Gifts for the Future
Gifts for the Future is a participatory public art work – a performance event – that gives away £1000 in exchange for future positive actions that cost nothing.
Gifts for the Future is a 4 hour durational artwork. It is presented in a public space in proximity to acts of economic exchange such as a market place, a shopping precinct, a bank. It’s aimed towards a passing public who may happen upon the event in the course of their ordinary activity.
In exchange for a commitment to carry out a positive action in the future, 100 members of the public are each gifted £10 to do with as they wish. The positive action that each participant decides to undertake should have no monetary value, and must be carried out beyond the timeframe of the performance. Gifts for the Future untangles the £10 gifts from transactional individualised monetary exchange. It creates discussions that question what we value, the value we place on time and the economy of the gift.
Gifts for the Future begins as a slow-moving kinetic human sculpture. Seven performers process through a public space, each carrying a small bowl brimming with coins, each following the simple score ‘move when you breath in, still when you breath out’. Their action becomes a uniquely meditative and quietly rhythmic event, bringing a focused awareness and slower quality of time into public space. They begin to place coins, one by one, on the ground in a choreographed formation. Nearby there is a pop-up information stall. Stewards give out leaflets and explain to the public what the event is about and how they can participate.
With 1000 coins laid on the ground, performers enter into discussion and reflection with members of the public. Participants decide on and then write their future act on a small card, place it in a party bag, collect 10 coins from the ground – and leave with their gift and their promise to act …
One hundred future positive actions accumulate to be activated beyond the timeframe of the event: Gifts for the Future
Article written prior to the first performance of the piece is on Figures Series website here
Gifts for the Future was first presented at Sneinton Market in Nottingham in September 2017 when the longer title Breathing Line: Gifts for the Future was used
Gifts for the Future is originally commissioned and produced by Dance4
Gifts for the Future is part of Figures Series
Figures Series is funded by Arts Council England
Image credits: image 1 Helen Bailey, image 2 Paul Dennan, others Lucas Hough
Performers at Sneinton Market Nottingham: Ella Hurman, Hermione Purvis, Katrina Brown, Mark Leahy, My Johansson, Paul Russ and Rosanna Irvine