If the word AGM conjures a formal corporate event in your mind, the Stove Network’s 2014 candle-lit annual general meeting was quite an alternative. Of all the unusual and surprising places which you might expect of artists, the AGM was organised underground, on the lowest floor of NCP Southergate car park at Shakespeare Street, and ran in conjunction with an exciting interactive public art event Parking Spaces that took over the entire four stories for two days.
The Stovies set up round tables for the AGM attendees and arranged rows of cinema chairs (which proved handy as the event turnout was larger than expected!), brought in for the late night film screening.
The vast concrete space and tables were illuminated only by candles and some reflected light from the slideshow projector as the curatorial team talked about some prominent Dumfries and Galloway artistic projects ran by the Stove Network. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion/provocation about the new rules of public art, led by Stephen Pritchard.
Light dinner was served, the Scottish nourishing stovies, hah-hah. The break gave the attendees a chance to explore some art installations on other floors, get into the GabCab – a London taxi transformed into a mobile studio by Mark Lyken and Emma Dove – and simply catch up with friends. The Doonhame Derby rollerskater girls donned popcorn boxes as hats to play cinema usherettes.
After the break the Open Jar collection resumed the discussion about the role of public art in Dumfries using food-related metaphors (as indeed fit for the Stove), putting down their thoughts on the colourful cutouts of pots, jars and seasoning containers. The atmosphere was fun and sharing.
The evening ended with a popcorn cinema screening of How to Start a Revolution documentary about Gene Sharp, Nobel Peace Prize nominee.