Returning to Regular Marvels

Regular Marvels has been hibernating since 2015, when the last of the books created under that title was published. The following year I began what became A Restless Art, a project about participatory and community art. That left little room for creative work outside its frame until the book was published last year. Since then, making art with people has come back to the centre of my concerns, with several small projects and, as from last month, a three year commitment to work on a European community opera project. Because this work is personal – by which I mean I’m directly involved in its creation – it fits better here than on the Restless Art website, so I’ve come home to my first blog, started a decade ago.

But this phase is quite different to the first, with work that is more varied in character, scale and purpose. So the original is now ‘Regular Marvels I’, while this second cycle is s something else, whose shape (if it has one) is still obscure. That’s fine: I’ve never worried much about not knowing my destination. In the original work, I did set out to show that it was possible to research and write about art seriously outside academic concepts, practices or values. Each book in the series has its own strengths and weaknesses, but together, they are good enough to convince me that the idea is valid. In what comes now, I’m not setting out with any clear intention except to enjoy creating art with others and do something useful in the world: use and ornament, perhaps.

So this site is changing its own shape, and its relationship with the other two sites I use.

  • A Restless Art will continue to be a resource about participatory art in theory and practice, focusing on other people’s work, but it will probably be less active in the months to come.
  • Parliament of Dreams is about my past research and other writing, about issues such as cultural policy. It will be a focus for my thinking about what Europe has meant and might mean in the years to come.
  • And Regular Marvels will become much more active once again, especially as I begin work on TRACTION, the European community opera project that will take much of my time in the coming years.

If you’re interested in any or all of this work, please do follow the sites for updates by email, or the Twitter account for more regular news.

Finally, at the start of another period of change, I want to thank everyone who reads these posts. There is an unimaginable amount of stuff written these days, and I’m happy if anyone takes the time to read what I post. I’d carry on anyway, because it’s how I work out what I think, but, like most writers, I do want to find readers. Coming back here, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that the Regular Marvels books have been downloaded while I’ve been away: about 150 copies of each in the last six months. And Bread and Salt, the most personal but also the most flawed, has been downloaded almost 500 times in English and in Dutch. My grateful thanks to every single reader. I hope you’ve found something of value there.

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