by Richard Parry, March 18, 2019

ATTENTION: Gi2020 Theme

Glasgow International 2020 Theme: Attention

To pay something attention is to bestow the value of your concentration and time upon it. Attention is the decision of what to focus in on in detail and what to leave as blurry remainder. Within the maelstrom of competition for our eyes and ears, the act of placing attention in something offers a way of approaching our lives with consideration and assiduousness – to make an ethical choice as to something’s importance. Attention is the sibling of intention.

Attention is less a theme and more a method of looking, thinking and approaching the world and the work of artists – with effort, care, sustained looking and criticality. It is the search for the specific thing that in turn unlocks entire new ways of seeing. It offers a framework or methodology for thinking through some of the urgencies of today; today’s urgencies that are likely to remain tomorrow’s. The commissions and exhibitions involve a forensic concentration – deep and ongoing investiture in a single concern or set of concerns.  This might involve intensely personal examinations of the self, or it could be about exploring social and political concerns such as the making of coloniality or the navigation of prejudice. The placing of attention in something may equally relate to a curiosity and the pursuit of something that is primarily about aesthetic or intellectual pleasure.

To attend on someone or to something is to express human care. This could be an act of love, but equally an act of futility, as in the case of Sisyphus pushing his rock up a mountain.

The festival is a special moment, a crescendo in the creative rhythm of the city – a concentrated instance that opens up a space for relearning and recovering the stretches of time before, during and beyond it. Attention seeks to step outside the everyday and open up a new space for looking, thinking and spending time with the work of artists and to see afresh the intent behind the work.

To find out more and apply to the Gi2020 Across the City Programme visit this page.