On June the 17th, ACCA Danst - a little dance film that ACCA put together during lockdown - was selected to be part of the Leeds Summer Group Show exhibition. Later on, our piece was one of six shortlisted works to win the cash prize that the exhibition was offering. The votes, awarded via a public vote, would decide the winner over the month of July.
Early yesterday morning - 31st of July - we made the decision to stop asking people to vote for us, which we realise is a massive u turn. At the beginning we were honoured to be selected for the exhibition, overwhelmed at being shortlisted and excited to be in with the chance to win the money. As we are a new company, doing pretty much everything unfunded so far, the idea of winning the money was the validation we thought we needed and our plan was to use the prize money for match funding for our next project.
However, we have increasingly felt that the competition wasn’t fair anymore, and we know that we are guilty of perpetuating this over the course of the month. We are not perfect, and want to admit our mistakes. We are not making art in order to make money. In fact ACCA is anti-capitalist (it’s even in our manifesto) and we want to hold our hands up and say we went about this all wrong.
Recently we’ve been talking a lot about why we make art in our new project - our ethics, values, aims and inspirations. Which also brings up big questions about what success is, and what success means to us? Sure, we would get bragging rights if we won, but we were thrilled to be selected in the first place, and over the course of the voting we've forgotten that being able to show our work to a new audience and through a new platform is wonderful and validation enough!
We should have allowed the art speak for itself, and encouraged viewers to enjoy the exhibition and vote for their favourites without asking people to repetitively vote for us. We want to apologise for trying to shout over our fellow shortlisters, you all deserve to be seen and heard.
We've communicated with the organisers that we feel that the voting system - permitting voters to keep clicking endlessly - wasn't the most appropriate to rate art, especially when there is an financial prize depending on it. For future editions we suggested a voting system that asks for registration and limits multiple votes per person, which would be more ethical when it comes to public voting.
Despite everything, we are still eternally grateful to the Leeds Summer Group Show team for giving us a platform to showcase our work - our audience reach has grown massively, so thank you for the opportunity and for your trust in us!
For everyone who voted for us - THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. You are stars and we cherish the support we've received, we hope you'll continue following our journey.
Charlotte Arnold and Anna Cabré-Verdiell