Launching this week, 'The Academy of Youth Mythology' is a five-day summer programme held at the Southbank Centreled by artist Lucy Panesar and members of the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project. The project aims to give young people the opportunity to work with artists to explore some of the myths around youth culture today. Working with a group of 30, this week’s activities have been devised by Panesar in attempt to destroy existing myths about youth culture, and to devise new ones from their personal experiences.
During the week, participants will work with guest artists Marcia Farquhar, Edwin Burdis, Ross Roberston and duo Laura & Lauren among other visiting experts, to learn about roles within the arts and media such as producer, performer, curator, to film-maker. Resulting live art works will be exhibited at the end of the week in 'An Exhibition of Ideas & Instructions' at the Royal Festival Hall.
How did you pick your artists for the program?
Lucy Panesar: I wanted the participants of the academy to experience a range of different approaches to making art, and to work with artists who approach making in different ways. Frances Williams and Sarah Coffils at the South London Gallery have been great advising artists who fit the programme I hoped for.
The first day I wanted first-hand live art works for inspiration. I did a live art piece as my alter-ego Felicity Mukherjee. In the afternoon, Marcia Farquhar, an artist I have worked with before, created a live art tour. When I make work I am methodical. I plan a lot and find it hard to improvise, so I looked for artists who were different from me for the rest of the week. Marcia is fantastic at improvisation and responding to audiences and contexts. She was also a teenager in London, and is able to talk about local and personal history in an engaging and comical way.
On Tuesday, Lucy Steggals, an artist who works with young people in Margate, instigated exciting live interventionalist work to explore myths further.
For Wednesday (our day for mythmaking sounds) I picked artist Edwin Burdis. He is familiar with the Southbank and working with audiences and people in everyday settings. He likes to make noise and proposed to make 'wrong pop songs' with participants! I also picked artist Ross Robertson as he's also an experienced noise maker interested in soundscapes and analogue recorders.
For the Thursday and Friday, I chose artist duo Lauren+Laura, who are familiar with art gallery education and work regularly with live media at public events, prompting interaction with passers by dressing up and dancing. They had a gig at the Southbank last weekend called 'Play' for the Vintage Festival which was brilliant! So that's how/why I picked the artists.
DD: Why are young artists so important today?
Lucy Panesar: A tricky question as all artists are young at some point, and youth is pretty relative. I feel like a young artist when I'm talking to curators. But with participants this week I feel like an old artist!
Some of them would perhaps call themselves young artists or emerging artists if they are confident that this is what they want to do, but for some being an artist is one option of many. They may be currently studying art alongside science!
DD: Why 'myths'?
Lucy Panesar: While I've never used the word 'myth' in relation to my practice before, when I look back I've always been exploring myths in a way. My work is informed by beliefs and opinions, what people think and know and how they get to know something. I'm interested in education, advertising and public information services as vehicles for disseminating information and in their different ways, making myths. I wanted to find an area of mythology that would be relevant to the participants, which ultimately became youth mythology.
DD: How did you get involved with Louis Vuitton for this project?
Lucy Panesar: Initially through the Whitechapel Gallery, as one the five partner galleries for LVYAP. At the Whitechapel Gallery I work with the Duchamp and Sons and join them for Louis Vuitton partner events. Last summer I was invited to join the Academy, to talk to participants about how I take on a persona in my work. I appeared as Felicity, for a faux market research exercise on surveillance technologies to protect urban youth. This year I was asked to programme the week and to intersperse it with live art.
DD: What are you most excited about next?
Lucy Panesar: This week I'm looking forward to what the participants create with the artists and how they react to the myth missions I've set them. After this week I'm excited about the radio programme that the team leaders will be making for Break London, and to see footage the film crew. And most of all seeing participants again at future Louis Vuitton events and hearing how their work is developing and if they've made anymore myth making interventions!
The exhibition shows on Friday 5 August at St Paul’s Pavilion in the Royal Festival Hall, London