Revolve:R, edition four
Revolve:R, edition four (Arrow Bookworks, 2023)
Bookwork: 21.7cm, 21.7cm, 5.0cm.
380 pages (214 Artworks, 12 Poems, 6 films, 4 Songs, 4 Soundscapes, 1 Act).
Card, cloth, 170 gsm paper.
Arrow Bookworks deboss, numbered and signed. Limited edition /60.
Revolve:R was initiated by Sam Treadaway and Ricarda Vidal in 2011 as a multidisciplinary and international collaboration. The project explores the transmission of ideas in collaborative forms of communication, from the physical and tactile to the digital and virtual, in which contemporary artists, poets, filmmakers and musicians, produce original artworks, poetry, films, soundscapes and music in an art-game of call and response.
Designed as a vehicle for new artistic conversations Revolve:R facilitates interactions between artistic disciplines, as between national and international arts communities. By doing so the project initiates new connections and friendships that transcend geographic and linguistic boundaries. We began work on edition four in summer 2021 when we reconnected with artists who had worked on previous editions. For the first time we also reached out with an open-call. As a result our collaboration now includes works by artists, poets, filmmakers and musicians from the UK, Mainland Europe, North America, Russia, China, Australia and South Africa.
Each Revolve:R edition is formed of six rounds, or Revolves (forming six chapters within the bookwork publications) which each follow the same pattern whereby a two-sided artwork is shared with invited artists who then respond with an artwork of their own by a set date. The collective artworks of each Revolve are then shared with invited poets, filmmakers and musicians. Thus the initial artwork sets in motion a multitude of alternative creative responses reflecting various ways of reading, interpreting and responding.
For edition four we re-invented the basis of our collaboration. In previous editions printed artworks were physically exchanged (via the mail) back and forth between Sam and Ricarda and each collaborator. For edition four we decided that the core collaborators should also have access to all works as the project developed in real time. We also wanted for there to be potential for conversation and interaction so that contributors could discuss their work, share ideas and resources and so create an inclusive and supportive network. Therefore we decided to work in an entirely open-source way by taking the collaboration fully online with the aim of optimising transparency and creative democracy within the group. To make this happen we made use of a password-protected online platform in combination with the encrypted messaging app Signal.
Following some introductory discussions and intention setting, the first round or Revolve of the project then commenced by our uploading the first artworks (page 350 and 351, following on from page 349 of edition three) to the on-line platform and inviting collaborators to create an artwork in response, to share with the group by the date set. The sequence in which artworks were uploaded online also determined the page order within the publication meaning each collaborator was actively involved with the narrative arc of edition four.
The aesthetic and conceptual connections between the artworks from the first Revolve then formed the basis for the next Revolve and so on and so forth. Poets, filmmakers, sound artists, and musicians were then invited to the platform to create and share their works in response to the collective artwork of each Revolve. The poems are located after the artwork sequence of each Revolve. The films, songs and soundscapes can be accessed either via QR codes located on the reverse side of the film stills (following the poetry pages of each Revolve) or by visiting the website.
Picking up from where edition three left off the collective interdisciplinary work of Revolve:R, edition four (co-curated by Sam and Ricarda, produced and directed by Sam) holds a virtual litmus paper to the air and a finger to the pulse of the contemporary world to creatively explore some of the key issues of our times. Of central focus within this new edition is the subject of Climate Justice and the ever pressing Climate Change Emergency and the escalating Ecocide (which governments in 2023 continue to enable). Furthermore the war in Ukraine (which erupted half-way through the collaboration) also impacted the nature of our conversations and interactions, offering the group a unique opportunity to come together, as global citizens, to find common ground and seek to identify shared values, beliefs and collective goals.
And finally, edition four was of course set against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the era of lockdowns and so the work naturally reflects this time as well as other prominent topics of the age including: Human Rights, Animal Rights, Artificial Intelligence, Cryptocurrencies, Gender, Race and Sexual Equality, as well as the interplay between the Arts and Activism. In summary edition four reflects on what it might now mean to be human in an ever complex and chaotic world, during these crucial times of change and invites us to embrace the possibility of creating a sustainable and liveable future for everyone, everywhere.
The collective work of Revolve:R, edition four is thus intended to gently ask an open-ended question of the reader: If not now, when? If not you, who?
Sam Treadaway and Ricarda Vidal (2023).