JESSICA VOORSANGER  
JESSICA VOORSANGER MEETS SMart PROJECT OUTLINE & LINKS
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Jessica Voorsanger will work with the children's television art programme Smart, encouraging them to use her life and work as subject matter for a project made with children and a competition to be launched on the programme.

Jessica Writes:

My work is very much influenced by television culture. As the main crux of my work centres on celebrity, television has always played a large part on my perception of celebrities, as well as the media stronghold on the making of celebrities themselves. The lure of the Children's TV programmes is that this is where the hype & control of obsessive pop star adulation is born. It is through children's Saturday morning breakfast TV that I am able to keep my 'finger on the pulse' of contemporary pop/TV & film stars, seeing who is currently being paraded. The interest in the art programmes is a connection, or link, between my practice and its greatest influence, TV, bringing them both together.

All the work I do, surrounds the areas of celebrity and actually often uses TV, as a medium, resource or collaborator of some kind. In this case I want to investigate the area of children's art television, specifically the art instruction programmes. I have chosen Smart on CBBC as my vehicle as the ethos the programme exudes is in the fun and accessibility of art, often creating quite a surreal environment on the set by playing with televisual language and trickery. The presenters teach and advise kids on how to make art, making art a 'with it' activity. Also in this way, they are the most open to methods and inclusion of contemporary fine art practice.

In investigating 'Art TV', and specifically children¹s 'Art TV', one of the largest consistent focuses is seen through the interactive notion of the competition. Through the use of this device, Kids TV programmes have children bringing the artistic ideas and concepts expressed on TV into their homes, which they in turn bring back to the programme through their entries. All in the hope that they will get their own celebrity status of 'successful kid makes art', the wonderful acceptance of their heroes and a prize to boot! The cherry on top of the cake!


Part I of the project begins with filming an exhibition of my work (at the LCCA, The Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art). A group of children, lead by Kirsten, one of the Smart presenters, will create a work of art inspired by some of the ideas surrounding my work. The projects will all be plaster relief images predominantly paying homage to the celebrity of their own choosing. This episode would then be broadcast through the Smart schedule, as a proper episode. I will also be documenting the proceedings both by video and photography.

Part II of the project is having one of the presenters, Lizi, create the same project that the children do on the Smart set. This would be done in a conversational format, with myself making one of the projects as well, with the emphasis being on the pieces of work they make are of their own influence (Cliff Richard, in Lizi's case!) rather than specifically directed at children. In this way, the project becomes reflected upon Lizi as the artist, making it a more her approach a more personal connection. This footage would be incorporated into a 'Behind the Scenes' style video that would be broadcast on the web.

Part III of the project would be a mail in competition for the viewers of Smart This would take on board the ideas of the Turner Prize, an art competition for adult contemporary artists. At the end of the terrestrial broadcast of the Smart episode, Kirsten will announce the invitation for children to recreate their own plaster homage project-choosing a celebrity of personal significance.

The four best entrants will then become the 'Kids Competition/Turner Prize' nominees. Matthew Collings, the art critic and TV presenter who are the voice and face of the Turner Prize, will present this aspect of the programme live. He will interview the children (if they are agreeable), will give critical background and information about the artworks and the children. He will also interview one of the children who appeared on the original Smart programme as an 'expert', if possible. At this point Matthew will then either announce the winner (or winners) and present their prize, or will hand over to one of the presenters from Smart to announce the winners, furthering the link between Smart and the Turner Prize. (Lizi has agreed, but must confirm due to filming schedules)

Part IIII to encourage the aspect of interactivity originally introduced through the aspect of competition. I have approached the Baltic Art Centre in Newcastle to send out a 'Call for Entries' to invite children to make portraits of their favourite TV celebrities. These would then be put up on one of my sections of the TVSS website to show the width and breadth of the interest and influence of TV and their personalities on their viewing audience.


Jessica Voorsanger is based in London and has exhibited her work extensively including shows at the Camden Arts Centre (London), Turku Art Museum (Finland) and Modern Culture (New York).


  LINKS

 

www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/get_involved/form_SMart.shtml
www.bway.net/~modcult/voorsang.html
www.anthonywilkinsongallery.com/
www.cabgallery.com/2_artists/jessica_voorsanger.html
www.pixeldom.com/jv/star_stories.html
www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/archivedirs/news/1999/oct/1/N1999-10-01-06.html
www.backspace.org/everything/e/project/jessie/text/jv.htm
 
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