19 November 2013

"On 24 October we opened a gallery show in the FACT Connects Space celebrating a seminal project for the Collaborations Programme.

tenantspin was 14 years old this year; it represented the best in collaborative practice to some, especially in its early years. The project pioneered artists working with technology in a community setting - it was about empowerment and enrichment and voice. It was also about new ways of working for international artists, organisations and housing partners.

The launch evening saw the premiere of a film created especially for the gallery show by Carl Davies and Ed Pink, bringing together lots and lots of content from webcast web-streamed debate to artist's and tenant's films. tenantspin had pioneered the use of webstreaming as a medium for conversation between tenants and landlords. They used the internet as the place for opening up that debate and for training older people living in the scenarios they spoke about to make the online TV – everything from camera work, mixing, presenting and researching. It seemed only fitting that the opening night of the exhibition included a webcast chaired expertly by old friend Mandy Romero around the subject of collaborative practice, older people, technology, the lessons we have learned and the way forward.

After the webcast, guests were invited to come to the gallery to view a selection of archival material presented there. As tenantspin is mostly a digital archive with (literally) 1000 hours of community-produced content in its back catalogue this was no mean feat. The work has been presented on five iPads and a monitor encompassing different categories of that content – again from webcasts to artist’s commissions, tenant's films to digital stories. Vimeo channels were set up to facilitate this content – really it is just a snap shot of what is in existence in the archive but hopefully the start of a new and important debate around the existence of digital archives.

We had music from a Dock Road favourite and a quick pint the bar afterwards for old times – in total we were joined by over 50 people in the Box, more in the gallery and, a bit of a record for us, 15 online in the chat room."

For more information about the exhibition, check out the project page.