Bob and Roberta Smith
(b. 1963, London, UK)
Bob and Roberta Smith (one artist with two names) is an activist who believes that people should make their own art. Over the past 15 years he has produced vibrantly coloured signs and paintings, presenting political sloganeering and absurdist wordplay in a font he calls 'Sign Writers Block'. Bob and Roberta Smith's work also includes performance, music and cookery. Explaining that many of his projects have entailed working with the public rather than producing things for them, he says: 'I'm more interested in how people understand their surroundings, where they are and what they can do; how art can improve their lives and be a language for understanding the world.' A passionate supporter of public spaces and institutions such as museums, galleries and libraries, he sees government cuts to the arts and humanities, and in health and higher education, as 'like ripping up the Magna Carta.'
Among his many other activities, he co-founded the ever inventive Apathy Band, hosts 'Make Your own Damn Music' on Resonance FM and is a Tate Trustee.
Author and journalist Anna Minton has written a series of reports on the urban environment and public spaces in cities. She has investigated the phenomena of gated communities and ghettos in America and their emergence in the UK, and inquired into the growing privatisation of public space in Britain. Her influential book, Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First Century City, first published is 2009, will be republished on 26 June 2012, with new material including a chapter on the true Olympic legacy.
Symphony for the public realm
Bob and Roberta Smith and his Apathy Band
Bob and Roberta Smith invites people to join him in his ambient band The Apathy Band to create a 'symphony for the public realm' using the music programme 'Garageband'.
Drawing on the artist's interest in music and art in public spaces, participants discuss the possibilities of music in public spaces and then collectively compose and make music to this end.
This is the third of three separate events for Wide Open School undertaken by Bob and Roberta Smith. The others are on Monday 11 and Saturday 16 June.
Concessions: 50% off (limited availability)
Venue: Hayward Gallery WOS Lecture Theatre
Approximate duration: three hours
Participants are invited to bring their own laptops and/or machines with the programme 'Garageband' on them.