My name is Elena Brake, I am an emerging artist based in Plymouth, UK. I have been making artwork and performances that reimagine and enchant our everyday experiences. During last year’s Plymouth Art Weekender I led a performance in Plymouth City Centre, involving a team of performers dressed in white overalls using horseshoe magnets to find out which objects were magnetic along the Piazza.
This year, I aim to do something even bigger. This time I will be arming Plymouth civilians with domestic cleaning supplies, and performing a range of absurd cleaning activities - like carefully cleaning each leaf of a tree, or dusting public benches with feather dusters. The light-hearted, interactive encounter questions our responsibilities to keep Plymouth clean and tidy.
Who can get involved?
Mainly, the project - Cleaning in Progress - seeks to involve the ‘ordinary’ people of Plymouth - people like you and me, those of us who might feel despondent about litter and grime in our public spaces, and those of us who are fed up of hearing people complain about it. Let’s do something about it!
Bringing people to the heart of the issue and taking part in the performance will encourage curiosity and questioning about where our responsibilities end and the local authority’s begin.
Cleaning in Progress will be family-friendly, fun and free - an opportunity to meet like-minded people and explore contemporary art in a less daunting environment than some gallery settings can seem. It will be a relaxed and casual way to get involved, allowing the participants to chat directly with the artists and performers involved.
Like many of my art pieces to date, this all comes down to curiosity. What happens when we give cleaning equipment to people in Plymouth? What happens when you appeal to people’s sense of curiosity, sense of humour and drive for being a part of social change?
Cleaning in Progress will also involve local, early career artists, photographers and writers who will all be fairly paid for their contribution to the project. Those involved will benefit from opportunities to network and gain experience in helping to engage members of the public and passers-by in large scale public art events.
Why do I need your help?
This project has been awarded Arts Council Funding on the agreement that match funding will be raised and this is where you come in. An additional £1200 is needed to fully fund the project, and to ensure:
-All performers, writers, photographers etc can be fairly paid for their contribution to the project
-An explanatory publication can be produced and given out free of charge during the event
-Purchase of cleaning equipment, signage and branded high-vis tabards to make the project visible and allow more people to take part
What can you get in return?
By backing this project, you’ll be helping to get this ambitious project off the ground and you’ll get your hands on a range of great rewards...
(NOTE: If you would like one of the rewards be sure to select it from the sidebar rather than entering the price as a donation!)
£2 pledges and above
Webpage mention (big thank you + shout out on social media) - Your name will be listed on the Cleaning in Progress' webpage for all eternity!
Cleaning in Progress Digital Reward Bundle - You'll receive a zip folder with 3 x desktop/screensaver images, an exclusive audio interview with the artist, and printable 'Fold your Own Floor Sign'
Your very own branded, high-vis vest which will be specially labeled and presented, and delivered to you with care before the event so that you can wear it along to the performance as a VIP participant
Limited special edition signed copy of the Cleaning in Progress publication, signed by the artist and writer. This will be a limited print run, exclusive to backers of this Crowdfunder!
A limited edition photo print from Cleaning in Progress, printed onto beautiful photographic paper and signed by the artist, there are 4 different photographs to collect!
DELUX Cleaning in Progress Reward Bundle - get your very own branded, VIP high-vis vest, a Limited special edition of the publication and one print for the bargain price of £45
An artwork and piece of history in its own right, receive one of ten dusters used during the performance in Plymouth City Centre. Each duster will be truly unique, having accumulated marks, wear and tear, and will be hand finished, embroidered with a signature and supplied either framed or in a beautiful presentation box. Each of the 10 dusters will come with a certificate of authenticity.
Here is a mock up, to give you an idea of what that might look like!
Sponsor a performer - your £200 pledge will go directly towards paying an emerging artist for their time performing during the project. There will be the chance for you to meet them during the event and see how the project has helped them gain experience.
Sponsor the info point - the bright yellow, branded info point will attract curious passers-by and help to engage them in the interactive performance. Your pledge will go directly towards this info point, and your name will be proudly displayed on the info point as a major sponsor.
Why does this project benefit Plymouth?
At its core, this project aims to involve the local people of Plymouth in improving awareness of the maintenance and care of local environment and public spaces. It will be something fun, unusual and free for Plymouth's public city centre.
In addition, local performers, writers and photographers recruited to be involved will have the opportunity to develop their own practice through networking and gaining experience. This is bound to have an impact on the local art scene, with more local talent feeling more confident to create large scale events in Plymouth in the future. As part of Plymouth Art Weekender I would like this project to inspire people by showing that it is possible to create your own opportunities.
This project is my biggest and boldest undertaking to date and I have benefited hugely from the opportunity to work with a mentor, Rachel Dobbs, through Visual Art Plymouth's mentorship scheme, Plymouth Platform. Pulling this off by creating something truly unforgettable would mean I could push my art career even further. Plymouth is my home and I am keen to continue making art in this amazing city.
Learn more about my art here: www.elenabrake.co.uk