Escape Again 1/3 8218
I arrived at Allenheads Contemporary Arts to join a weekend community of artists brought together to consider and discuss the ‘Beyond’. Changing patterns of work have meant that this area of the North Pennines, that once employed thousands of people in the lead mining industry, now feels – if not quite the ‘back of beyond’ – then certainly some distance from the nearest towns. It is this remote setting and the dark skies that accompany it that has encouraged ACA and the local residents to establish a community observatory. This facility with its telescopes, planetarium and local astro-enthusiasts forms the focus for the open door residency. We gather together around warm stoves, amid clear skies, plummeting temperatures and the prospect of snow, to ponder on mythology, metallurgy, the unknown and the unknowable, time-space and the scientific method.
Staying in an unfamiliar place affords opportunities to explore geography, history and the local community, whilst meeting new people and becoming friends brings rewarding conversations and an appreciation of others’ attitudes, ideas and approaches to life. I brought my own interests in architectonic spaces, in surface mapping and the consideration of deep time and took away enthusiasms for meteoric iron, muon’s and the Orion nebula! It will take a little longer to notice the influence on the development of my work but I found the whole experience a rewarding one with plenty of chat, laughter and singing – and I won’t quickly forget the sight of Alan dancing to the B52s or Robert getting to grips with dowsing. Thanks all for a very enjoyable few days.
Photograph taken through the telescope at the North Pennines community observatory.
I was fortunate enough to be selected for the BEYOND open door residency programme organised by Alan Smith and Helen Ratcliffe at Allenheads Contemporary Arts in Northumberland. The project brings together a number of artists who are interested in exploring what might be suggested by ‘the beyond’ whilst exploiting the facilities of the community observatory situated behind the arts centre and in the ‘dark skies’ of the North Pennines. The introductory weekend included demonstrations, talks, discussions and short presentations. Most of the time, however, was spent chatting, laughing (eating & drinking) and discussing all manner of scientific, technical, pagan, mythical and wondrous interpretations of the astronomical. Special thanks to Alan and Helen for a lively and exhausting few days – I shall post a bit more on the manner in which these subjects will impact on my work when I’ve had time to think about it!
With the submission of the hard-bound thesis and the uploading of a pdf version, my period of research and day-to-day involvement with the University of Leeds has come to a close. It’s been an amazing journey of artistic and academic discovery. Thanks go to my supervisors: Simon Lewandowski and Gail Day for all their input and support over the last six years (since starting the MFA in 2011). I plan to take a break over Christmas before planning new and exciting projects for 2018.
These are also the first images of the publication from the Stories of Change archive detailing projects from the AHRC funded project. My exhibition de-,dis-,ex-. from last year ‘s collaboration with the Sheffield School of Architecture features in the book.
All Ears 010 – 16th Nov 2017
A special All Ears to tie in with my exhibition
Welcome to the All Ears Leeds special. We take a break in December and then return, back in Ilkley, in January.
All of this month’s music and visuals have been chosen by our five selectors in response to Tom Beesley’s Sifting Defunct Modernity exhibition which you can see in the next room.
Listings of all the tracks we play, and a Spotify playlist, will appear on our website and Facebook page in a few days’ time.
If you have friends in the York area they may want to check out our sister event: The Listeners Club – Twitter: @listenersyork, facebook.com/listenersclubyork/
8:30 Simon East
In a reference to Tom’s geodesic dome structures the visuals are a film about Buckminster Fuller’s Union Tank Car Dome. The music is a selection of tracks by English electronic duo Plaid (they also record as The Black Dog). The organic sound of the music and their avoidance of standard dance music time signatures struck me as a good pairing with Fuller’s domes and Tom’s sculpture.
9:00 Tom Beesley
A selection of six pieces of music to accompany five short films featuring iconic buildings or groups of buildings. The release date of each track is also a significant moment in the life of the building.
This is a link to the Music for Buildings half hour music and visuals MP4 on YouTube
9:30 Rachel Sedman
Catarina Barbieri is an Italian musician composing on analogue and digital synthesisers with a focus on minimalism. Her work explores themes of machine intelligence and perception in sound through approaching music practice as a cognitive feedback between humans and technology.
10:00 Gary Winters
“Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.” – Charles Baudelaire. I have chosen a suite of pieces ranging across the period broadly categorised in terms of modernity. These works were a radical challenge to the past; maybe they still are, even if there are indicators of a more palatable, known, popular culture.
10:30 John Gamble
My selections are played alongside the homemade films of people breaking into and exploring abandoned buildings. These explorers are drawn to these spaces, capturing them as they are precariously positioned on the edge of failure. The selected sound artists use the process of tape loops with Basinski repeatedly running tape over the head, and allowing it to deteriorate, leading to a beautiful collapse.
Looking forward to All Ears on Thursday!