Notes from Nowhere
Taking inspiration from Victorian designer William Morris’ utopian novel News from Nowhere, which envisaged a new, fairer future, Notes from Nowhere cast the Somerset town of Frome as a broadcaster of social and political ideas.
Rather than having any fixed physical form in the town, Notes from Nowhere commissioned 8 British and international artists to disseminate political and social ideas through the town’s existing social structures – from markets to schools to campaign groups to pubs – and via a team of Foreground pamphleteers who directly engaged the public throughout the project. The artists were explicitly commissioned to create projects for distributable media – posters, bags, badges, letters and adverts – that could be widely shared and encourage the general public to personal and political action.
Artworks were distributed freely to the public each week during the project in Frome’s town centre spreading mass messages about money, tolerance, personal freedom and the structures of power in society. The works made their mark on Frome through the multiplication of the artist’s messages found around the town and were designed to stimulate comment on philosophical, political and social structures.
The works were often accompanied by specific instructions for the public to follow to help disseminate the artworks to a wider audience or to nominate who should receive specific artworks. Specific works were designed to broadcast Frome’s voice nationally and internationally through mass mailings by the public of printed artworks to particular target groups beyond the town, whether that be the population of London or those in power in government and the media. In this way the project involved its audience directly in determining how and where the artworks manifested themselves and also in deciding who becomes the extended audience for the artworks both in the town and beyond.