The Lab

The Idea of a Lab

What is a Lab?

  • A mixing of local plus international artists.
  • A time and space to explore a work-in-progress with artists and not the general public.
  • A way to explore and investigate new medium
  • A place where everyone is working and sharing.
  • A collective that I was part of with opportunities for interaction and sharing, then later, we exhibited in a public showing.
  • Where do we do it? At the mac or somewhere else?
  • We should come out of our respective ‘comfort zones’ and explore different ideas and media.

Some Context for The Lab…

The Middle East uprising requires mandatory participation from the entire Arab Diaspora included many different Arab communities living in Birmingham. Using the Internet and other social media tools protestors were emboldened and encouraged to venture onto the streets and protest against the ruling elite of Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Yemen and Libya. In Birmingham, these historical events were avidly followed by the city’s Arab community; at home, on mobile phones, and on the plasma screens of cafes and restaurants. The revolution was a televised one with live feeds from Al Jazeera, the BBC and other international media. As new stories broke the speed of the dissemination was instant with posts immediately appearing on U Tube, Twitter, Facebook and Twitter. In this sense, participation was possible even thousands of miles away from a western industrialised city such as Birmingham.

It is clear the project for a new American Century has backfired and the political tremors from Cario, Tunis, Tripoli, and Sana, are rippling outwards across the whole world.

Here in Birmingham, in our very diverse city there are communities from Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, and Tunisia participating in the revolution.

Dubbed ‘The Jasmine Revolution’ by media pundits, the scent of this new political fragrance wafts through the streets and homes Birmingham’s Arab community. Citizens of our city; the bank manager, taxi driver, pastry chef, the class teacher, media student, and the working mother are the new revolutionaries. The mac-lab will seek out these unexpected revolutionaries and ask them about their experiences, hopes, dreams and biggest fears.

And then we go to Folkestone…

Blood, Sweat, and Tears Too is an artist-led project that has discreetly been responding to the ongoing Middle East Revolution from the relatively safe vantage point of their hometown Birmingham where there are many african and arab settlers. As part of Folkestone Fringe they will share their discoveries, insights and energies in a series of installations, performances, exhibits and participatory workshops.