In 2005, Newlyn Art Gallery commissioned a total of six artists to make new work in response to the construction of a new gallery space in the centre of Penzance (The Exchange) and the extension of the existing Newlyn Art Gallery. Using the gallery’s visitors books as a starting point, we developed a new 112 page publication, badge set and book reading.

“A monumental and ground breaking work. Someone had to do it, thank you! I will never write “very” in a book of any kind again” – Jem Finer – artist

Worth The Trip (publication)

Penzance: Newlyn Art Gallery (July 2007)
English 112 pp., paperback
ISBN : 978-0954674519

“We are standing in Newlyn Art Gallery reading the visitors book, pointing out to each other the comments that make us smile, seem odd, sound funny when you say them out loud, the comments that seem unnecessarily harsh, the crossings out, the comments about comments, the comments about the weather and the coffee machine. We start to see patterns. Words crop up over and over and over again. Interesting, Amazing, Beautiful, Stunning, Better, Boring, Brilliant, But. Words that we use everyday. Words that we forget even exist. Words that we should use more in conversation. Words that we vow never to use again. We set ourselves the task of cataloging the words in the visitors book from a three year period. This entails reading each comment and extracting certain words and tallying them or adding them to our list.

The words are taken out of context; their intended meanings are changed; they become part of the ticksheet – things to be said out loud, to be counted and tallied, objects to be collected and alphabetised. We are doing this task (calling out the words and tallying them) in bars, pubs and cafes, on long train journeys, in different towns and cities, in the flat, in any spare half an hour. We wonder what other people make of the overheard stilted exchange of words, the double checking of spellings, the impromptu singing, the querying whether ‘brill’ is a good word or not, the pain and frustration of having to say the word ‘stunning’ out loud again and again, the sighing and the “it’s ok, we’ve only got to get to the end of this one”. Meanwhile the list is getting longer and longer and the words are getting to us.

After all of this, we are left with a list of 4356 words.”

To mark the launch of our publication Worth The Trip, we were invited to give a reading of the text at the opening of The Exchange in Penzance. Initially, we planned to read the book from start to finish, splitting the task 50/50. As luck would have it, Rachel had lost her voice by the day of the launch and so she set about getting members of the passing audience to read every other page of the book, to help Hannah out with the task.

The reading was reminiscent of the ritualistic (yet strangely comforting) announcement of the Saturday afternoon football scores, with guest readers ranging from the reluctant to the theatrical.
LOW PROFILE: Worth The Trip (book reading) –  listen to an excerpt of the book launch event. sound credit : Neil Rose