Future Perfect is an ambitious programme of public art commissions for Hengrove Ward, a residential area in south Bristol. It is commissioned by Bristol City Council and is the first public art programme to be funded through a Neighbourhood Partnership in which governance is extended to members of the Hengrove community. The programme is part of a large-scale regeneration scheme spearheaded by the Council, and funded through Section 106 monies raised to mitigate the effects of development in the Hengrove area.
It is a four-year project which began in 2012, curated and developed by curator/commissioner team Theresa Bergne and Jes Fernie. The theme for the programme is the future; a notional, fantastical future which embraces extraordinary possibilities and dreams and consists of three commissions by artists with international reputations: Martino Gamper, Nils Norman and David Thorpe. All three artists have had extensive, fruitful conversations with local people, groups and schools in Hengrove throughout the process of developing their proposals. Martino Gamper’s commission, Archive of Ideas, was realised in 2012; the other two commissions were realised in 2014 and 2015. The programme also includes the publication of a book of drawings by Garth England, a long term resident of Hengrove and Knowle West. Murdered with Straight Lines: drawings of Bristol by Garth England', is edited by Jes Fernie and Theresa Bergne and will be published by Redcliffe Press in Spring 2015.
Future Perfect explores the transformative potential of art; how socially engaged projects can inspire as well as inform and affect the way that people view their lives, their neighbourhood and their position in their community. The commissioned artists are all interested in creating a space in which new things can happen, ideas can be expressed and the unknown can be explored. Future Perfect encompasses a range of art projects from the temporary to the permanent; all of which provide a legacy for Hengrove in some form; through improvement of infrastructure in the area, skills development and personal enrichment for residents.
A key ambition of Future Perfect is to get local people involved at all levels. An Art Steering Group has been established to oversee the programme, consisting of local residents, parents, Councillors and representatives from local groups. The programme as a whole offers many different opportunities for individuals and groups in Hengrove to participate, through workshops, trips and talks.