The Future is on the Table #3 is the culmination of an open dialogue which started when artists Gwylene Gallimard and Jean-Marie Mauclet (South Carolina, US) sent as presents 58 homemade three legged stools. The seats were cut from a single sheet of marine plywood painted with a map of the world, as seen from the North Pole. Each seat is a piece of a large 58-piece puzzle. The seats were to be used as a symbol for creating a circle, a workgroup, or a rhizome, then an art project. Stools were sent to Canada, England, France, South Africa, India, USA, Russia and China. Rajni write about her experiences below:
The stools remind me of what I stand for. They remind me of what is important. And thus, they are a mixed presence in my life. They are a wonderful, powerful symbol, and they bring me together with other artists across the world. But they are also a reminder of how much there is to do, how we need effort and commitment to create this space in our world. I gave mine away, continuing the chain of giving, to artists and audiences at a London performance of mine. People loved them. I attached a long handwritten letter to them, hoping that people would write back (I asked them to). No-one wrote back. This was disappointing. But in a sense, it brought me back to one of the first things Jean-Marie wrote to me:
Hello,The stools are only a symbolic offering, to you first, as an introduction to "The Future is on the Table".
So I must focus on the table, and let the stools have their own journey; in homes around the UK they are now a reminder to others, and they are sparking other conversations that I may never know about. The table has became more and more metaphorical, a symbol for the patterns of our lives, of our relationships, and I have been thinking about all the people sitting around that table-- who agrees to sit down, who talks and how, the patterns of the discussions, around the world. I remember being in Kentucky, the first time I saw the stools, sitting around a table outside with other artists from across the US, talking about the world situation. Now I live in England, and the table I am making is a way of sustaining that dialogue, inviting people to form a community online, to find strength in knowing that there are others around the table, from across the world. I hope that some of you might join me.
From March 2008, Rajni moderated a networking website for The Future is on the Table, engaging groups from around the world to have discussions online and to make new connections. In September 2008, all the projects came together in Charleston, South Carolina (US) for a month of exhibitions and events, bringing this part of the project to a suitable close, embedded in the community where it began. Rajni led a series of gift-giving workshops, and took part in dialogues with other artists and community groups.
For more information and to get involved please visit jemagwga.com/the-future-is-on-the-table