Parambulating and snapping shots is a regular part of my humble existance especially as the town is quiet and business slow as the sunny mid-week photo above illustrates. My point was to capture a few of the latest Artangel banners in context with their surroundings, there's little use to a photo of a photo without a touch of perspective after all.
Having eventually snapped a few worth taking a voice made itself audible with the mantra "English person, English person." It was a local geezer who'd just picked up some pilau rice to add to his leftover Chinese take-away from the night before who couldn't contain his desire for someone to take a photograph of him.
His lack of satisfaction with the Artangel images was clear although unspoken, and reflects the growing malaise amongst locals for arty projects as a whole. There's little relevence in any of them for most, not even an opportunity to board the gravy train to Empire-Building upon Sea which many have become.
This neo-negative Daily Mail style view is founded on years of below par activities enjoying above par funding, and pre-dates Artangel's "Margate Exodus" project. Anyone applying this jaded view to the "Exodus" is three things; wrong, wrong and wrong.
It's a pity this latest project didn't come along years ago, we could have done with it to win the aortas and synapses of the majority over towards arts regeneration. Instead I fear it may well be a visit to the last chance saloon bar with a very real chance that we, the public, might be the ones to get it all wrong this time.
The premise of "Exodus" is simple, a well respected London art gang give our Island the chance to star in a modern filmic interpretation of a Biblical tale. They really do want us all to get involved, to enjoy that involvement, and they don't want us to pay a penny for it. After all which has wandered before cheaply dressed as involving the public, or endlessly megaphoning public interest while filling private pockets it's shocking to hear someone say it and mean it, but mean it they do.
Endeavouring to catch them out, trick some hidden agenda into view and played devil's advocate to everything they've told me for a whole year, probably convincing them that I suffer from a rare bipolar narkyness aggravated by sea air.
It turns out they're what we wanted all along, a public art event which means what it says and says what it means. If it works it will be the single most important development in attracting attention to our meagre efforts at regeneration via art. However if we allow it to fail it will likely mean the end of "arts as regen", not in some dramatic climax involving pyrotechnical fireballs but in a drawn out starvation of artistic souls at great cost with tight fake smiles from those responsible, a.k.a. things staying very much the same.