Innovation Box | Vulnerability discussing Vulnerability

Introduction

This article is a response by Arizona Smith to Platform-7’s founder John McKiernan feeling anxiety after the artwork Home{Not]Less Ingenuity, by Shabazz Chapman, was torn down from the phone box and thrown into the street.

Arizona Smith is an early career artist who has exhibited paintings and sculptures as part of group exhibitions at The Royal Academy, Southbank Centre and The Freud Museum as well as two solo shows at The Islington Arts Factory and Vinyl Cafe; she recently completed a 5 month internship as a metal work assistant to Antony Gormley.

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It is vulnerable to talk about vulnerability.

Thinking about the phone box and the vulnerability of Shabazz Chapman’s artwork brings to mind thoughts on my own work and vulnerability – the balance between fragile and strong, which we are taught to be bad and good and separate… but my favourite people and my favourite self is a mix of both.

It also made me think about the ‘fixers’ – the people who endlessly repair or amend, like people who are paid to repaint graffiti – do they worry about the walls? Do graffiti artists worry about the graffiti repainters?

This took my thoughts to a wall in Cricklewood called the waiting wall – it’s really old and red brick and on a road where people wait hopefully for work on building sites. They have been doing so for decades… and so on the wall are marks and, in places, holes where coins have been rubbed in etc. These have always seemed to me like silent marks of vulnerability – the precarity of waiting for work like that, but being tough because that’s also the role. Communicating silently there is the whole truth of the fragile-strongness of the situation, slowly – mark by mark. Unsaid at the time just done, and later, repeated by others – over and over.

Arizona Smith ©2016 Platform-7 Events

Arizona Smith

I have written articles on the rights of children and young people and social issues for The Times, The Guardian and The New Statesman and OnOurRadar. As well as this I have created projects and contributed to strategy for The Guardian, OnOurRadar and Kids Company which included interviewing and research. I have also represented organisations on radio programmes on issues around youth homelessness, I am effective and experienced across a range of platforms and have spoken at venues such as The House of Lords, The Guardian Head Office and the BBC. I spoke on behalf of OnOurRadar at the SXSW festival in Texas in 2015.

My art career has so far included exhibiting paintings and sculptures as part of group exhibitions at The Royal Academy, Southbank Centre and The Freud Museum as well as two solo shows at The Islington Arts Factory and Vinyl Cafe and I recently completed a 5 month internship as a metal work assistant to Antony Gormley

Other articles relating to this artwork:

Innovation Box | Revealing Vulnerability

Creative Homelessness | A Study

Artist Response

Revealing Vulnerability

Revealing Unseen Complexities

Shape of Innovation

Negotiating the Space

Creative Home: Human Ingenuity in Times of Upheaval

Londonist Out Loud (podcast)