Katie Jo Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

Tag: art

SURGE, and they just don’t make them like they used to

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Great to see this work finally up in the Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh at the beginning of the month, after it’s been sitting about in my studio/in my brain for quite a while. Patriothall is a great exhibition space, very well hidden down an alley way in Stockbridge – the poshest place in Edinburgh, surely. SURGE, a group exhibition curated and organised by Upland, featured a really nice mixture of familiar and new works by 12 artists from across Dumfries and Galloway, and made a nice collection in the space. This has been my first exhibition in the central belt (!), but persuading new audiences into a space like this turns out to be trickier than it might have been. However, great to get the work out, framed and onto the wall somewhere, and spot the red dot tucked away underneath one!

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It’s always the favourites that go, and so it is this time too, but so glad it has gone to a good home (big thank you to Clare for the support!).

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My first experience also with a professional framer, and have to say how beautifully framed these look with thanks to Sam Cartman for sorting me out last minute and getting them finished perfectly.

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Also, thanks to Upland for all the organising and for selecting the work-in-progress. It’s interesting to continue to look, playfully at the art gallery situation as a potential site or location for artworks, even if I often feel a bit puzzled as to their purpose once there. Potentially as a stepping stone towards the more personal, domestic environment gives the artwork a lifespan and new location to relate to.

‘they just don’t make them like they used to’ arrived after a long period of learning how to lift floors during my studio renovations last year. The length of the nails, coupled with the beautiful, heavy floor boards made the task arduous and lengthy, as the floorboards were lifted, possibly for the first time in their 170 year life; and this sparked an importance of keeping traces of this lifting, moving and replacing, of acknowledging the makers and tradespeople who came before.

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Also, on the way back to the car, we spotted this excellent ghost sign, with layers of businesses and lettering on show. Super nice.

I’m on the hunt for gallery spaces for next year in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Newcastle or somewhere else out with D&G, that might be interested in a proposal for an exhibition featuring sculptures, film and photographs (possibly audio) as an installation exploring landscape and the documentation of one of my site specific pieces. If you’ve got any suggestions of places that might be interested or that I could approach, please give me a shout.

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Wave Decay heads for Sanctuary

This is really a work about listening.
It is about what you hear before, during and afterwards.

It is about the act of listening, and about experiencing through listening.
It is about how we understand environment, through our audible landscapes.

It is about switching on and tuning in, in order to switch off.

Come and explore with me. Wave Decay will re-emerge from an indecisive few months of false starts ad uncertainty in it’s new beauty as an experiment in the wilds of Galloway as part of Sanctuary Lab. The installation will run from 10am on Sunday morning, 24th September, all are welcome. Full details available here, hope to see you there!

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Excited to have new work showing in Edinburgh as part of Upland’s SURGE exhibition at the Patriothall Gallery next month. The exhibition launch evening is free and open to everyone, if you are about in Edinburgh town please come and see some new work from a selection of excellent D&G based artists.

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they just don’t make them like they used to

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Been feeling a little playful lately, and enjoying the luxury of my studio that is no longer a building site. Stitching and something that could only very loosely be described as embroidery, appears every so often in my work, and has done since my very first foundation art course way back whenever. I’m not exactly technically capable, but having helped out with The Stove’s Stitching Our Story project for the afternoon – Deirdre Nelson advised a useful approach to stitching handwriting.

During the rebuild of my studio, I’ve been gathering odd objects and ruminating on them throughout the more repetitive stages of renovation, so a series has started to form around the making of everyday objects.

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Floor board nails. Serious beasts to extract from the boards and beams they have presumably sat within since the buildings erection in 1840. I’ve been treasuring handfuls of them, as much for the effort involved in pulling them up in the first place. (Most of the floor remains fortunately untouched, but some sections did have to be lifted to make way for the large quantities of insulation I’ve carefully packed into every available space..)

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A small series of these works are now to appear as part of an Upland exhibition later in the year at the Patriothall gallery in Edinburgh! Full details of SURGE available here

Durational Time, and Place

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These have grown steadily from a rough idea, exploring genetic chromosome mapping, clockwork mechanisms, and tree rings. The outer ring, made up of 23 bands has grown visually from similar circular chromosome maps, abstracted back as one of a series of slow moving rings. The piece, to move in it’s own timeframe forms the first in a series of works focused on staying and waiting within a hospital environment.

 

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Thanks to Samuel at the Dumfries MakLab for helping me get started with these. I’m currently on the hunt for someone clever with mechanisms and kinetic artworks… if that’s you, drop me an email!

 

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Did you know yellow is a bad colour for those suffering from migranes? Neither did I. Apparently it’s a much more anxious colour than it’s sunny disposition might suggest..!

 

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I shouldn’t like these colours. But I really like these colours. These colours are in the process of being toned down appropriately. Turns out I like coloured vinyl more than I thought I would.

How can we influence the experience people have when in hospitals? Can works be stimulating and engaging but still remain sensitive to the needs of all hospital users? How can works engage with the fluctuating community of a hospital environment? What is the role of art in hospitals? How does creative environment interact with the medical one?

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To be able to locate ourselves within a wider sense of landscape, I’ve started to look at different scales and details of our surrounding environment when reflecting on the spaces where people will be spending long periods of time.

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A transparent vinyl landscape to cross the windows, letting in light and seeing through, bringing colour into the room during sunnier days.

Conversation has largely grown around about balance and challenge, finding an intersection of interest and placing a contesting object or artwork at the point of meeting and testing the possible responses. Hospital typography and signage, floor materials and the typical vinyl backed hospital furniture, mysteries of infection control and some violent cleaning products – the language of a hospital is a new one full of new approaches and conversations.

The authentic material – real materials of the earth, are rarely present in our hospitals, with the predominate choices being vinyl surfaces (floors, walls, some ceilings, most furniture), laminates and plastics, the sense of identity through tactile experience is pretty limited. This calls for a whole new set of approaches, as these materials are all invested in the easy-clean approach of a busy and constant working environment, and alternatives are eschewed in favour of more reliable constants.

Things are getting interesting.

 

Huge thanks to Dress for the Weather for the opportunity to work on this so far, and looking forward to the next stages!

Wave Decay Sonotorium

sound | art | light | space

18th – 21st August 2016

Follow the Annandale Way
Step lightly
Imagine the wild as fragile
Listen
Immerse yourself in the sound fog

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Wave Decay Sonotorium was a three day sound and sculptural installation created for Milkbank House, a now ruinous 19th century country house in rural Dumfries and Galloway. Working in collaboration with sound artist and energy healer Justin K Prim, the work was developed over the course of a year in response to the site and an exploration of sine wave tones.

Powered by a custom build multi-channel amplifier and speaker system, Wave Decay Sonotorium aimed to use sound to transform the space and shape the experience of exploration. A series of eight sculptural speakers, were installed throughout the ruined remains, shaping the sound and in turn re-shaping the environment around them.

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As viewers moved through the space, exploring nooks and crannies, the last moments of Milkbank as it is being reclaimed by the land, the sound of Wave Decay moved and altered with them, shaping the experience of place and changing our interpretation of space, if only temporarily.

The resonance coming through the sound horns, created and concieved by Justin, were pure sine wave tones. Tuned to harmonise perfectly with the natural resonant shape of the cochlea in the ear. The relationship between the eight notes uses an ancient tuning system, believed to be beneficial to the human mind and body.

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On Thursday evening, the only dinner for 50 years was hosted in Milkbank House inviting guests to spend an extended time with Wave Decay Sonotorium

Wave Decay Sonotorium was made possible with the kind support of DG Unlimited, Dumfries and Galloway Council, The Stove Network, The Holywood Trust, Robin Bell-Irving, Will, Ruth and Graeme Anderson, Robbie Coleman, Matt Baker, Mairi Singleton and the take down team family Wallace! Huge thank you’s are due to you all.

Full details of the project are available on our website, available here

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In Memoriam

Our relationship with ex-houses is an interesting one. Buildings and ruins, scattered across overgrown fields and forests, down forgotten cul-de-sacs, and behind tall fences in gloomy urban areas; the romantic in us all pines for the loss of a thing that we never knew.

The empty home inspires tales of loss and separation, of a neglect and abandonment of the old ways. It is a kick in the teeth to the old ways and we as a culture appear to mourn these forgotten states.

The lost living rooms, the last dinners, the encroaching wilderness that wraps our forgotten ruins up in a shroud, fills our eyes with a jewel-dusted mysticism, and the placing of concept, the reimagining of ‘home’ in true Grand Design’s style – of rescuing, and reviving, performing true and authentic restoration to these crumbling pasts – is heralded in the act of preservation and protection of our culture.

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The places that fall outwith the realms of saving; be they too big, too ugly, in the wrong place geographically, or simply not special enough to warrant any real attention are left to quietly disperse into the undergrowth. To be swallowed up, imperceptibly slowly but the steady but inevitable creep of the wild.
These are our dreaming spaces.
Free for projection, imagination and a certain freedom of exploration – of wandering, exploring and discovering first hand (as has been discovered first hand by so many before you), the true wonders of this individual place that exists only here, and only for now.

Throughout my practice explorations of home, of place made familiar, and emotionally nested from the world at large, and these ruins of homes, monuments to the very idea of home at all, have featured from time to time.

My first intimate and extensive exploration of a site was in 2010, a small and extremely unknown location whom, if you can take confidence with any of the older (perhaps oldest) members of our local village, will tell you was once called Hilltop House, and was last lived in in a time beyond living memory, just. The last living man who was known to live there as a boy was himself an elder of the village in the 1950’s.

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The first experiment at Hilltop House was one of lighting. Once unoccupied, these ruins return to darkness with the fading of the suns daily rhythms, so late one Thursday in early April, we sat vigil in the remains of Hilltop House and filled the place with light. With precious few walls or roof, the sounds of the evening are welcomed in to the forgotten ruin, and the sparks may fly unabated. The whole thing was shot in black and white analogue film camera, (potentially romantic overkill), and accompanied by at least one large bottle of wine.

Other experiments included refurnishing, (carrying the entire contents of my parents living room along a half mile track through the woods), of filming and then recreating offsite in full size cardboard replica (not worth the effort), of projecting new memories and new ghosts – forcing life back into the corpse-house. Littered along the pathway en route to the house were found strange collections, under one tree a households worth of glass recycling, under another kitchen tiles – mostly in pieces – and within the remains of the house itself, a tree girthed tightly by the iron cast door of a once-stove front.

The last farewell to Hilltop House was given, with full ceremony and celebration – and the company of friends and family, gathered for what we expected to be the last dinner in Hilltop House. The fire lit in the fireplace’s remains, (the chimney less drawing, as guiding the fire) the meal was laid across white tablecloths, glasses toasted and food shared. At the conclusion each guest carried their own chair home with them along the woodland path.

The work was not well received by my art college tutors (perhaps because they were not invited), and the project came to it’s own natural conclusion. Hilltop House lay silent again.

In 2016, a new opportunity arose to revisit some of these themes. Milkbank is a somewhat grander affair. Known locally with a certain amount of tenderness, the tragedy of Milkbank – of such a beautifully crafted building left to disrepair after such a short time as a residential location, of the death of the son McIlDowie during the construction, and the shortened life of the first Bell-Irving for whom Milkbank was constructed. It is a place of local knowledge, and it is accepted as part of the local landscape, although it is absent from the maps and guides of the area, and was technically demolished in the 1950’s. This has been my home-monument.

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To bring life back, even temporarily to these empty and drafty buildings, to invite exploration, and intimate gatherings places the history of our culture out of the museum cabinets and into every day conversation and discovery. Potential and possibility arise from unexpected corners.

Interpreting or interacting with these places is one of balance, seeking neither to over power or be over taken by their own stagnant attraction. Issues of scale, colour, object, shape and material became my obsession.

Light is powerful. It rules our interactions,, our comfort-levels, it directs us and shapes our movements. Next time we’d like more light.

By removing one sense, we must entirely re-draw our understanding of our environment. Adjust our step and reinterpret place. Reverberations create new space where previously there was none, hidden between the cracks of the physical present. Acoustics are a big learning curve. Our understanding of sound is complex and mysterious.

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Dinner is of much more importance than it might seem. The trivial and the everyday also creates space, for new conversations, exchange and discovery. I may have forgotten the salt (and the spoons), but the act of sharing invites us all to participate together. Dinner is a potentially powerful art process.

Niches

Hidden in plain sight.

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Dumfries’ smallest gallery is now on the high street, the Niches, has now been up and running for a few months showing a curated, rolling programme of individual works and installations from local artists.

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Thanks to the anonymous curators, two of my works feature in the gallery’s two spaces, Sound Out – a developmental work using found objects explores messages in bottles, and my old favourites, the TS Eliot inspired golf balls. The golf balls are cast glass, and the solar powered fairy lights hopefully give the work a little lift in the early evening.

‘And the wind shall say: “Here were a decent godless people
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls.”‘

The TS Eliot piece will be in place until the end of September, and Sound Out will stay until the end of October.

Take a closer look.

The location? The Midsteeple, tucked in what were previously cases for a barometer and thermometer. Anyone who can remember the cases having instruments in them, or knows any more about the Niches, I’d be interested to hear!

Sound.Horn.

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During early Spring 2014 – yikes – I spent an intense month at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. Taking time out of the everyday allowed for the pursuit of obsession. I started out without direction, walking daily and experiencing my new environment as a heightened, noticing light changes, wind movements, the bright, still winter sun shining almost warm in clear skies. My residency became a desire to create an instrument to observe or experience environment in a new way. For a variety of reasons, this plan ultimately failed. But the obsession stuck. I returned back to regular speed with a hand full of test pieces, new methods, and strands – as yet unconnected.

My favourite objects were the horns. The amplification of sound – whether projected out, or listened through, was slight, and distorted, but allowed for a new listening to space. Potential. Each placing of the horns was somehow unsatisfactory, so they have sat as talking pieces to be moved around regularly, to become part of the furniture.

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Sound Horn.

Some things just take time. The residency’s work continues, and the place for horns is almost here.

Sound vessels

wave decay

contain
decay
disrupt
escape

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http://www.wavedecay.com

Wave Decay

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Site Specificity.

Step outwards and pause, listen.

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Sound. Wave | Decay.

The announcement of a new collaborative project with Justin K Prim, exploring a favourite, secretive spot in Annandale. Walk out into the world, neither rose tinted nor of true reality. Tune in to space.

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Keep your ears pricked. Approach with caution. It’s wild out there.

18th and 19th of August 2016. Annandale. Details to be announced soon.

With thanks to DGUnlimited and The Stove Network.