefits. Sat there they aren't jobhunting so should not be getting benefits.

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  11. Have you ever wondered why there would be people camping on the seafront in freezing temperatures? Have you ever wondered why there are so many people on benefits in Thanet? Do you know their story? Have you walked a day in their shoes? Go down and talk to them and then make your judgements. Thankfully it's not yet illegal to have an opinion.

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  12. I support them and admire their courage wholeheartedly - we need more discussion of why there is such rampant inequality in our world - and in Thanet in particular.
    Christine Tongue

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  13. They should start a blog. It's warmer and more people take notice.

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  14. People say it is pointless to protest down there? Well in the past week, the press have spent the night, thanet councillors have visited and talked to them. This is the sort of exposure they wouldn't be able to get if they were not there! How many of the people here who are mocking them have been down and talked to them? none I would imagine. I have talked to them and they are a varied group of people, some have full time jobs and stay the night there. I am sick of people assuming they are all unemployed layabouts, at least they are trying to express their views and I for one fully support what they are doing. Finally, it is pretty sad the comments about going down there to pick up girls, really sad, get a life!

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  16. Anonymous said...
    Have you ever wondered why there would be people camping on the seafront in freezing temperatures? Have you ever wondered why there are so many people on benefits in Thanet? Do you know their story? Have you walked a day in their shoes? Go down and talk to them and then make your judgements. Thankfully it's not yet illegal to have an opinion.

    February 04, 2012 8:24 PM

    This is interesting, Anonymous. Presumably you have been down there to talk to them. What did they have to say?

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  17. I support them and admire their courage wholeheartedly - we need more discussion of why there is such rampant inequality in our world - and in Thanet in particular.
    Christine Tongue

    February 04, 2012 10:07 PM

    I take your point, Christine. Why do you personally think that there is "such rampant inequality in our world"? I would value your opinion on this, and would be eager to hear how we might redress this imbalance.

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  18. "John Holyer, I would love to know what is good fun camping in arctic conditions and the protest is certainly not self indulgent, I take it you have actually gone and spoken to the people there? It is funny how people who are a difference from the usual apathetic thanetians are derided, at least they are TRYING to do something about the world, what have you done lately?

    February 04, 2012 8:02 PM"

    Anonymous, Presumably you have done something lately.

    Also, anonymous, if you think that by sitting on the seafront at Margate they will change the world, then your imagination is admirable.

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  19. An anonymous has said, "Finally, it is pretty sad the comments about going down there to pick up girls, really sad, get a life!

    February 04, 2012 11:11 PM"

    I am sorry that I have made you really sad. But cheer up, go back and read my blog. I said, "I had a good friend who used to go on CND marches for the sole reason that it was a good place to pick up girls." I made no mention of the Turner encampment. I have no idea why they are there and I suspect neither do they. But you know because you have been down there to talk to them. What did they say? What are their hopes, fears and expectations? Importantly, do they have any solutions?

    You admonish me to get a life. Maybe I will, - but certainly not from the same place that you got yours.

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  20. John Hoyler, if you are so curious as to why they are there then why don't you go down and talk to them yourself? you seem to be asking a lot of questions as to why they are there and their intentions. yes I have been to see them and yes I have talked to them and understand what they are trying to do. I don't see why you are asking me though to answer your queries, I cannot speak for the group that are there. Sadly, i think from your previous posts on this blog that you are extremely dismissive but then again maybe you like seeing the continuing decline of Margate. I'm not going to get into a debate with you however, I can already tell we are poles apart in our views.

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  21. So, what answers have the protesters come up with for Thanet? Or are they just outdoor NIMBYs?

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  22. Maybe they're NIMBYs within tent!

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  23. Anonymous said...
    "John Hoyler, if you are so curious as to why they are there then why don't you go down and talk to them yourself? you seem to be asking a lot of questions as to why they are there and their intentions. yes I have been to see them and yes I have talked to them and understand what they are trying to do. I don't see why you are asking me though to answer your queries, I cannot speak for the group that are there. Sadly, i think from your previous posts on this blog that you are extremely dismissive but then again maybe you like seeing the continuing decline of Margate. I'm not going to get into a debate with you however, I can already tell we are poles apart in our views.

    February 05, 2012 2:25 AM"

    In other words you do not know what it's all about. Your suggestion that the Turner encampment will rescue Margate is risible. I fear that your assumptions about me merely massage your own prejudices.

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