A barbecue of regrets a project by Tom Hackett


tom hackett sculpture   

a  barbecue of regrets

A barbecue of regrets' was a project which involved collecting dialogue around personal, societal or other regret from people in Luton through a series of incidental conversations. The project builds upon a series of works where collected thoughts, ideas and stories are gathered from a wider public and coalesced within a publically exhibited framework, which I set up and orchestrate.

Over 7 days in 2018, I wore a text covered ‘Conversation Suit’ and walked around with a wheelbarrow full of charcoal briquettes.   As conversation struck  up, I explained the project and invited them to share a regret which was then written down on a post it note. The regrets were not attributed to individuals, but collectively belonged to an incidentally encountered community. My approach to dialogue was to be reactive to enquiry rather than pushy or door-stepping. As I walked I  also gathered images of people and of the places I ended up in.

Using the harvested regrets I developed a series of works. The words were digitally designed in combination with block images of Luton and printed to create a series of six padded fabric wall works, hung as canvases.  I  also created sound sculptures in collaboration with Julian Woodcock using recorded voices and 5 dome shaped barbecues to form a sound collage. The audio work will subsequently be broadcast online. These are exhibited at 'Storefront' Luton. A gallery managed by 'Departure Lounge' for 'As You Change So Do I' in association with Luton Culture.

At the exhibition opening in September. There was an interactive barbecue event where the original hand written regrets were burned in the process. The sharing of regrets via writing and their subsequent conversation to smoke vapour acted as a playful uplifting collective catharsis. Symbolically letting go of regrets and simply getting it out there.

A barbecue of regrets is supported using public funding by the National Lottery  through Arts Council England. It is curated by Matthew Shaul  'Departure Lounge' in association with 'As You Change So Do I' for Luton Culture.

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