Posts Tagged 'experimental music'

Funeral Procession for the Death of Public Services Manchester Mule Article

After my talk at the funeral, I was interviewed by Manchester Mule (click for the full article). This is an exerpt:

Louise Woodcock, a local artist speaking at the event, said to MULE that the cuts show that the government “doesn’t value art, and are just focusing on things that make money, rather than things that might be meaningful and valuable in other ways.

“We need more meaningful activities and more meaningful forms of communication to make sense of the world, especially when things are difficult – art is how we do that, so at a time like this it’s an essential thing to have in our lives.”

Rosanne Robertson, organiser of the Manchester Artists Bonfire, said the purpose of the event had been partly to bring together artists and other groups of people fighting against the cuts, saying that their concerns “all tie into the same thing: we’re not happy with the way things are and we need an orchestrated response.”

My talk focused on broad ideas about funding for the arts. I discussed the Coalition proposition that we are to accept that the arts should be one of the first things to be cut and that we all have to tighten our belts in this time of recession. I discussed the fact that we are being asked to believe that it’s our responsibility, the people on the street, to make sacrifices to help the ruined economy, not the people who caused the damage. I discussed how the Roosevelt government during the Great Depression in the US during the 1930’s poured money into the arts and other public services. I talked about how the American art establishment and economy is still reaping the benefits of movements like Abstract Expressionism which could not have thrived without early support from the ‘New Deal‘ strategy. I discussed the fact that Orson Welles Macbeth, featuring black actors in lead roles from Harlem would not have happened. I discussed the need for art in our lives especially at a time when we have little resources and feel an urgent need to communicate and to express ourselves, to make sense of the world.

Rosanne Robertson’s talk focused more on the local issues around the cuts especially to the Greenroom and the Castlefield Gallery who are both about to lose all their arts council funding. Rosanne also discussed the need we have for art in a broad sense as well as locally.

Womb performed after Rosanne and I spoke. We used Indian Singing Bowls, used the coffins as percussion and wailed. This was Rosannes first performance with us. Rosanne played the stylaphone. The mood felt sombre but celebratory. There was a definite feeling of positivity, of not of giving up. Someone joined in on a trumpet playing the Funeral March and people clapped along with us.

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Mute. Performance Saturday 2nd October.

Mute is part of the Free for Arts Festival which is being held in a number of locations around central Manchester.

I’ll be performing in collaboration with Jennifer again with our plaster balls. The event will start at 8pm in Soup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Also performing are Gary Fisher, Edwyn Butler, Nicholas Donovan and Daniel Watson.

Bury ‘Wakes’ Performance with Jennifer McDonald

The highlight was when this guy started joining in at the end…

The performance clip is around 6 minutes in. A 10 minute video will be uploaded soon.

It was a novel experience performing on a Saturday afternoon in a grand and echoey Victorian art gallery… A bit of a difference to our last performance in a room above a boozy cafe on a Thursday evening.

The layout of the event was like a market with stalls along both sides and artists groups plying their wares. Some were present, some just appearing on small lonely screens on big wooden tables. The cold light of day and the fluidity of people coming in and out and walking around the huge space meant we didn’t feel like we had an audience in the same way as at Fuel. It felt looser. We decided to take our time and play for around half an hour, which we did.

It’s an odd experience performing improvised music/sound as your concept of time changes vastly. It almost feels strained to take your time. You feel you want to throw yourself into it. You do want this to happen, but if it happens too quickly, you don’t explore the sounds enough. You have to have some restraint to get the most out of your playing. I think the Victorian vibe helped keep the wolf from the door. This is sometimes not as enjoyable as just going ‘mental’ but the recordings always prove it pays off. I don’t care too much about the audience as you’ll never please everyone, especially if you try to, but you want to do your best and get the most out of the performance when you do it. That is also for the audiences benefit. I suppose if you please yourself, you can’t not please some. Performance is about playing for me. Art making is about playing. It was great at the end of the performance we got a young chap joining in smashing the bits up and really getting into it. We thought we might have really annoyed the staff at Bury but they were really good about it.

Magnus Quaife made a video that shows a gathering of sorts, although I didn’t really notice much at the time. The video is really well shot and I really want to get it on youtube but I’m a little inept at video technology. I’ll get it done soon.

Performance at Bury Art Gallery Saturday 4th September

I’m performing with Jennifer McDonald again using plaster spheres at Bury Art Gallery for When Artists Take Over:

For the first time in Bury Art Gallery’s history, the largest exhibition space
is being completely handed over to practicing local and international
contemporary artists for short experimental residencies. Installations will
showcase works by Magnus Quaife, Sarah Sanders and Irene Barberis. These
exhibitions and interventions are of short duration and unpredictable, so please
ring the Gallery on 0161 253 5878 to check timings and availability.

The event is on from 12-4pm. We’re performing between 1 and 2.

Performance with Jennifer McDonald – Counting Backwards

Here’s part of a lovely review from the Other Room:

The evening began with Jennifer McDonald and Louise Woodcock. Aside from their performance, which I will talk about in a moment, they were visually brilliant, wearing identically cut dresses, Louise’s blue, Jennifer’s green. Side by side, they looked like panels from a Mondrian painting or a technicolour version of the twins from The Shining. Their performance was centred on two large, white semi-ovoid structures, one held by each woman. These were beautiful objects, like the hatched eggs of the roc, the giant bird from the tales of Marco Polo and Sinbad. These structures were brushed with fingers, scraped with what looked like a bone, drawn on with pencil in a way which suggested automatic or spirit writing and otherwise manipulated until, in a Gustav Metzger style peak of frenzy, they were shattered. The sounds were remarkable, suggesting themselves, shifting, mutating and layering and drifting away before they could be fully identified. I heard the creaking of haunted timbers, the wailing of a Poltergeist, primal simian howls. The fragments were then allowed to fall and this too was beautiful: the tinkle of glass, the slip of skree. The structures were then partially re-assembled with masking tape, held to microphones to create feedback and destroyed again. At the end of the performance, as the two women stood amongst the fragments, the loft-like upstairs space of Fuel became a Francesca Woodman photograph. Then they swept up.

Click for the rest.

Counting Backwards – Performance with Jennifer Mcdonald

I’ll be performing with Jennifer McDonald at the second instalment of sound poetry event Counting Backwards at Fuel, Withington on Thursday 5th August organised by Matt Dalby and Gary Fisher. This will be the first time Jennifer and I have performed together. We will be using made and found objects to create live sounds with a strong visual element. We will be using plaster casts of simple forms to manipulate to make a variety of sounds. Sessions have been exciting so far…

Rare Experiments

I am starting a collective artists project with Graham Dunning and Jennifer McDonald called Rare Experiments. We intend to generate interest in our workshops for other artists in the community, and curatorial projects such as residencies, exhibitions and events.

I’m currently co-coordinating four community workshops as part of Shine Month in Tameside with young people in housing projects. I’m running two in photography, how to get a great photo from a simple digital camera, and two in sculpture using plaster and found objects. I’m holding the workshops at Nacro in Hyde next week. I have arranged an exhibition at Central Art Gallery, Ashton in early August.


Louise Woodcock

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