Talkaoke

    Talkaoke

    Talkaoke is a pop up talk show that is has been gaining popularity in festivals, clubs, galleries, theatres, conferences and on the street. it consists of an illuminated round table with a host sitting in the middle on a swivel chair. Participants sit around the outside and are passed the microphone whenever they want to […]

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    Who Wants to Be...?

    Who Wants to Be…?

    Who Wants to Be…? is the ask-the audience game show, where the audience asks the questions, comes up with the answers, and sets the rules! Using two visualisation systems, some gameshow glitz and a visual voting system, a large audience can brainstorm, feedback, and generate the most incredible ideas together. In its simplest form each […]

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    One Night Grandstand

    One Night Grandstand

      One Night Grandstand: stadium for a night! One Night Grandstand infuses a normal kick-about with the excitement of a football stadium. Games have a live, amplified commentary, floodlighting and stadium style screens above the pitch, complete with sound effects, live motion graphics and action replays. Watch the One Night Grandstand promo video to see […]

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    Documenting - Theps Media Lab

    Documenting – Theps Media Lab

    Documentation is an always an overt and integral part of our events. We also have a long history of filming, photographing and editing performances, talks, exhibitions and workshops, from vox pops on the streets of Hornchurch to filming a 24 hour performance marathon at The Serpentine Gallery. Through our work on facilitation and Talkaoke, we […]

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    Segue

    Segue

    “Basically, it’s a film-making-conveyer-belt that squeezes the imagination out of anybody who comes along, mixes it with everybody else’s and puts it on video.” Segue – a developing experimental format from The People Speak. It has emerged from workshops we have done for our own creative growth and for others. We discovered a strong desire […]

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    Unlecture

    Unlecture

    Unlecture takes the standard lecture format and turns it inside out. Instead of an expert talking to an audience with a couple of questions at the end, Unlecture empowers the audience to actively participate and exchange their own expertise. It encourages open discussion and debate between people on specific subjects. Our facilitators employ different techniques […]

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    Beechwood Village Craylands Public Art Project 2016

    a collectively conceived idea for the Craylands Public Art Project

    Unity Stone- a collectively conceived idea for the Craylands Public Art Project

    We have been working in Craylands, an estate in Basildon, over a period of nearly 9 years. This is our second “public art” project here, commissioned by Swan Foundation. Over this time we have got to know many of the residents here and got a feel for the place. We have used the commissions we have been given here to experiment with the notion of a collectively conceived piece of public art.

    Public art in Basildon has a long and tarnished history, having been erected and largely unappreciated since the town’s very beginning. Many of the works of art have been forgotten, ignored, stolen for scrap, or possibly the home of a criminal private collector. I don’t know of a single example of art on permanent display in the town that has been made by a Basildon resident.

    The public art that exists in Basildon comes out of a modernist tradition of aesthetic expertise and art knowledge to create well crafted vessel for reflection at key locations across Basildon’s many social housing projects.

     

    We wanted to take a different approach. We wanted to investigate the collective imagination to see if together we could produce an idea for an artwork that truly emerged from the discussion and projected values of local residents.

    In our first project in Craylands we quickly came to realise that the area urgently needed social activities more than an art object. It seemed that the area, like many in the UK, lacked much social adhesion. With our expertise in facilitating non-hierarchical exchanges we were well placed to deliver a bit of bonding.

    However this commission, from Essex County Council, required that we deliver another public art object to Basildon. We came up with the concept of a temporary, reconfigurable social space. We named it the Hacienda, referencing Ivan Chtcheglov’s seminal essay on fluid architecture, Formulary for a New Urbanism, in order to give it art credibility. While the project was aesthetically and emotionally a success, functionally it was not. The Hacienda was renamed Home Sweet Dome, but it turned out to be too cumbersome for local residents to erect. We had rushed the testing stage.

    This time around we are determined not make the same procedural error. The brief is much less ambitious- a small scale piece of public art in the renamed Beechwood Village Estate, now a mix of privately owned and social housing. We have spent a lot of time talking to residents and understanding their aesthetic concerns and used the simple method of very quickly visualising ideas around the Talkaoke table to reflect, respond to and amplify ideas. Even if the ideas were not visualised at all as imagined, this is a highly effective visual response, stimulating the imagination and affirming the participants’ contribution.

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    The theme here was to celebrate local heroes such as Max Whitlock, Olympic gold medalist

    It is generally perceived that art must be conceived and developed by an individual genius producer, and the more minds thinking concurrently on the problem, clouds the vision of realisation of the artwork. The People Speak believes in talent but doesn’t believe that creativity is exclusive to the artist figure. We think that the artists’ creative talent can actually be used to enhance a collective, creative outcome. What’s been missing until now is the methodology and technology necessary to make this happen.

    In our experimentation over the past ten years we have succeeded in making these kinds of collaboration a fun process, but the result often tends to be clichéd and conservative. I could propose a number of reasons for this. Risk of failure and and a lack belief in extraordinary possibilities play a very big part in this. Part of what we do at The People Speak is to underwrite this risk- emotionally, performatively and administratively.

    We have attempted to embrace the cliché and try to progress beyond it. There is a zone, unconstrained by art-world normative aesthetic considerations and beyond the cliché which is full of possibilities. When I say beyond the cliche, I mean taking the concerns expressed in the cliché and re-framing them in a novel way. For example there is a history of conflict and antisocial behaviour in the area. A theme arising for this has been the theme of unity or togetherness. Suggestions for representing this have been the idea of young and old, or black and white embracing shaking hands or representing togetherness in some other way.

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    Unity Sculpture Idea

    It was later suggested that the shaking hands be yellow like the Simpsons cartoon to make them more universal – as represented by this image merged with the Basildon heroes idea.

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    Similar to the monolith idea, the leading contender for actualisation is the cave painting idea. There is a lot of passion in the area for a piece of artwork that connects with a supposed prehistoric past.

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    None of these ideas really fits into a conventional art aesthetic, but that’s not really the point. Some of the residents said they would prefer something more practical like play equipment or a car parking space. That led us to conceive of the idea of an interactive, uplit parking space as a piece of art, although it hasn’t proved to be very popular.

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    We face a real challenge in how to select and refine a single idea in an open and engaging way. We’ll let you know how that goes.

    All images have been produced by Rick Sleiman. See them all on our Flickr page

    We will be refining and visualising the ideas at the opening of The Beech Community Centre, Beechwood Village, Basildon, Essex at 3.30pm on Thursday 29th September 2016. This event is free and open to all.

     

    The People Speak at Aberfeldy Street

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    We’ve been at our new studio space in Poplar for 6 months now and are starting to familiarise ourselves with the local area. We’ve met a lot of great people and had 3 fun Talkaoke sessions, 2 of which have outside, and they’ve all been different and insightful in their own way.

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    You can see some of the photos and videos of the last few Talkaoke studio sessions using the link below:
    June 9th: Pre-opening Studio Session
    July 21st: Studio Session 2
    August 31st: Studio Session 3

    Stay tuned for our next Studio Session in September, or early October.

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    We’ve Moved Studios

    We’ve now moved to a new studio in the Poplar area. Our new address is: 27 Aberfeldy Street, London E14 0NU. So if you’re in the area please feel free to pop in and say hello.
     
    Stay tuned as once we’re settled in we’ll have an opening event.
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    End of Cremer Street, beginning of something new.

    We are sad to report that we finally have to leave our Cremer Street premises, in Hoxton, in early March. The People Speak have been here for over 10 years, and Talkaoke for 15. We’ve had some fantastic times here but are now looking forward to a new chapter in our development. When our new space is confirmed we’ll post the details here. Stay tuned for info the opening event.

    The shutters outside our studio

    Medway Flow

    In January 2015 we began a conversational walk through the Medway towns, from Strood to Chatham, we talked to people on the street about things. Every subject is connected to every other. No one is an island. Whatever somebody said we used as a question for the next person. We edited the responses into a conversation that flows from one subject to the next and gives an insight into the collective imagination. We started with a dream.

    This was part of Dreamlands Radio Commission with Radio Arts of Canterbury, in conjunction with ResonanceFM. Music mix by Gonzo.