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The Triennial Effect

Added on by Stella Chapman.

As the Folkestone Triennial draws to a close, our thoughts turn to which artist's work will join the permanent Folkestone Artworks collection. This 'gallery without walls' is made up from 27 works from the past 3 Triennials by artists including Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger, Pablo Bronstein, Yoko Ono and Richard Wilson.

A friend recently asked how often the Triennial came to Folkestone as I was always talking about it. I told her the clue is in the name! Every 3 years artists are commissioned to create public installations that form an art trail around the town. We love the lead up to the event – discovering which artists will be exhibiting and what the theme will be. This year was particularly exciting as we were one of 3 agencies shortlisted in a 3-stage pitch for the Triennial branding. A great achievement for Salt and something we are keen to win in the future.

This is our 2nd Triennial since relocating from London 6 years ago. Attracting creatives and tourists to the area by 'rebranding' Folkestone as a creative hub is the Creative Foundation's mission – with the Triennial being their flagship project. And it seems to be taking hold. There’s a definite buzz in the Creative Quarter this year, with local artists referring to the ‘Triennial effect’ increasing their sales as tourists look to take away a piece of the action.

Hitting the art trail with a 6 year old means it's as much about the experience as it is the concepts behind the pieces. There was a beautifully designed family guide this year to keep the kids engaged, as well as a programme of free family workshops at Block 67, Tontine Street. Here's what we've enjoyed and whether we think they will stay.

Richard Woods' colourful cartoon holiday homes were standout pieces for us – with 6 homes to spot floating in the harbour and dotted around the beach and cliff tops. Like the seasonal residents that inspired these installations, they are surely temporary. Midway through the 2014 Triennial a Banksy piece entitled 'Art Buff' appeared. Unfortunately these 'Holiday Homes' have been decorated with less welcome graffiti.

Richard Woods – Holiday Home

Richard Woods – Holiday Home

Likewise, the Antony Gormley cast-iron figures, which despite looking very much at home beneath arches or staring out to sea, were only ever visiting. 

A teetering white wall by Alex Hartley is perhaps the most immediate expression of this year's theme 'Double Edge' – exploring anxiety (being on the edge), boundaries and balance. Its future seems precarious.

Alex Hartley - Wall
Alex Hartley – Wall

Alex Hartley – Wall

When we visited Lubaina Himid’s ‘Jelly Mould Pavilion' it was being used to frame a bride and groom on their wedding day – already paying its way as a local landmark!

Lubaina Himid – Jelly Mould Pavilion

Lubaina Himid – Jelly Mould Pavilion

We enjoyed discovering new parts of Folkestone and gaining new perspectives. Sometimes it's as simple as looking up – to see Jonathan Wright's little boats perched on tall poles, or taking a moment to listen, to Emily Peasgood's sound installation 'Halfway to Heaven' in an18th-century Baptist graveyard. We’d like to think the giant 'Siren' by Marc Schmitz and Dolgor Ser-Od could have the longevity of the concrete 'listening ear' at nearby Dungeness that it references.

Marc Schmitz & Dolgor Ser-Od – Siren

Marc Schmitz & Dolgor Ser-Od – Siren

A Guardian review was not being complementary when it commented that some of the artworks ‘put design some way before art’, mentioning Sinta Tantra's colourful paintwork for the Cube Building and the Gothic plywood structure by Studio Ben Allen transforming the Quarterhouse Clearing Cafe. For us that is no bad thing. Art and design may have different roles, but they are both about emotional engagement. About challenging and changing perceptions. If art is about questions, design is about solutions, with the Triennial being one solution to the ongoing regeneration and repositioning of Folkestone.

The Folkestone Triennial finishes on 5th November. For more information www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk

Photography kindly provided by Kevan Smith www.smithstudios.co.uk

 

TEDx Folkestone

Added on by Stella Chapman.

When TEDx came to Folkestone for the first time, we were thrilled to be there. The day of inspirational talks at the Quarterhouse gave 13 local speakers the chance bring TED's mission of 'ideas worth sharing' to the town.

The theme of the day was 'pushing the boundaries' and although none of the talks were about design, a common theme was creativity, and how creative thinking can improve our experiences. Here are our highlights, and if you're inspired to hear more, all the speaker videos are available on YouTube.

Illustrator and educator Jim Lockey invited us to 'make our mark' and follow his instructions to do a simple drawing – proving everyone can be creative. He believes drawing should be a pleasurable form of expression and a visual language, not something to be measured against accepted standards. We particularly liked the idea of his mobile comic factory, a social arts project aimed at giving young people access to the arts and giving them the confidence to try something creative. 

Jim Lockey - The Forgotten Language of Drawing

Jim Lockey - The Forgotten Language of Drawing

Jazz vocalist Randolph Matthews didn't exactly deliver a talk – but an original and witty performance about using the power of our voice. His music and stories also reminded us of the value of observing and absorbing the world around us.

Randolph Matthews - Before There Are Words, There Are Sound Feelings

Randolph Matthews - Before There Are Words, There Are Sound Feelings

We loved business writer Paul Brassington's phrase 'corporate robotic' describing the depersonalised way some companies speak to their audiences. Plain speaking and honesty leads to a more fruitful and intimate dialogue than when companies write everything down in a manual. As Paul explained, we relate better to people than to 'things'.

Paul Brassington - How Mad Language Damages Everything

Paul Brassington - How Mad Language Damages Everything

Emily Peasgood, a composer and sound artist, had no problem with honesty and shared her highly personal story. Success and fulfilment came when she stopped suppressing her off-beat creative ideas that usually met with the response "Emily! Don't do that!". Her music challenges the norm and her piece 'Lifted' was recently performed at the Royal Festival Hall – in the lift of course!

Emily Peasgood - Emily! Don't Do That!

Emily Peasgood - Emily! Don't Do That!

Social entrepreneur and care innovator Chris Gage explained how a little creative thinking could go a long way to enrich the experience of people in long term care, something 1 in 5 of us will rely on. He used the example of a simple prop or an meaningful activity to spark a memory or create a connection which can make all the difference to someone's day. This talk was timely for a current project of ours, designing a brand identity for a care app which uses technology to achieve this aim.

Chris Gage - Creating The Care We All Want

Chris Gage - Creating The Care We All Want

What TEDx Folkestone meant to us
Salt were honoured to play a small part in this massively successful event which bought together Folkestone's amazing creative community and gave us another opportunity for collaboration. We had the chance to be involved from the start, supporting creator Liu Batchelor and the team with design for the programme and signage. But we were still blown away by the quality of the talks on the day, and by the amazing production and atmosphere. We left feeling inspired and motivated to step out of our comfort zone more often. We were reminded creativity is about 'pushing the boundaries' – exploring, inventing, experimenting and most importantly – sharing.

1. Liu Batchelor, LVB Creative, Creator of TEDx Folkestone
2. TEDx Folkestone Committee: Liu Batchelor, Kier Humphreys, James Avery, Ioannis Ioannou, Caroline Howden
3. & 4. TEDx Event Branding Flourish, Illustration Cognitive, Literature & Signage Salt.

About TEDx
TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.

To get involved with future TEDx Folkestone events or to be added to the mailing list, contact Hello@TEDxFolkestone.com 

ted.com
tedxfolkstone.com