Gillian Wearing’s Your Views global open submissions project invites anyone to “film a very short clip of either curtains or blinds opening to reveal the view from a window”. A mutual friend suggested to Gillian that Oral Testimony Works might be able to reach new contributors through its international network.
Your Views resonates with a number of Oral Testimony Works’ interests and values – it’s inclusive, global, and celebrates the diversity of human experience. Also I like the notion that much as everyone has a different story, everyone has a different view.
Although filming your view sounds straightforward the instructions are necessarily very precise and a bit fiddly. For contributors living in places without good internet coverage there was the added challenge of uploading their large film files. I was amazed at the number of people wanting to take part and the number of final submissions. To me the resulting film is a delight, celebrating inclusiveness, participation and networking. There is no cherry picking here, all contributors’ films are included.
Thank you Gillian Wearing for a great concept and for inviting us all to participate in the Your Views project. Thank you to all the contributors. And thank you to those of you who shared information about the project to others, in particular, Sarah Oughton from International HIV AIDS Alliance who spread the word through their Key Correspondents network of citizen journalists. All 33 contributors were entered into a prize draw: congratulations to Chris Obiero from Kilifi, Kenya whose name was drawn first and will receive $100, and to Hussn Bibi from Hunza, Pakistan for second place who will receive $50.
Gillian Wearing on Your Views
Why did you start the Your Views project?
GW: I had been thinking of the window as a viewfinder in a camera and the curtain being the shutter release. What we see out of our windows is limited to the location we are in and the level of floor we are on, it is not always an ideal view you would choose but it is none the less a view. I like the fact that views from windows are governed by these aspects. I really wanted to see what people’s views were from around the world and have this very large collaborative project, a document of as many views as possible. I love the idea that it is bringing a lot of people together under one umbrella and everyone who submits a film is credited as one of the filmmakers.
What do you enjoy about the process of Your Views?
GW: I always enjoy the surprise of watching a new view, because when the online form with a view is sent you have a brief description of the location and you build an idea from what you already know about that place. But the view is never what you can image in your mind as it is not the usual mediated view of that city, town or village that you see and that is one of my favourite parts of the project. It is the reason why I have the name of the location on the curtains/blinds before they are opened so viewers also get that moment to expect a certain idea of what they will see. What I also didn’t expect was the level of how personal each film feels even though there is a set of instructions – and many other aspects that unite each clip – what the view is filmed on, the time of day, how the curtains or blinds are opened even sometimes the angle of the camera lead to this injection of personality from the participants.
Some artists would find your approach to risky – you relinquish control to members of the public to produce content for your concepts. What do you find appealing about that approach and its results?
GW: I don’t see it as risky at all, I love the idea of chance and not knowing what results will be. A lot of my work has been like this dating back to 1992/93 with my Signs series where I asked people to write something on a piece of paper. You always will find something you don’t know when you open up to inviting other people to partake in an idea.
Does Your Views have an end date? Is there a plan to share all of the views that have been submitted?
GW: So far there are over 260 views from over 60 countries. So nearly a third of the world’s countries.I am going to show all the views so far in a solo presentation of my work at the The Institute of Modern Art Valencia (IVAM), Spain in September of this year. The completion date for the whole project will be when I have at least one view from every country in the world then I will stop.