On Wednesday 5 October Janetka Platun gave a talk at The Lab to introduce her previous work, as well as her ideas for the project so far.

The talk was an opportunity to find out more about the project and to gain an insight into the work she has undertaken in a range of locations having a strong connection to place.

‘My standpoint is responsive to the distinctiveness of an area’s culture, society and natural environment and my practice centers on everyday social situations that reveal complex stories’. – Janetka Platun

Janetka spoke in depth about her practice and showed some fascinating examples of her previous work, which included a range of projects in the South East and in Wales, making artworks in multiple media including film, performative arts and sculpture.

‘Gigacycle’ drew on encounters with the public inspired by two 20th century pioneers who helped to shape Harlow New Town:  the Architect Sir Freddie Gibberd who laid out the most extensive cycle path network in Europe, and Charles Kao, who developed optical fibre data transmission at Nortel, an electronics company based in the town.

The artwork used both fibre optic and the cycle network to map the encounters geographically in a light –sculpture.

‘Each configuration demonstrated the multiple and playable ways in which a journey can connect a community. The final piece allowed local people to re-configure old routes and imagine new journeys.’ – Janetka Platun

Janetka went on to describe her initial ideas for her current commission in Haverfordwest Searching for the Centre. 

These continue the theme of journeying geographically and in time; walking routes from the periphery into the town in a number of directions, searching for what might be perceived to be the centre and in the performative act of doing so, engaging people in the creative process and inviting them to respond to the work and the questions posed.

Through seeking an emotional response to the centre, Janetka is investigating the ‘psycho-geographies’ of Haverfordwest, exploring people’s relationship to the town and how it affects how they feel and behave.

Janetka’s talk was followed by a Q & A session with some heartfelt discussion on the ‘matter of Haverfordwest’, with audience members expressing excitement at the possibilities for cross-discipline working to help the town.

As an engineer, it’s been great to talk to artists and see things from a different perspective.

Over the course of the four-month commission, which runs from September to December 2016, Janetka aims to create an artwork that captures and communicates her findings to a wide audience. In making people aware of their innermost feelings for the place in which they live, Janetka’s artistic process and resulting artwork could make a significant contribution that will help to change people’s perceptions of the town.

‘What also stands out for me is the chance to investigate the deeper emotional values about place that goes beyond the physical, commercial and economic drivers for change’ this principle is at the forefront of my practice’ – Janetka Platun


Image credits: Janetka Platun