In Conversation with Effie Crompton

[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.

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TOMORROW: Zine Making Workshop

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!

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Say Hello to Tech-Beauty

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.

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In defence of the Arts!

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. 

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Flash Forward

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.

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A Brief History of Kissing

Artwork featuring kissing couples is almost endless – whether in fan art or Renaissance frescos, manifesta-tions of love are present. Art history is filled with this subject matter and often the background stories of the paintings can be even more enticing than the scenes they display.

William Dyce, Francesca da Rimini, 1837
The painting depicts lovers Francesca and Paolo from Dante’s epic poem, The Inferno, sharing an innocently tender moment in the moonlight. In the poem, Francesca is to be married off to the old and deformed Gianciotto, but she falls in love with his younger brother, Paolo. The picture includes some ominous elements to suggest the tragic fate of the lovers – for example, Gianciotto’s disembodied hand is still included in the edge of the canvas, although the figure himself has been trimmed off due to damage to the canvas. The kiss, in all its gentleness, cannot fend off the sinister atmosphere of the painting, which reflects the doomed love of the unfortunate couple.



Francesco Hayez, The Kiss, 1859

The medieval setting and the passionate embrace of the figures in Francesco Hayez’s painting evoke the feeling of that epic, grand love familiar to us from fairytales. There are certain things in the painting that sug-gest the scene to be a farewell – like the man wearing his hat; a foot already on the stair; and his lover gripping onto his shoulder, unwilling to let go. These elements add to the picture a slightly wistful atmosphere – yet at the same time they also enhance the depiction of a great, tragic love.



Jean-Leon Gerome, Pygmalion and Galatea, 1890
This painting draws its inspiration from the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. According to the story, Pygmalion, the king of Cyprus, sculpted in his studio the perfect female figure and fell in love with her. His lovesickness for the sculpted woman was pitied by Aphrodite, who turned the ideal figure, Galatea, into a living being and presided over their marriage. The kiss is a representation of the desire to attain what seems to be bitter-sweetly beyond reach, and it can also be seen to convey the message of the irrationality and uncontrollable nature of love.



Marc Chagall, The Birthday, 1915
In this painting, the artist pictures himself giving a kiss to his wife on her birthday. The figures are free from the constraints of gravity, and the way Chagall turns to his wife to kiss her, his body twisted to the other direction and floating mid-air, conveys a feeling of surprise and spontaneity. The modernist streak in the style serves to emphasize the sentiment further and the experimental visual language translates to the playfulness of the portrayed scene.



Rene Magritte, The Lovers, 1928
One of Rene Magritte’s most iconic works, this picture portrays two lovers kissing, with their faces covered. The shrouded faces have been interpreted in a multitude of ways in art history — the cloth can be seen as a barrier forever separating the lovers and rendering their intimacy to isolation, or it can be read as a symbolic description of the distance that always exists between people. The shrouding of the figures’ faces certainly has an effect on the mood of the image. It is a mysterious, slightly sad and even a little terrifying depiction of what is usually thought to be the ultimate act of romance.




By Emmi Joensuu

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Art Screen from the BBC

GUM Art Screen


ART SCREEN – Celebrating Arts Documentaries


The BBC is proud to announce the details for a brand new arts documentary festival – Art Screen.  Taking place as part of the Glasgow International Festival, Art Screen will showcase some of the world’s best arts documentary films and include highlights from the BBC archive.


Accessibility for students is a central to the aims of the festival, and full-time students will be able to access substantial discounts on ticket prices, as well as several free events.


The diverse four-day festival will take place in two of Glasgow’s renowned art spaces, the Glasgow Film Theatre and the Centre for Contemporary Arts from the 10th-13th April 2014. The programme will include screenings of documentaries on visual arts, architecture, music and photography alongside accompanying events and discussions featuring major international artists, filmmakers, and critics. Kirsty Wark and Tim Marlow will chair interviews and participate in panel discussions offering conversational sessions across the festival.


Art Screen will also include Arts in the Archive, a strand dedicated to the many hours of extraordinary arts footage in the BBC’s own archive. Arts in the Archive, screening at the CCA, will provide access to many hours of rarely seen footage, from throughout the BBC’s history.


Highlights of the festival include two world premieres which will be screening in the GFTOur Glasgow and Facing up to Mackintosh.


More details about the festival, including the programme, can be found on Art Screen’s website

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Review -Sarah Lucas at Tramway

GUM lucas


Sex, Death, and Sarah Lucas:
a short review of an exhibition’s preview.


Among the words most commonly used to describe Sarah Lucas’s practice is, probably, ‘shock’. Indeed, on attending the opening of the artist’s retrospective at the Tramway last week, shock was my initial reaction too – the problem is, I wasn’t really shocked for the expected reasons.

Lucas (b. 1962) is an artist who, emerging as one of the key figures of the Young British Artists group, gained significance in the 1990s and is now well known for critiquing many of the stereotypes around gender and sexuality through her provocative representations of the body. Yet, surrounded as my friends and I were by phallic representations, I did not once think of sex, of “masculine clichés,” or of the issue of cultural stereotyping. What was it then that shocked me? It was precisely the inability to be shocked, my very lack of feeling.


One way to explain this response would be to acknowledge that we are today experiencing a cultural moment very different from that of Lucas’s emergence, so sexual images cannot be as shocking. However, it seems to me that to argue this would be to enter the limitless conversation on whether problems such as sexism are indeed now resolved, of whether women and men are now treated as equals, and the list goes on. What is more, it was not that those who attended the opening (including myself) did not appear touched by the artist’s themes that I thought was problematic, but that we were actually enjoying ourselves. In light of this, Lucas’s gigantic masturbating hand (the first thing to catch your eye as you enter the gallery), endlessly moving up and down as it was, appeared to me to speak not about sex or masculinity, but of the situation of contemporary art; rather than a comment on wanking, it struck me as itself an artwank.


As Robert Heinlein noted in his Stranger in a Strange Land, more like love than like masturbation, art is an experience which prescribes two positions, the artist and the perceiver, and it is through the communication of the two that artworks have a life. In much of today’s art-viewing, however, engaging is of secondary importance; simply by being close to the art of some “known” artist, us visitors get to feel significant, complicated, intellectual – and nowhere is this self-pleasuring more apparent, than when a group of ‘artsy’ people stand drinking wine next to Lucas’s very blunt and very mastrurbating hand. So, although one could say that I am, here, focusing on the ‘sex’ part of the exhibition – for there was also a ‘death’ part, the two themes being separated by a diagonal wall in the middle of the gallery space – the way I see it, the two are not in juxtaposition. In point of fact, take away the pleasure and masturbation becomes all about death; it is no longer (pro)creative, it hints at nothingness.


To conclude, what I am trying to say is not that Lucas’s art is not about what it depicts but rather that, in her cynical approach, the artist can be seen at Tramway to also speak of the art world’s own exhaustion, and of its inability to give back what it takes from art.


Sarah Lucas’ retrospective is running at Tramway until 16 March 2014

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Event – Stand Tall, Get Snapped



Stand Tall, Get Snapped


In Association with the University of Glasgow and the Virginia Gallery, the SRC has helped produce Stand Tall, Get Snapped, a photo-documentary about living with HIV. The photos, the work of London based Edo Zola, are currently on display in the atrium of the Wolfson Medical Building:


The GUSRC, in association with the Virginia Gallery and the University of Glasgow, produce Stand Tall, Get Snapped by Edo Zollo.
A photo-documentary of 30 people living with HIV, it intends to challenge preconceptions of the disease.
It is as much thought provoking and touching as it is inspiring and uplifting.
Hosted in the Atrium of the Wolfson Medical Building until December 3rd
Produced by Liam King
Curated by Drew Bigglestone
Artist Edo Zollo
Supported by the University of Glasgow

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Art: Mark Lyken: Silent Auction


Mark Lyken is a visual and sound artist based in Glasgow and the current online silent auction of his work allows you to explore his original artworks at your fingertips. Lyken’s paintings take a playful look at time and scale seeming scientific through their geometric elements but highly emotive through the charged use of colour. The acrylic, spray paint and ink pieces create anticipation for his new collaborative project with documentary filmmaker Emma Dove, MIRROR LANDS.


As part of Creative Scotland’s, Imagining Natural Scotland Project, MIRROR LANDS is set to connect nature and culture, challenging ideas of life in the Scottish Highlands. The project will take place around the Cromarty Firth and will use film and multi-channel sound installation, creating a narrative between technology and this seemingly isolated environment. All proceeds of Lyken’s artwork will go toward the post-production costs of the installation.

Auction is live until 9pm Monday


–Robyn Limond

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Unlock Art: Bringing Performance Art to Life


Scottish actors Alan Cumming and Peter Capaldi have confirmed they are to take part in a new series of online art films which aims to unlock big ideas that have shaped art history.


‘Unlock Art’ is a collaboration between Tate and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, and offers the culturally curious a stimulating, imaginative and witty introduction to the world of art.


In Unlock Art: Bringing performance art to life – the first film in the series writer, comedian, actor and art enthusiast Frank Skinner explores Performance Art and its origins; from DADA and Surrealism through to Yoko Ono and Joseph Beuys. The film also explores how Performance Art has helped to challenge oppressive regimes, and how it makes us question the way we perceive the world around us.


This is the first of eight films which will be released on a monthly basis. Viewers will be taken on an engaging journey through various art movements and themes, from the history of the nude and humour in art, to Surrealism and Pop – offering the need-to-know facts, and making the arts more accessible to a wider audience.


Unlock Art is part of Le Méridien’s ongoing commitment to provide a new perspective on the hotel experience through a curated approach to culture. Its support of the Outset/Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection, which is in its sixth consecutive year, enables Tate to buy work by emerging artists at Frieze

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Review: Metamorphosis, Edinburgh International Festival

Having stunned audiences at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival with a one man performance of King Lear maverick dramatist Wu Hsing-kuo and the Contemporary Legend Theatre returned to the capital this month to perform Franz Kafka’s iconic novella Metamorphosis.  Gregor Samsa the travelling salesman awakens one day in horror as a giant insect and struggles to cope with his feelings of alienation from the rest of the world.


As with his portrayal of Lear, writer-actor-director Wu dresses the stage with his own blood, the sheer endurance displayed by the 60 year old during his extremely physical performance belies his deep commitment as an artist and his obsession with the author.


Crossing boundaries in all respects; the inclusion of multimedia elements pushes the limits of theatre, while the cross cultural exchange between the 20th century European text and Oriental spirituality alleviates and resolves much of the futility and hopelessness the original narrative evokes. Scripted entirely in Mandarin Wu’s haunting singing is accompanied by translated English subtitles. The simplicity of the spiritual aphorisms of the Mandarin script juxaposed with the complex physicality of Wu’s performance embodies the concept of Saṃsāra, cyclical existence caused by selfishness and the traps of modernity. Only by coming to terms with the absurdity of reality can Gregor escape. As Kafka says “There are only two choices in life. Be yourself or put up with reality.”


Kafka’s monstrous carnation of the beastly insect-man represents a conceptual portrait of Western psychodrama. His flickering antennae and scuttling legs are the Frankenstein collage of the 20th century crisis of consciousness, yet Wu’s finds redemption. After waking up cocooned in insect costume convulsing at the thought of himself he emerges enlightened in stripped, white form as his emancipated soul soars over the mountain, exiting the cycle in the mouth of a bird. The transformation is clear on stage, however the narrative seems to lack any outstanding climatic point until the drawn out ending of the performance.


The man-insect lives in woeful solitude in the confines of his bedroom while his hateful father and wailing mother and sister intermittently interrupt his melancholy self-searching by rapping loudly on the ominous door center stage. Repulsive to those around him, Gregor’s existence becomes that of a pariah. The stage focuses on the looming ice mountain where Wu writhes and squirms in his new arthropodic body as the astonishing visuals by Ethan Wang drape the deconstructed set with pulsating Rorschach blotches, falling Surrealist apples and a superimposed Kafka. The awesome visual beauty projection of visuals onto the set while Wu dances compellingly in Peking Opera style alongside a haunting  score lulls the viewer into a psychotomimetic trance.


The production is 100 minutes long without interlude, the audience feels the crushing weight of Gregor’s condition on their own shoulders and so his eventual death comes as a relief, ending both his struggle against the futility of human existence and the viewer’s own desire for the final curtain to fall. While indeed the production does pose a challenge, Wu’s creation is undoubtedly mesmerising and contains a welcome element of hope and the chance of peace, something Kafka’s original text withholds.


-Hailey Maxwell




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Secret Garden Party

This year’s Secret Garden Party saw the multi-media event taking over Mill Hill Field near Huntingdon for the tenth time since it’s launch in 2004, with a wealth of eye-boggling, mind expanding, gravity-defying stages and art installations spread across idyllic country fields. Despite its status as one of Britain’s must-go summer music festivals, music has always been secondary to the ethos of SGP with it’s wonderful mixture of family orientated entertainment, old-school yoga and meditation tents, and pure Dionysian hedonism.

The location of this annual fling is a highlight, with several installations remaining on the grounds of Abbots Ripton for the duration of the year. One such example is the 25 foot straw fox, dubbed The Urban Fox and standing since 2012, this year it was decked out in a native American headdress and feathers, bushy tail curving around the small mounds and hills that characterise the area. The Pirate Technics, a group of artists and engineers from across the UK, were responsible not only for our urban fox but also the ‘Middle of the Lake’ installation in SGP, which this year featured a wonderfully crafted ship being pulled under the placid glass surface of the lake by a giant kraken. The beauty of the Secret Garden Party is its ability to completely transport the individual, just an hour away from the busy metropolis of London the flags and lanterns of the festival are a sight for sore eyes, made all the more beautiful by the knowledge that after four short days- it will all be over. Such is the symbolic power of the lake installation, which on Saturday night was burned down amid a half-hour musically coordinated fireworks display. After bursting into flames amongst a cacophony of lights, colours, and classical music, the smoldering wreckage of the ship had many hundreds of festival-goers transfixed for long after the display finished.

The wealth of art installations at the Secret Garden Party are designed to be interactive, commissioned by Secret Arts and funded by grants via Secret Productions, it is an excellent platform for both emerging and established artists. ‘Lûz’ by London based Les Méchants was more blinding than eye-catching, a giant silver triangle standing tall and reflecting light back at anyone who dares look too long. The interest in this piece is that it is instantly transformed when entered, from outside the symbolic rectangle- lacking everything but the eye of providence- inside is a chasm of kaleidoscopic colour. Its mirrored interior reflects the geometric painted patterns making them appear infinite, a meditation on light and the subjective nature of sight, the colours of the installation change as you move around it revealing new geometric landscapes with every step. 

Another favorite was the subtle Roborigami installation next to a bridge where the serene lake gives way to a gently splashing waterfall, the collaboration between artist and robotic scientist Coco Sata and Ad Spiers gives way to something a little bizarre and melancholic with the angular red and yellow sculptures seeming strangely at home amongst the flora and fauna. Deeper into the wooded area of the festival you come across the Labyrinth, through surrealist doorways and into a winding wooded path marked by disorientating signs such as ‘exit this way ↑↓’. If you stop to look hard enough you can even find a fireplace to crawl through, leading you into a small clearing decked out with lights and comfy sofas, a perfect place of refuge in the center of delightful confusion.

The contrast between the man made and the natural at the Secret Garden Party has always been a point of fascination, taking a naturally stunning location and molding it into a massive production which caters to thousands of people, while still retaining it’s ethereal beauty, is no easy feat. ‘The Temple’ by An-Architecture managed to do just this, combining natural materials with the landscape to create a functional platform for revelers to swim, walk, and climb to. Located in the middle of a small lake it rises like a natural refuge from the water, with its angular architecture creating new frames of reference to view the landscape from every new position. Just like the festival itself, this piece combines art and architecture, organic and synthetic, and is never experienced the same way twice.

Continuing on the thematic dualism between city/country, organic/synthetic is a piece by Tetsuro Nagata and Guy Woodhouse dubbed ‘Twilight Tweets’. Located in the Labyrinth these mechanized owl sculptures hang in groups high on the tree-trunks, seemingly dead during the day, at night they begin to transform and interact with passers by and with each other, moving like liberated cuckoos from a cuckoo clock and emitting a glowing blue light. If this is a subtle reference to social media these captivating sculptures unfurl their wings during the night onto which short films of the day’s revelry are projected, connecting hundreds of strangers who walk through the area to each other via a disorientating and beautiful array of looped videos.

If birds are your thing, then one sculpture shocked and delighted me. Standing inanely on a hill overlooking the main field a giant yellow sculpture of a character strangely reminiscent of The Muppet’s own Big Bird, who observes the scene through bleary eyes. Dubbed ‘Lucky Shit’ this strange concoction of humor, childhood memory, and wacky surrealism is so interactive that it poops yellow goo at an undisclosed moment in the festival, dousing whoever is underneath. Thought up by collective Hungry Castle, the towering sculpture plays on this year’s Superstition theme by giving a certain Gardener a lucky bird shit to remember.

The transformative quality of the Secret Garden Party is something to experience, from the first couple of days drenched in sunlight with people wandering around in absurd fancy dress, to the rain soaked Saturday night, things can change in an instant. After emerging from my tent in the North camp where I had sheltered from the rain, looking over to the main site I could see hoards of black silhouetted figures loping nimbly against green and blue back-lit trees, with lasers bursting from the stages onto the rain falling from the clouds. It seems that at SGP, everything can be turned into art.

-Alexandra Embiricos

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Glasgow Vintage Festival 27th-28th July

Soul Casino will be in full swing on Saturday 27th

This weekend time will be rewound. As part of the Merchant City Festival  Wayne & Geraldine Hemingway are bringing  their Vintage festival to Glasgow with a program celebrating and emulating the cream of British 20th century popular culture.

Filled with a series of daily classes, pop-up shops and special one off events including the Vintage Charleston Brunch, visitors can explore fashion, art, beauty, food and dance of eras bygone. While many vintage and retro events struggle to rise beyond  half-hearted nostalgia for twee  tea dresses and scooters, the Vintage festival has an excellent record of creating an authentic, exciting experience for visitors of any age.

The festival is also offering a series of vintage themed club nights including Soul Casino on Saturday night, transforming the Old Fruitmarket into a celebration of 70s soul and 80s disco from 8pm-1am.

Book tickets and find out more here.



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V-Day @ Subclub 14/2/13

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.

285638_10151279710147984_1810368038_nThe 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.

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Review: Sonica
Robin Fox, photo by Lasse Marhaug

Review: Sonica

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.

Robin Fox, photo by Lasse Marhaug

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.

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Daft Friday Interview/Review 16.12.11

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.

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Review: Much Ado About Nothing – “Men were deceivers ever.”

‘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.


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Theatre Review: Vanishing Point – Saturday Night (Tramway Theatre)

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.

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Theatre Reviews for Arches Live

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.

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Instal ’10, 12-14 November 2010
Image by Jez Burrows

Instal ’10, 12-14 November 2010

Sara Winchester

INSTAL'10 identity: Image by Jez Burrows

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.

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Dinner, Drag and Desserts
Picture Credits: Arches PR

Dinner, Drag and Desserts

Photo Credit: Niall Walker

Photo Credit: Niall Walker

Yasmin Ali

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.

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PhotoSoc Adventures

Last Saturday, the GU Photo Society (did you know there’s a Photo Society? well… there is) went away to Clydebank and ascended the Titan Crane. Pictures were of course taken, and here are some of mine.

(at Partick railway station)

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GUM Opens Glasgow’s Doors…

Tuesday 21st September

Jessie Rodger

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.

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An art assistant’s diary

This time last year I sent an application for work experience to a contemporary art gallery. The gallery was the Georges Pompidou Centre of Contemporary Art, which is situated in the beautiful Lot valley in the south of France. Applying was a long shot; I didn’t think they would respond. But like magic, two hours and a reply later, my summer had been finalised. I had attained my dream internship. BY JESSIE RODGER

The Georges Pompidou Centre of Contemporary Art is an organisation created by the family and friends of Georges Pompidou in honour of the artistically supportive Prime Minister who had had a holiday home in the valley. Despite being less recognised than its counterpart (the similarly titled Parisian centre of contemporary art Centre Pompidou), with its spectacular location and unique plural gallery set up, it is certainly worthy of world fame. 

 June 2009 marked the start of preparation for the centre’s Contemporary Art Route that would be put in place across the valley for the summer. Entitled ‘World Watchers 3’ the exhibition would approach the ecological theme of ‘watching over’ our environment and world, and would be created by six international artists. I acted as a personal assistant to the invited artists during the preparation for this exhibition. I had the most amazing three months as an artist’s assistant and met some great people that I will never forget. Through this diary I hope to share some of that experience with you.


I first arrive in the Lot valley with my Dad and an exhausted Ford KA. We have just made the long haul from deepest darkest Wales to the sunny south of France. Art is far from the agenda as we set off to find some good local cuisine. We discover a rustic restaurant hidden away in Saint Cirq Lapopie, a village nestled on top of one of the dramatic limestone cliffs of the valley. This village will be my home for the next three months. After enjoying some of the local specialities we are involuntarily included in an in-depth chat with the out-going restaurateur. When I reveal that I’m going to be working 

at the Centre of Contemporary Art, opposite the restaurant, he looks at me with a shocked expression. ‘Theeere?’ he says ‘Oh. Good luck… They’re all off their heads over there’. 

Et voilà, the first words I hear of the gallery, it certainly hasn’t helped my nerves.

First encounter with a sea-mouse

On entering the artists’ residence for the first time the four other interns and I are greeted by a bizarre cry, ‘Sea-Mouse, Oh Sea-Mouse’. It’s the artist Marion Laval-Jeantet, one half of the duo Art Orienté Objet. She later explains that she couldn’t pronounce the name of the Irish artist Seamus Farrell, so has decided to call him Sea-Mouse instead. This memorable first meeting was to be a precursor of the quirkiness of things to come during our time with the gallery.

 The next artist to appear is Seamus Farrell himself, an artist who works principally with glass. He immediately launches into one of his famous monologues, mandatory beer in one hand, fag in the other. Seamus is known for his ability to turn his hand to anything in the art world but with his philosophical mind and expressive capacity it was our discussions that I most appreciated. 

 The other artists, though somewhere in the house, were hidden away most probably avoiding the awkward first day introductions. Either way their absence gave them an element of mystery that made the next morning a much more intriguing prospect.

A prickly début

Today we finally get to work with the artists! Laure (a fellow intern) and I are appointed as Gilles Bruni’s assistants for the next few days. I’m excited, Gilles is a landscape artist and he’s created some amazing pieces in the past. For this exhibition he plans to create a sculptural installation at the mouth of an abandoned railway tunnel. This work will represent a journey through the different forms of transport the region has relied upon, culminating in a real car plunging into the depths of the tunnel. However there is a catch.In order to transfer the car to its position we will have to clear 2 km of vegetation from the abandoned railway track behind the tunnel, in three days.Suddenly being Gilles Bruni’s assistant is less exciting than it was a few hours ago. Without the correct tools I am knee deep in brambles, bleeding from the countless scratches up my arms and the sun is beating down at thirty five degrees. Sir Giles, as we like to call him, wants the three of us to accomplish the impossible, and I don’t know if we can do it.

With a little help from our French friends 

 Returning to our task is even more daunting this morning, but the locals seem to have caught wind of what’s going on. An hour doesn’t pass on the railway track without a few residents from the neighbouring village coming along for a sneak peak at what we’re getting up to with their tunnel. Josette and Odette, sisters from the old signal house, get us through a good half hour of clearing with the village gossip. Later on I look up to the chateau on the cliffs above us and the eccentric owner we’d met earlier blows us a lofty kiss. The Mayor of the village and his wife even appear through the undergrowth as the day wears on to spur us on. These welcoming interludes give us the motivation to continue and somehow we manage to complete Gilles’ work of art. It was ambitious and could not have happened without the boost in morale the villagers brought us all.

Lost in translation

Today I start as Akira sunrise’s aide, which is a much more calming experience than the few days I spent with Gilles. Akira is a Japanese musician in residency with the art centre and is rather lost as he doesn’t speak a word of French. I will help him communicate by interpreting his English to the French musicians he meets. Today we’re going to an old rural wash house to jam with a local saxophonist. This might seem strange as a location, but Akira likes to work with water in a natural environment when he makes music so it is perfect for him. I only have to interpret a few words between the musicians then it’s down to the music and I’m present for a very special exchange surrounded by dragonflies, water and rolling French countryside.Akira has a concert this evening and he delights the audience with the unique sounds he makes from his self-made steel percussion instruments. I film every second on his camera, proud that in some way I am playing a role in his world.

The impossibly possible

Since 7 this morning we have been up in the trees trying to wrap up a whole beech wood in pink wedding dress material. The duo Art Orienté Objet wants to create a big environmental present. Instead of wrapping the trees we are damaging them and the project has to stop. This failure means a loss of €600 for the artists but despite being a little down they are hardly fazed. After all, every single one of their other wacky ideas for this exhibition has somehow worked out. With the help of the local knitting club they managed to knit the skin of a life-size polar bear to create their sculpture ‘la Peau de chagrin’. Furthermore just yesterday the tree they had transported all the way from Cameroon in Africa was installed successfully in the local church where it was decorated with bicycle wheels. Today, I’ve had first hand experience of the fantastical nature of contemporary art. These artists conceive the craziest ideas that everyday individuals couldn’t think to put into practice. When they succeed in realising them they create something truly exceptional. I think that’s the beauty of contemporary artists, and contemporary art today; through bright ideas the ordinarily impossible is made possible, or at least sometimes it is…

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