Snow Q: Gone fishing… by Maria Jastrzębska

There was no What’s App or Facebook in Andersen’s Snow Queen story which inspired our Snow Q collaborative project of course but paper was scarce too. So the old woman of Lapland wrote messages to her Finnish friend on the back of fish, which on being read could go in the stew. Members of Older and Out wrote us messages on ‘fish’ for younger LGBT people which we incorporated into our installation. We also used fish for the audience’s feedback. Fishing for compliments? one cheeky person wrote! And compliments there were a plenty.

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What do you do with compliments? Are you meant to shrug them off? Not blow your own trumpet? Most artists I know struggle with gigantic self doubt and insecurity. Dagmara touched on it in an earlier post. Is that because the arts attract ‘sensitive’ people or could it be the whole way art is treated in a competitive, profit-led society? Unless you are an artist whose work is auctioned for eye-watering amounts on a scarcity basis, you’re unlikely to be valued much or seen as doing ‘real’ work.

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So good feedback is important and we’re immensely grateful people took the time to write on our fish. Mostly people embraced the uncertainty and enjoyed losing themselves in the misty spaces though some of you found it daunting. You also questioned the lack of access (a historic basement venue with only steps to get in) and that is important to thinking about our future work.  If your comment isn’t here it has probably swum away to join its sisters (fish take a female pronoun in Polish..). If you didn’t get a chance to fill in a fish you can still comment below – we’d love to hear from you. Some fish went off to the Arts Council as part of our evaluation. We didn’t send them: ‘It’s totally fucking marvellous’ but we liked that one!  We read every single fish and we were overwhelmed by people’s generosity, so here’s to trumpets (as well as fish):

“What a wonderful interplay between images and sounds, woven together with the serious joke of words ‘not’ in translation. The venue for this is perfect emphasising the weirdness of it all. Serious congratulations to this team of creative artists and engineers for coordinating such a many-layered experience. It just asks to be repeated!”

“Very moving – it spoke so eloquently of the lost and lonely and the endless search.”

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“Poetic, poignant, intriguing projections in space resonates Poland I remember in 1990. Delightful.”

“Intriguing and atmospheric very well put together. Makes me think of all the strange folk tales from my childhood and how they relate to today. Thank you.”

“Beautiful and mysterious  – the fluttering birds in the end cupboard broke my heart”

“Liked it being into languages – mysterious – like the links between young carers and the Snow Queen’s ‘carer’ trying to find her kidnapped friend Some puzzling elements in an atmospheric space Wonderful icy sparkly lights with projected snow scene and mirrored reflection”

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“What a fantastic experience for all the elements of the installation came together beautifully. Maria’s wonderful poetry was complemented by an array of stunning videos artworks and musical pieces. The live performances brought Maria’s characters to life with verve. Well done to all involved.”

“Brought in the story and the present stress of living and the timelessness of all things”

“Great and dark evocative music in bleak, acrid surrounds, beautifully played”

“Spellbinding and strikingly original, a perfectly odd and beautiful representation. Deconstructed, yet coherent and engaging – a multimodal formula to explore further. Where and what next?? Six out of five stars”

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“Magical and stunning Totally immersive”

“Interesting ancient overtones of story, darkness and loss of light”

“Fabulous journey through the mist so many mysteries. I leave wondering”

By Maria Jastrzębska

This blog was originally published on Snow Q Project‘s website on 19 January 2019.

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