[Written by Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood]
[Image Credit: Cuba photos 2018 by Effie Crompton; header and footer by Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood]
On a sunny Glaswegian morning before the dreaded exam season had begun, I met up with Effie Crompton, a third-year communication design student at GSA and fellow North Londoner. Although it was our first time meeting, I had been following her dreamy Instagram (@effiecrompton) for some time. Over coffee at Papercup we discussed the intentions behind her art, the importance of community, and her recent trip to Cuba. (more…)
Last week we ran some of our first workshops of the year including a wonderfully well-attended zine making workshop! To coincide with our Fresher Week mini-theme of ‘Tomorrow’ we collected pages together to create a zine on the theme and the result is absolutely fantastic!
This is just a taster of the kinds of workshops and events we’ll be running for the next year. Always with a goal to be inclusive, encourage collaboration and engage in creative pursuits, regardless of experience or ability!
Up until now, you’ve probably bought your beauty products – be it a hairbrush or foundation – from the Superdrug down the road or online. But as you might have already heard, technology has and is revolutionising everything from the workplace to how we interact with each other and that goes for the beauty industry too. There’s now magical mirrors, apps like dermatologists and more customization than ever before.
When we come across people at University, one of the frequently asked questions that crop up in conversation is “what are you studying? “. When I answer “History of Art” I’ve often received responses like “oh… right” or “must be an easy ride for you” – words which indicate that such a degree has little, if any, relevance.
All photography is, in some ways, a form of nostalgia: an image captured is a moment passed, not lost but forever retained in a visual form. And maybe it is this almost supernatural ability to capture a fleeting moment that has caused the international obsession with photography, spawning online sites such as Instagram and Tumblr. However, many have come to question the merit of modern day photography; can a picture taken with an iPhone really be considered a form of art? This, in addition to the ability to delete and modify these images until they are unrecognisable from the original ‘moment’ of capture, could be considered as detracting from photography’s romanticism. This romanticism being the ability to freeze time, to develop, print, and frame a fleeting instant on your wall. (more…)
This Valentine’s day saw an end to soppy dates and the tugging of jealous heartstrings when our two local clubbing bad boys, Philanthrobeats and Rubix, teamed up to put the ‘V’ back in ‘Valentine’. Supporting the worldwide movement V-Day on their 15th Anniversary, ‘1 Billion Rising’ aimed to raise voices and shake booties in protest that 1 in 5 women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.
The global activist movement aims to raise awareness and support women and girls around the world regardless of age, nationality, or religion, and for fifteen years has been doing just that. With most of the proceeds from V-Day events going to local projects and charities, often shelters and rape crisis centres.
It all began in 1994 when playwright and activist Eve Ensler wrote the groundbreaking piece ‘The Vagina Monologues’, a play based on interviews with women of different ages and nationalities dealing with what it means to be a female. The monologues range in scope from a girls’ first menstruation (‘When I Was Twelve, My Mother Slapped Me’), to the atrocities committed against women in Bosnian Rape Camps, entitled ‘My Vagina Was My Village’. V-Day was consequently established on Valentines Day 1998 when Eve and a group of New York women threw a single benefit; now there are over 5,800 V-Day events per year.
Needless to say one word is not shied away from in this cause, and it’s a word Philanthrobeats×Rubix took to heart, effectively turning the Subclub into a giant womb. Vaginas were everywhere, once down the stairs club-goers and philanthropists were welcomed at the ticket desk with a tunnel of vagina, pink, draping, alluring? There were vagina cupcakes and lollipops being sold by the bar, and over the bar itself an unforgettable painting by Sophie PP. The dance floor was plush and secluded, with a surprising amount of romance going on, and best of all- the ‘hidden alley’ behind the speakers was transformed into a beautiful funnel of love. Whatever names you have for the decorations, they certainly helped in making the night the success it was, with Subclub at capacity before doors closed.
Sonica, a festival of sonic arts showcasing both British and International artists, had its world premier in Glasgow this November. The festival was produced by a company called Cryptic, whose goal is to nurture and develop the Scottish visual arts. Their intentions came to fruition in this two-week festival. Showcasing a wide variety of work from international artists (including our very own Luke Fowler) Sonica presented a range of interesting shows: including their children’s program, presenting the darker side of ‘Ecstatic Art’, as well as putting on a generous amount of free exhibitions.
Sonica utilized a wide range of interesting spaces in Glasgow. This provided not only an artistic experience for the viewers but also an element of adventure, in which punters must discover the various locations of the shows. However, this may have been a touch too experimental at points- the “pop up festival hub” was a little too spontaneous and on another occasion, a miscommunication led to one of the exhibitions being cut short a day early without any warning. But, despite this, one must admire the artistic ingenuity of the organizers. The shows that were presented successfully, on location and on time, were triumphant.
Robin Foxe’s Laser show, for instance, was a particular hit. Upon viewing the show, there was a separate installation as you entered into the performance space which gave you a feel for what you were about to experience. The piece played on the idea of our modern day conception of fun: in the liquid, musical and visual sense. It was an arrangement of glasses catching the light as they rotated on a disk turntable. A simple idea but one which captivates the viewer and could engage you for hours, as the light cut through the glasses in speckled flecks. The performance space was not a seated floor plan, but just people standing in an open space. There was an unusual element to the show in the sense that there was more than one area which required your attention. I anticipated that I would be concentrating solely in the direction of the light source, but then would entirely miss the actual projection of the light onto the back wall. In between these two displays were the strong beams of green light cutting through the room to create a performance with three spheres of entertainment.
As GUM arrives early in the night of Daft Friday, it is safe to say that the Glasgow University Union looks pretty damn good. Apart from the beautifully dressed crowd, with girls in their cocktail dresses and ball gowns and boys in suits or kilts, the whole union has been covered in some, to say the least, impressive artwork.
Those who have been to Daft Friday in previous years may expect to enter a parallel universe stepping through the doors of the union. Last year, that universe involved elves, hobbits and a rather famous ring. This year, we step into a whole new galaxy – Star Wars.
GUM caught up with the creative team behind this years’ Daft Friday artwork to find out just how much blood, sweat and fun it takes to transform a university union into a different world for one night.
“It is important to pick a theme that students will recognise”, head painter James South tells me. “If somebody comes in and they see something they don’t know well, they won’t get that “wow”-factor that we’re after. Star Wars is such a big and dramatic thing that I think it’s right for this environment”.
James came back to Daft Friday after a gap of a few years. “I thought that the artwork wasn’t what it used to be, we weren’t delivering like we used to”, he says. “People were walking around without really caring, we needed to make people open their eyes and really go “wow”.”
Last year when it was Lord of the Rings that covered the walls, the same idea of recognition was behind it. The artwork needs to be easily recognisable and it needs to be dramatic. So far, every year has also been film themed, the team tells me.
Creating this multiple floor piece of art is, not so surprisingly, a lengthy process. James starts with collecting material and finding iconic moments from the chosen story. It is important to get the scenes right, he explains, as the story of the films is told as you walk up the floors of the building. It starts at the bottom and walking up the stairs, one can follow the story right to the final scenes at the top.
‘Men were deceivers ever’, sings the ethereal voice of Claire Wallis sucking the audience into the world of STAG’s stunning production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. This modern take on Shakespeare’s adored classic, directed by student Joshua Payne, takes the story of love, lies and deceit to new levels.
We are thrust into a land of criminals and con-men led by the infamous Donna Pedro and Leonato. Don Pedro’s change of sex is an interesting alteration by Payne, but works well in giving the language of the play a greater degree of sexual tension. The pair, together, equate to the mafia of the business world. With an aura of power and cunningness oozing from their presence, especially from actress Harriet Bolwell (Donna Pedro), they decide to take on more than just the money – It is cupid’s turn to be fleeced. Fraud and lies work for business, and the pair use the same devices to concoct a loving match between the striking Benedick and Beatrice. This match, based on a web of lies, surprisingly works out for the better. The love of fellow characters Claudio and Hero, however, a love based on truth and real feelings ends disastrously with devastating humiliation for bride Hero, and agony for both. Hero, played by Isabel Otter-Barry Ross, is the perfect sobbing bride, accused of an adulterous act she did not commit. Deceit has once again played its part, this time under the control of the sexual deviant Josephine Pedro, Donna Pedro’s villainous sister. It becomes clear that not only are lies used to the business world outside this gang culture, members are also untruthful to each other. Every relationship is poisoned by deceit.
Vanishing Point returned to the Tramway with a show reminiscent of ‘Interiors’, their last production. Separated from the stage by a panel of glass, the audience survey the action as if they were looking into a block of flats. Privy to no character dialogue whatsoever, we only hear sounds such as the television set, a hoover and a guitar being strummed. In the two flats we are allowed to see, the muted actors perform in mime. Above the main point of action, an old woman sits in a small room for the entire performance watching a television in the dark. Beneath her a young couple give a display of their life.
GUM checks out some of the plays at the 2011 edition of Arches Live. Read, enjoy and keep a look out for our next print issue for a story of a rather unusual theatre experience…
“Songs For A Stranger” by Nichola Scrutton
A soulless twenty minutes ended with half the audience standing unmoved and the other half covering their ears. When the applause came, it seemed more an appreciation of the vocal versatility the performers had just demonstrated, unrelated to the piece’s depth. The two females on the stage improvised to a soundtrack of multi-layered electronic music trying to create a song to reflect feeling like a stranger. The range of sounds they were able to make with their mouths and voices was remarkable, but it took a strong use of the imagination to escape the fact that all that faced us on the stage were two women making interpretive sounds and screams into two microphones. Had this piece been an improvised exploration of the theme in the rehearsal room, it would be hailed as brilliant. Had it been released on a CD it would have been labelled interesting and challenging. Yet as a performance it meant very little apart from sour ears.
As this year’s SRC’s Media Week draw’s to a close, it’s a good time to catch a few of the last events this Friday over at the John MacIntyre Building. Final day fun is in store from Recoat gallery’s insight into infiltrating the art scene at noon, followed by Spacewood/We Can Never Stop‘s poster design workshop from 1-2pm.
On a wintry weekend in mid-November, I headed down to Tramway to have my mind opened to a feast of new musical experiences. The Instal ‘10 festival was a three day weekend festival which aimed to show the radical side of music. Its tagline claims that Music is much more than music. The programme included performance artists, talks, experimental music and art installations from all over the world.
Glasgow-based thespian Adrian Howells has temporarily re-branded The Arches Restaurant until end November as his alter ego’s ‘Adrienne’s Bar and Grill’. This was an extension from Howel’s theatre performance as part of the IETM Biennal Plenary Glasgow voices Artistic Programme, which featured 3 day run of live show ‘An Audience with Adrienne‘, with frank conversation, friendly banter and parlour games, served up tea and sympathy in Adrienne’s living room.
Tuesday 21st September
I hopped along to Glasgow Doors Open day On Saturday 18th September as the city opened its often hush hush private buildings to the greater public, all for free. Armed with nothing but a camera and the natural voyeur in me, I had a peak at some beautiful Glaswegian gems; The Briggait, City Halls, The Glasgow Art Club… Have a wee gander at what I found.
In a year the Recoat Gallery has snowballed from its West End corner to become a hub for Scotland’s graffiti and ever blossoming street art scenes. Gum met with owners Amy and Ali to find out how these artists got to where they are and learn where they hope to go. (more…)