If you have a friend or acquaintance (I have) who is an artist working in Deptford you'll already know there's something going on (they'll either be very stressed getting ready for it or not bothered and a bit bolshy and possibly very drunk). Without this influence in your lives you could be forgiven for not knowing anything was going on (though of course you may not be interested even if you knew).
In the last post about Deptford X it wasn't mentioned – the number of new galleries and venues open this time round – including a showcase in the new Barratt's Delta Development on Creek Road. As well as the usual, there are a few additions to the Art Trail, including some places on Tanners Hill... Let me check for you on the website...Ah, galleries...Oh, have a look for yourselves...
It's a PDF download, titled (one assumes) for admin use only – 'Programme-DX-08 medium res.pdf'. Not "Deptford X 2011 Programme.pdf" as you might expect. It's a pdf version of the little printed booklet that you may or may not have seen. It looks great, but you might find it hard to locate this file again on your hard drive, and any time you click on this website you're likely to get another version of this file. If you treat this website like a normal website you're just going to end up with about 30 versions of the same file.
So has it been updated (always the web's advantage over the printed version)? Well, I was looking at the Deptford X Showcase that is supposed to be in that shit looking new brown building on Creek Road that is the new Barratts' development...I haven't got a problem that they're showing in this shell of a shit development, I'd like to know how they've dealt with it. BUT in the printed Deptford X booklet on page 11 it says SEE WEBSITE FOR TIMES. On the website it says nothing, and every time you click on anything you DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE PRINTED BOOKLET YOU JUST READ.
Then there's the posters. The posters and leaflets have a QR CODE (Quick Response code) as the actual design (see above), which is a great comment on decoration (a theme of this year's Deptford X) and the strapline "Look beneath the surface" would have some resonance if the QR CODE worked. Does it? I don't have a device that scans QR codes, but it would seem this is of little use if all it gets you is the Deptford X website, where most of the festival is only available to view by downloading a pdf.
That would be OK, but each category downloads the same pdf (of the printed booklet) – so you end up downloading the booklet many times. Is this a cheap equivalent of having a Deptford X App on your mobile – saving you lots of online time? That's a good idea, but if you're viewing the website any other way (er...on your computer), you could be cringing when you read that Deptford X is "London's FOREMOST Contemporary Arts Festival". That is obviously SO not true. SOUTH LONDON's foremost might be...More on the QT than the QR.
Events-wise, there appear to be things going on during the days, but they're not listed to easily find. As for evening Openings aka Private Views (aka the only real public viewing some exhibitions get), whilst it is actually possible to get round every gallery and venue in one evening in three hours (I tried it last year but don't remember anything and didn't they have some bicycle taxi thing?) it strikes me that the organisers could've done some organising and requested that all the different venues open a different night in turn throughout the ten days of the festival – or at least an alternative Friday/Saturday/Sunday over the two weekends. Then festival goers would have an event to look forward to every evening at one or two venues instead of ten or more on the same evening, and an opportunity to spend more time at those venues and not miss the action at all the others. It would at least give the artists involved the opportunity to get out and meet practitioners from other studios and venues instead of being stuck at their own premises entertaining non-existent visitors who are busy at another venue...and it would encourage venues to make their private views (aka public events) more interesting.
I recommend you download the map and programme and work out for yourselves how much you can see over the next two weekends, with apologies for not cherry picking. I know that lots of people have been working really hard to show you something you might like – there has got to be more than just the surface, and definitely something that works for you better than a QR code...See you there – or rather, HERE...!