Emergency Meeting, a collective formed of Chelsea and Camberwell graduates from fine art and design backgrounds, have collaborated with zine and art publication house Kiosk to create a new publication: Squashing Vibes. The publication and attached exhibition will take place as part of Art Licks Weekend at Peckham Pelican. To find out more about their collective and their new publication, we caught up with Emergency Meeting ahead of their launch.
Can you please explain how Emergency Meeting came to be and who you all are?
We all met each other while studying; some of us lived together, some of us were on the same course or went to the same college. We come from a range of disciplines: Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Design and Print Design – within that we all work in different ways but we do overlap in some of the ways we think and what interests us.
A couple of years after graduating we were all finding it hard to balance making work, making a living, and still managing to feel enthusiastic about what we were doing. We all had been doing little projects here and there but found exhibition opportunities lacking. Eventually, we decided to organise an exhibition ourselves as a way to motivate ourselves into making and talking about work again. We used Art Licks as a platform and invited others we had met while studying to exhibit, and so we officially launched ‘Emergency Meeting.’
You come from a variety of different art and design backgrounds, how does that affect how you plan your projects? Do you crit each other’s work? Is there an overlap in the disciplines?
The different backgrounds is definitely helpful for us as a group as it can give different viewpoints on things. It means that when we are planning new projects we can make it accessible to lots of different creatives.
We don’t crit each other’s work formally, but we definitely help develop each other’s work by discussing things when we’re together – whether it be specific works or more general ideas. Again, we find that the different ways of thinking that we have can help us to think about our work in different ways.
What is Squashing Vibes? Can you explain the project?
Our first project together as a collective was part of last year’s Art Licks Weekend. We felt it was a real success, so it felt right to do something new for this year’s Art Licks Weekend. This year we wanted to create an opportunity for other creatives to get their work out there so after some deliberation, we decided to create an open submission book. We like how viewers can take the book away and look at it again, meaning people can spend a little more time with the work. We spoke to Kiosk (an independent publishers based in South London) about the project and they were really keen to work with us.
We came up with the title Squashing Vibes because we thought it represented the difficulties creatives face when trying to get their work out there, but also had a fun playful side. Respondents were asked to use the title as a starting point but works could be created in whatever medium they liked as long as the end product could be reproduced in the book. We had so many more submissions than we’d expected and had many discussions about which works would make the final cut!
The book launch will be at the Peckham Pelican on the 29th September and will be available to buy for the duration of the Art Licks Weekend (29th September – 2nd October). Check out our facebook event for more details.
We will also be showing a selection of works on a show reel as well as a small exhibition of work from a few of the artists who submitted which will be up until the 9th October along with a display copy of the book. Squashing Vibes will be available to buy through Kiosk’s online shop after the launch.
Squashing Vibes will be online as well as a physical publication: why did you choose this format?
We think it’s really important to help people get their work seen in as many formats as possible – and the internet is probably the most accessible and far reaching of them all. So we’re uploading all the submissions we received to our blog.
We had a limited amount of pages available in the book and space on the wall at the Pelican, which meant we can couldn’t fit everyone’s work in, but showcasing the works online it means we can show everything off. We understand that people put time and effort in to submit work, so the least we can do is make sure we can show everyone’s work somehow. The blog is also great because we can easily link people’s work to their websites so that if someone is interested in an artist, they can find out more about them.
How important do you feel it is for graduates to work together and create opportunities for themselves and others? Do you have any advice?
It’s definitely important for graduates to keep talking and working together. Opportunities can sometimes seem limited, especially for those not working in traditional formats, so it can be hard to continue making work.
Setting up your own event can be hard work, but it can also be really rewarding and help you to get excited about making again. It can be difficult to get money to do projects, but there are ways to do things cheaply. Creating relationships with different people can also make things go smoothly.
Do you have any future plans? What’s next for Emergency Meeting?
We have some ideas for a project but it all depends on funding. We’ve all really enjoyed putting together the publication and have been slightly overwhelmed by the volume of submissions. We’ll definitely be looking for more submissions for future projects.