Visual Conversation by Abigail Hunt credit Melissa Blackburn

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Visual Conversations - Abigail Hunt's B+B Artist's Residency

by Abigail Hunt

Visual Conversations is the conclusion of a one-year Residency for Artist and Researcher Abigail Hunt within the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D Programme

Abigail Hunt was invited in September 2022 to explore the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D Programme within an Artist Residency. Abigail was able to meet and connect with many of the individuals and collaborators involved across multiple stands of the project. Spending time in both cities, she was involved in many inspiring conversations, knowledge exchange and the sharing of personal stories and individual learnings that B+B had enabled.

Abigail’s practice is rooted in collaboration, so a key part of the first stage of residency for her was to engage, involve and work alongside art students from both UWE and Bath Spa University. Their shared exploration and understanding of specific aspects of the B+B Programme has been invaluable to Abigail’s research. An excellent example of this collaboration was at the Hopeful Futures which enabled a shared action where students worked alongside Abigail and together made live artworks and visual responses to the findings of the programme and created a ‘public working wall’ of ideas and a live streamed film of the actions.

Other aspects of the residency saw Abigail inviting artists, academics, students, technologists, and creatives to join her in a walk from Bath to Bristol, marking the boundary line between the two cities through a series of discussions and making activities.

Throughout her time on the residency Abigail has collected and collated conversations, quotes and images. Abigail is interested in the ‘pieces left on the table’ and the things captured and created between the main events of the B+B programme. Through her investigations she focused on a responding to the more personal aspects of the wider project. She aimed to visualise individual experiences, bringing each together to consider new ways we can each witness the separate parts and share our reflections differently.

Artwork: Visual Conversations

Visual Conversations marks the end of the residency, but it also celebrates the potential of partnerships across Bristol and Bath and the possibility of being inspired by shared conversations, actions and collaboration that continue to consider the intrinsic and social value of art. Placing artworks in public locations across the two cities, Abigail’s concluding artworks look to visualise the possibilities of creating space for sharing and making art. She is inspired by how art can present different ways of looking and thinking on multiple levels and the lasting impact this has on society.

For Visual Conversations Abigail created a new series of 10 abstract hand cut paper collages that referenced solid sculptural forms. The imagery incorporated into each, had been gifted to her by individuals that she met and worked with during her residency. Many of the images shared with Abigail were personal reflections on the wider B+B programme. These images came with stories and anecdotes attached, contributions with carefully considered reasons.

Using these generously shared images as a collective visual reflection of the impact of B+B, Abigail reconfigured them creating new connections between the pieces. The idea of ‘Visual Conversations’ being comprised of the multiple pieces, people and places that have fed into the wider project, Abigail was interested in the sheer scale of B+B and the affect it has had on the creative communities in each city. The final works created referenced the probable impossibility of any one single person, due to the vast reach of the programme, being able to fully engage with every aspect and output, instead being smaller valuable parts of a larger whole.

The installation of poster versions of the collages shown at varying scales around a variety of locations in both Bristol and Bath during November and December 2023 brought the work out into non art and publicly accessible spaces where it could be viewed at any time of the day or night becoming part of the cities urban environment. From train stations to universities, cycle paths to significant buildings, viewers come across these artworks either by chance, or by deliberately seeking them out. Whether they see just one of them, a few, or even all of them, Abigail is interested both by the impossibility of experiencing all these parts simultaneously, and also by the fact that every viewer will have a different experience of seeing the work. She feels this expresses the sense of the scale of the B+B Programme, the huge variety of experiences and happenings it has supported and the concept of placemaking between Bristol and Bath.

As well as the posters, the project website serves as a legacy of the artworks, detailing not just the finished collages, but also the scraps, snippets and the parts left behind of images and words collected along the journey of the residency. Constantly making new connections and associations between the fragments, Abigail’s residency and final artwork is about the role of the artist in looking differently, exploring how we can take apart and re-see things, and how we might put things back together in new and refreshing combinations. These Visual Conversations are about involving others in a collaborative process, being more aware of the connections between us and the directions we might take each other in.

Huge thanks are extended to the partner sites who supported Visual Conversations: No 1 Bath Quays, 44AD Gallery, Arnolifini, Artspace Lifespace, The Assembly Rooms (National Trust), Bath Artist Studios, Bath Spa University, Bricks Bristol, Bristol Temple Meads Station, Centrespace Bristol, The Galleries, Bristol, Great Western Railway, Hamilton House, The Holburne Museum, The Island, Bristol, Milsom Place, M Shed, Out of Hand,Pervasive Media Studio, Severnside Rail Partnership, Shining Studio, St Anne’s House, The Studio Bath, University of Bath, University of Bristol, UWE Bristol, Watershed

And to the team of recent graduate students from UWE and Bath Spa who collaborated with Abigail and assisted with project logistics: Katya Hall, Katie Hanning, Guy Undrill

Visual Conversation Bridewell St credit Melissa Blackburn