Robert Montgomery and the Every Blind Child campaign

Robert Montgomery:

In Our Dreams We See Forever (2017)Transformed vehicle with light piece and audio/video installation
Height 370cm x Width 205cm x Length 599cm
Commissioned for the Royal Society for Blind Children

RSBC and the #EveryBlindChild campaign

Every Blind Child is RSBC’s three-year nationwide campaign that aims to dispel the myths surrounding childhood sight loss. At its core is a commissioned artwork by international artist and poet, Robert Montgomery, which will travel from Cornwall in the South West to Newcastle in the North East from 31st January 2018. By sharing the dreams of blind children and young people, we’re showing the nation that blind children have the same dreams and potential as anyone else.

The Artist: Robert Montgomery

Robert Montgomery is a poet and sculptor, following a tradition of conceptual art. His work is usually presented as billboard poems, light pieces, fire poems, woodcuts and watercolours. For this commission, Montgomery has made a significant departure and created an audio/video installation with partially sighted children.

Born in Scotland in 1972, Montgomery lives and works in London and has a large international following. In 2012 he was selected to represent Britain for the first Indian Biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and the Yinchuan Biennale in 2016. Alongside Jake and Dinos Chapman, John Cooper Clarke, Laure Prouvost, Linder Sterling and Tracey Emin, Montgomery is part of a global poster project entitled Time For Outrage currently travelling in Berlin, Athens, Moscow, Istanbul, Mexico City and New York City. Recent solo exhibitions include Cob Gallery and Parasol Unit in London, and in 2017 he was also shortlisted for the UK National Holocaust Memorial.
www.robertmontgomery.org Instagram: @robertmontgomerystudio

The Commission:

Raising awareness of children living with visual impairments is instrumental to RSBC’s mission to support them and their families. The charity tasked creative agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky to find a way to highlight the challenges these children face and take their voices to a wider public audience.

Branch Arts were engaged to bring on board an artist to deliver the campaign’s brief. A selection of leading artists were approached and Robert Montgomery’s masterful proposal was selected from the shortlist. One of the elements that stood out was that his proposal spoke not only to those who can see, but also to those who cannot, as the multi-sensory medium of the piece reveals itself fully only to the visually impaired.

In Our Dreams We See Forever

"Robert Montgomery’s compelling interpretation of the charity’s awareness-raising brief has resulted in a brilliantly accessible and thought-provoking work of art. As an inspirational poet, whose words have resonated with thousands, Montgomery has made a name for creating often dreamlike and optimistic poetic commentaries on life. This artwork goes one-step further by bringing some of the children right into the centre of the artwork". (Flora Fairbairn, Curator, Branch Arts).

Light Poem

In Montgomery’s trademark illuminated poem style, In Our Dreams We See Forever draws from his work with a group of children, aged between 6 and 14 years old, who live with sight loss. In a series of workshops, Montgomery asked the children to relate their dreams and share their hopes and aspirations for the future. The poem encapsulates the overriding strength and sense of hope Montgomery felt when being with the children.

Bespoke Vehicle

 

The sides of the vehicle display braille statements from some of these children, whereby the whole sculpture only fully reveals itself to blind audiences.

Audio/Video Installation

 

In Our Dreams We See Forever is an intimate four-screen audio/video installation with children, which the viewer is immersed between inside the vehicle, drawing the viewer into an intriguing and intimate narrative of the subjects’ lives and career dreams. The energetic and childish interaction gradually evolves into individual stories that engage the viewer to imagine how it is to live with little or no sight.
“I've been proud to work with an amazing group of blind and partially sighted children on this project. I chose to film them talking about their dreams to give an insight into their vivid and charming imaginations, and also because in a way we are all equal when we dream. RSBC does amazing work in fighting prejudice and opening up life opportunities for this often overlooked group of young people who desperately need our support to live fuller lives." - Robert Montgomery.

About the Children:

The children who feature in the video piece and who have contributed to the campaign are:

Alisdair, Age 11, Coventry
Bradley, Age 13, London
Brianna, Age 8, Milton Keynes (Video Subject)
Harry, Age 10, Plymouth
Isaac, Age 6, London (Video Subject)
Keira, Age 11, Helston, Cornwall
Kieran, Age 11, Darlington (Video Subject)
Sasha, Age 9, Hitchin
Youssef, Age 13, London (Video Subject)

Thank you to the brilliant children who made this piece possible.

Credits:

Creative concept and campaign co-production: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, London Creative Agency
Curated and co-produced by: Branch Arts
Film Production: Creation Company, Final Cut, Moving Picture Company & UnLtd Productions
Second Project Artist: David Fryer
AV: Robert Prouse
Vinyl: Tom Woods, Autowrap
Braille: Tim Beasley, Braille Sign Shop

In Our Dreams We See Forever tours the country: to see the light poem and experience the intimate video installation please follow our #EveryBlindChild national tour.

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