Visaurihelix

 

Reimagining the Glasgow of Charles Rennie Mackintosh is the audio-visual installation Visaurihelix, showcasing in The Lighthouse, Glasgow, until 2 January 2019.

Visaurihelix Artist, Dr Louise Harris explained the exhibition title, saying: “It is a made up word, used to summarise the installation, its first part represents visuals, auri is related to sound and helix is related to the helical staircase of The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse had commissioned the piece, by sending out a brief for a work that would both fit its unique space and celebrate the 150-year legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Harris said:“I have been obsessed with Mackintosh design and architecture since I was a child, and I am also obsessed with spiral staircases, so it was a pretty perfect combination for me; so I applied to the brief, and there you go!”

Harris used her expertise in audio-visual art to compile soundscapes from Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings, before combining and presenting them in a new way. This included using speakers, on The Lighthouse staircase, to vertically play sound recorded from five Rennie Mackintosh sites.

Harris explained: “The majority of the pitched material in the work is mapped from those sites; I built algorithmic software patches that took the site designs and translated them to changes in pitch over time, and that made the electronic backbone of the work.”

She added: “The other audio material is sound that has been recorded in those five spaces and has been combined into the work.”

The work was then made interactive by entwining The Lighthouse staircase in a giant glockenspiel construction, the angles of which mimicked patterns of Charles Rennie Mackintosh design, allowing visitors to create their own sounds.

Harris said:“When I was working in the studio I had to make guesses as to how noises would sound when travelling vertically, not horizontally, so that was quite challenging, but it was a good challenge, it made me think more about how to work with multi-speaker formats in more detail.”

She added:“I was quite surprised how well the speakers worked together, but also how the glockenspiel element turned out.”

 

While Harris knew the exhibition space would be a challenging part of the project, an unexpected challenge arose when the Glasgow School of Art suffered a fire.

Harris said:“I was planning to record sounds from the Art School and include them as one of the building soundscapes in the installation; but the fire happened literally a couple of days before I was due to go in and collect the material, so it was quite poignant.”

Despite being unable to capture soundscapes from the Art School, Harris hopes that Visaurihelix will allow people to reflect on all of Rennie Mackintosh’s work.

She said: “I hope this exhibition’s visitors have enjoyed engaging with different Mackintosh spaces, from different places in the city, and so it acts as a tribute to the Art School as well.”

When first arrived in Glasgow, Harris couldn’t wait to see Mackintosh’s buildings up close.

She explained: “I am a relative new comer to Glasgow, I have only lived here for around four or five years, but the Lighthouse and the Mackintosh buildings and galleries were some of the first things that I explored when I got here.”

Harris moved to Glasgow to take up a position at Glasgow University.

She said: “When I got my job in Glasgow, my title was Lecturer in Sound and Audio Visual Practices, and that type of role was unheard of at the time, but these days it is much more common.

“The audio-visual art scene has changed hugely in the last 10 years or so, audio-visual work has become more prominent in festivals and galleries.”

Harris added:‘I think Glasgow’s audio-visual art scene will continue to develop in coming years. Festivals like Sonica are really good foregrounds for audio-visual art work, so I think Glasgow is quite ahead of the game in that sense.”

Despite this, Harris accepts that the definition of audio-visual art can still be confusing.

She said: “My audio-visual art is about creating pieces that engage your sonic and visual senses simultaneously, and give equal weight to both. If you think about a music video its is about marketing the sound, and if you think about a narrative film that is primarily about the visual; but audio-visual work is about the equality of the relationship between the two mediums.”

To explore Harris’ audio-visual art in other venues, you can see her exhibition, Alocas, in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, in Greenwich London, from November 2018 until January 2019.

Harris summarised: “Alocas involves a dual screen speaker and audio-visual work. The audience is situated in the middle of two large screens, so it is a very immersive, physical and participatory experience.”

Glasgow Goes Green

 

Glasgow Goes Green

 

Bringing sustainable living facts, fun and food is the pop up festival Glasgow Goes Green. Running 15 February in SWG3 from 5– 11pm, the event is part of UK Go Green Week.

Festival lead organiser Sarah Bacom explained: Go Green Week is the largest week of student climate action. Glasgow Goes Green comes as part of it, bringing together the city’s four universities in the common cause of environmentalism.”

Although student led the festival welcomes people from all walks of life, with daytime family activities and an 18+ after party.

Bacom said: “The festival will be running in two stages; from 5- 8pm it will be family friendly, with stalls, activities and acoustic music. Then from 9 – 11pm the stalls will close and a DJ from the IM Project will lead the party.”

The venue has disabled access and guests can book free tickets from Eventbite website.

We want the festival to show that environmentalism is accessible to everyone,” the organiser added.

This sentiment will ring throughout the day’s activities.

Bacom said: “The festival will have food, arts, crafts, lifestyle and biodiversity strands. Some people will have stalls and some will host workshops. The arts strands will see interactive sessions, such as live mural painting, where the crowd can come forward and feed into the artists’ work.

“There will be art displays that people can pass and admire, but most of the art will have an interactive element.”

Getting everyone involved is the aim of the game.

Bacom explained: “This year’s festival theme is ‘What does Green Mean to You’; so we are trying to engage with people who might not identify themselves as environmentalists and change their perspective.”

She added: “Environmentalism means different things to different people; some people think of gardening while others think of protesting. Some people are very passionate about human rights, but don’t associate this with environmentalism, however we are working to show that climate justice is social justice.”

With its food for thought the festival also brings food for sustenance.

Bacom promised: “There is going to be lots of vegan, as well as gluten free food. Some of the more unusual food will include honey from the Glasgow University Beekeeping Society. The beekeepers will even be hosting honey tasting sessions!”

Honey can also be found in some of the festival’s drinks, as it will include Plan Bee a company that flavours its beer with locally sourced nectar.

Bacom enthused: “There are so many eco-friendly start- ups, niche organisations and projects in Glasgow! This shows that Glaswegians have a real desire to make their city better and empower others too.” 

This desire was reflected in the strong turn out of last year’s Glasgow Goes Green festival, which boasted over 800 attendees.

This year’s festival looks to follow suit, with 2/3 of the tickets snapped up within the first few weeks of going live.

Bacom concluded: “Come and explore Glasgow Goes Green! We have something for everyone. You never know what you might do or who you might meet!”

The One Where We Wonder What Friends Did

Oliver Braid1

Autumn 2015 saw the abstract sculpture of Oliver Braid fill Wasps’ Hanson Studios. As Braid’s show, The One Where We Wonder What Friends Did, drew to a close he explained the inspiration behind it.

He said: “As a project this new sculpture was inspired by relationships in late 20th century culture; collaborative and curatorial practices across early 21st century culture; as well as distortion and medieval mereological thought.

He added: “As an object the sculpture was developed with two questions in mind; what is the use of artistic embroidery atop philosophical carpentry; and what is the relationship between use and not-use?”

Braid’s exhibition uses papier-mache, embroidery, architecture, optical illusions, and semiotic art; encompassed in sculpture. His work forms a hut, the outside of which is covered salmon coloured foam, and adorned with the bust of Margaret Beaufort.

On the side of the hut is a peep -hole, through which the viewer can see a reimagining of the Friend’s set for Monica’s apartment. It has a checked floor, purple wall, sculptures, and gold -framed impressions of other artists’ work.

Braid explained: “Inside the room you can take a closer look at the display of five objects, which I made based on existent artworks produced by friends of mine. Over the past fifteen years these friends have influenced my own thinking about art.”

 He continued: “When someone moves into this room space and walks across it they grow in size, and it becomes clear the space and the objects have been distorted to create an optical illusion.”

 The challenging of perspective is central to Braid’s work ethos; as he explained: “Throughout my work I wish to maintain a critical perspective on local and global contemporary art.”

He added: “By the time I am designing a work it’s sort of chosen itself, there doesn’t appear to be any other way to respond to the world at that time.”

Braid explained that he was first drawn to art at the age of thirteen, upon seeing the exhibition Sensation (in 1997). He then went on to study at the Falmouth College of Arts, before Glasgow School of Art.

Now an established artist, Braid lives in the Glasgow and works from Wasps Hanson Studios. He uses the studios to develop a cultural space he calls Phew.

He said: “The exhibition that I have at Wasps right now is also an off-site project for Phew’s first season Tell Me Less & Tell Me More, which explores practice of over-relating and withdrawing.”

Withdrawal from expectation is a method Braid uses to avoid cliché; as he explained he no longer courts exhibition opportunities or popular approval.

Braid briefed: “I’m bored of the arts trying to persuade people to come to something, it seems self-defeating all this begging. My vibe is like, I’m doing this thing that I am focused on and that I believe in and think is valuable.

“In an ideal world art will be allowed to become as hermetic as science, and also be given equal respect.” 

Looking to the future, Braid is developing the first season of Phew (running September 2015 until March 2016).

He will also bring a solo exhibition to Vane, Newcastle, in January 2016.

Introducing Editions

editions

An interview with Editions magazine founding editors

Bridging the gap between amateur and professional art is Editions; an online magazine founded by Glasgow School of Art students, who wanted a forum for new work.

Editions founder, Rachael Gallacher, said: “After leaving art school it became apparent I had not utilised the resources to the full extent I should have. Especially exhibitions.

“I was anxious about the act of putting my work out there and it cost me a full year of worry once I had left.

“Projects like Editions make the transition from art school to that unknown world of practice a little easier.”

Fellow founder, Gillian Carey, agrees.

“With Editions we want to translate exhibitions into an informal space and setup.”

The idea is that artists submit their work to the online magazine and join the shows and networking opportunities that follow.

Carey said: “We plan to put together the art shows fairly quickly and have the documentation through the website and magazine to give it a little more permanence.

“For some it could be the first exhibition out of the art school studios, for others it could just be trying out some new ideas. But the idea is to gather as many people’s work as possible and get them all talking on the nights.”

The first Digital Exhibition night was in 2013, at The Art School (union bar that was Capitol) it showcased a variety of work that was digitally recorded, such as photography, film, animation, sound, documentary, painting, drawing, and sculpture.

Gallacher, said: “The exhibition welcomed the unfinished – so it was an ideal opportunity for people to bounce ideas around and get a dialogue going with their peers.”

The ‘unfinished’ inspiration came from the girls’ visit to Brooklyn, where they discovered G E L A T O, monthly art displays thrown together in impromptu locations.

Carey said: “G E L A T O allows artists to digitally submit their work and contact details, have it shown and – if they can attend – go to the show and exchange ideas with like – minded folks.

“We thought: Glasgow needed something like that.”

Following the example of G E L A T O, Editions will show artists’ work through Youtube, before going one step further to publish it in the online magazine. This allows artists to add literary flourishes to their pieces.

Gallacher, said: “We are excited to see what this project can become. What can spin off the basic format of a digital exhibition. We don’t really have rules to play by, the possibilities are endless.

“If we can keep the premise of a free platform for all a constant it’s already a success in our minds.”