• Anna Treloan: The Impossible Project

2020 was the year I had intended to spend some sustained creative time developing my work THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT.  Then it became the year where nothing seemed possible anymore. 

The project had had an early incarnation in 2019 where it was presented as part of the Australian Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design (PQ).  For that version over 28 projects which for one or more reasons went from seeming unstoppable to being impossible were collected and reignited in small ways online and in book form.  

My intention was that in 2020 I would l drill further into some of these works and search out still more with an aim of building them into an immersive exhibition in 2021.  

And then Covid 19. 

Suddenly the massive number of works that became impossible was overwhelming and heartbreaking.  Suddenly, it was not just individual works but working techniques and presentation formats; skills artists had spent a life time perfecting had to almost instantaneously retreat.  They are largely still hibernating, on pause.  And we do not know when, if ever, we can return to the stages, galleries and cinemas in the way that we did.  We are fairly certain that when we do return that there will be many things that will never be possible again. 

And so I have been thinking a lot about THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT.  Trying in my own small way to work out how this work that seemed so prescient can begin to be part of grappling with what has occurred. 

I have come to a couple of conclusions.

Firstly, that it is still an important work.  That the idea of investigating what does and doesn’t make a work possible in any particular time, place or situation is complex and nuanced.  That it is a combination of politics, personality and situation.  While it can never (and doesn’t intend to) answer the questions concretely THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT CAN investigate what makes something possible and why it is seen as shameful when our ambition is thwarted.

And that it is essential that we make a record of this time.  That we build an archive and a memorial to the creations that were stopped in their tracks by this unexpected foe.  Some of these works will sing again but they will forever be marked by this virus and we must record this as a schism in their ascent. And most sadly many works will end here brought down by a greater hand.  It seems crucial that we mark that passing.  Without straying too far into romanticism, each is after all, the death of a little dream.  

It is a little early to know which works will wake again.  It is too early to know how different it will all be but it has always been embedded in the philosophy of the project that just because something is currently impossible that does not preclude it from becoming possible in the future.  And it has frequently been noted that pieces that become impossible go on to feed and influence or morph into new works.  This is truer still for the Covid Edition Impossibilities and as the project progresses and works reemerge I will be looking for ways to mark this transition – and to celebrate the rebirth. 

Over the next few months I will be reaching out to the creative communities, and asking them to pass on to others, a request for people to share their “impossible” projects.  The works, ideas and moments that come back will be documented, collated and made public via theimpossibleproject.com.au and social media.  The aim is to build an evolving creative archive of this moment.  There is no limit to to its scale bar its completion.  But, the day when it ceases to be a current necessity, and shifts to become an historical document will be one of celebration.

I still plan on an exhibition.  I am not in any way prepared to make that aspect of THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT an impossibility just yet.  My vision has always been that the exhibit places audience within the works and that an immersive landscape evokes a world of dreams and utopian futures.  In the current climate this may be awhile away, in the mean time I suggest we still find every opportunity to celebrate ingenuity even if works did not become realised as planned. 

For more information or to share a project please contact theimpossible@annatregloan.com.au.


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