Free for Arts Festival SPECIAL – The price of art
The night began at 4pm, as all good nights do. But the sheen of heat that hung in the air stuck us to our seats. Finally the haze settled and we gathered our strength. We lost, then found the free bus. But too late, we decided to cut our losses; first venue be damned we were hot. Luckily this meant we were in plenty of time for venue 2 and took a leisurely stroll there.
Venue 2: Cord, Dorsey Street.
We were late. A ‘live performance/installation’ was presented to us in a hushed corner. It was actually just a man with a guitar, which confused Dani. We cornered the musician slash artist; ‘Was it just what it was?’ Yes, it was just what it was. Music. I asked a searingly insightful question meditating on the nature of performance. The musician looked confused, scanning the crowd behind us nervously. ‘Um, yeah…I think we’re going for a few drinks afterwards’. After scoring this date, we left.
Back on the street the haze descended one more. A stream of cyclists swam by, blocking our path. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘A critical mass…once a month’
A gentleman with a booming box on his bike might have shouted back to us.
Venue 3: Piccadilly Place
In amongst the office blocks, we found art. But so did a lot of other people. We drank a nice refreshing cup of Kopparberg, proud sponsors of free art. We spent much time pondering the significance of the collection. We talked to Mrs. Mill, of Mr. and Mrs. Mill, who reliably informed us that Arnie and the Egg was one of her favourite pieces. I liked it too. Especially the Arnie bit (yes, Schwarzenegger). This art may be free to all, but it’s not free to take it home, as we discovered.
I wanted a refreshing blast of Vitamin Water before we trekked on to rooms 2 and 3, preferably the pink one, but they had all been drunk by other thirsty crawlers. Understandably so. We entered a brave new world in room 2. One that required blue polythene shoe protectors and a tussle with some overbearing sheets. The curator was going for ‘Narnia’. Room 3 and the brother of the guy who did some of the furniture informed us his ‘brother’ had done this. His eyes were wild on Kopparberg (drink responsibly kids). We exited the new world to look for a toilet. But we couldn’t leave quite yet; a world where the doormen are artists, and the bartenders are critics, and the critics are drunk. We swayed on into the night, in search of more art and sponsorship.
Venue 4: Urban Outfitters.
We were ushered upstairs. I had a Kopparberg from a plastic cup. It was warm. We were somewhat confused where the art stopped and the urban trinkets began. A kindly girl showed us to the door. She wasn’t an artist as far as I could tell.
Venue 5: AfterParty
We hustled to the Soup Kitchen for a nourishing bowl of wine. The girl in front was thrashing her head about and batting her lashes in the hopes of buying the bartender a drink. He took a shot on her. The crawl ended much like any other kind of crawl. It ran on liquid, and brought us to our knees. We felt the real personal cost of all that art the next day.