The Following Pack

Feature in Issue 24-1 | Spring 2012

Lionheart Project

One of the lower-key commissions, Lionheart Project is a travelling sculptural menagerie of three giant, prowling lions that will be driven in an illuminated glass case all over the East Midlands from May 2012, stopping off at various locations before heading down to the Natural History Museum in time for the Games. The project’s artist, Shauna Richardson, is chiefly known for her work as a ‘crochetdermist’, sculpting realistic life-size animals with crocheted fur, and this is the process she’ll once again employ for the Lionheart Project. The three lions, emblematic of those on Richard the Lionheart’s crest, have been sculpted from polystyrene resting on steel skeletons, and the frame will be overlaid with crotched coats hand-stitched using locally-sourced Peak District wool. Alongside the travelling exhibition, there’s a Guerilla Project encouraging impromptu textile installations (lamppost warmers and woolly rats and so on) and the project invites studio visits.

East Midlands | www.lionheartproject.com

Nowhereisland

Exploring the idea of the nation state and themes of environmental, civic and human responsibility, Alex Hartley’s Nowhereisland is an odd mix of conceptual artwork, education project and sociological experiment that began with the extraction of a quantity of earth and soil from an island in the High Arctic region of Svalbard. The territory was sailed south, out of the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Norway and into territorial waters where it was subsequently declared a new island nation – Nowhereisland. The Nowhereisland land will eventually lie at the heart of a floating structure that’ll be pulled by tugboat on a 500 mile trip around the south west coast of England, its journey tracked by an on-land embassy, but the project is already well underway. A Declaration of Nowhereisland drawn up by the team of researchers, scientists and thinkers who went on the original Arctic expedition allows anyone to become a citizen of Nowhereisland, and, once they’ve done so, to participate in collectively writing the nation’s Constitution (clauses are upvoted into a Top 10, which currently includes ‘Wherever we may consider building a wall, fence or barrier we should instead place a table’ and ‘Every Nowhereian has the right to imagine a different future’). Each week a resident thinker writes a letter to Nowhereisland and its citizens to explore the topics of citizenship and international cooperation with which the project grapples.

South West | www.nowhereisland.org

Column

Known for his ‘solid-light’ installations which cast planes of projected light to create the illusion of solid yet ethereal three-dimensional objects, visual artist Anthony McCall will be creating a new work, Column, for the North West commission – the simplest of the Artists Taking the Leads but also the project with potentially the widest audience. Column will be a high, thin, spinning tunnel of mist rising from Liverpool’s old dockyads, Wirral Waters, and disappearing into the sky. The artwork will be about twenty metres in diameter, visible from a distance of up to 100km, and responds to Liverpool’s estuary weather: on a clear day the column will be a clean, white, sinuous line; under rain it will be a barely discernible grey smudge, lost in places; and in strong winds the column will bend and veer. Column, which relies on the installation of underwater motors to catalyse the process that produces the mist, is due to be installed in the coming months and will be one of the countdown events for the London 2012 Festival.

North West | www.anthonymccall.com

Bus-Tops

A collaboration between the artistic directors of Art Public, Alfie Dennen and Paula Le Dieu, and a team of creative technologists, the project Bus-Tops has installed LED screens on the tops of thirty London bus shelters. Each of these is a grid of 256 x 80 monochromatic red LEDs that can achieve different shades through variable brightness, spelling out words or converting drawings or photographs into red and black digital art. Visible from the top decks of passing buses, the screens display both work by invited artists (with a new artist each month) and images or animations sent in by the public, who can use a tool on the Bus-Tops website to draw their artworks pixel by pixel. In January the featured artist was Mark Titchner, whose 31 Day Programme was an evolving series of messages and motivational challenges reflecting on the relationship between advertisement images and human ambition; through the rest of the year the project will host work by Carla Arocha + Stephane Schraenen, Jemima Brown, Jasmina Cibic, Michelle Deignan, Kate Davis, Ian Monroe, Conrad Ventur, and Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich.

London | www.bus-tops.com

Flow

A collaboration between music and arts producer Ed Carter and the artists collective Owl Project, Flow is inspired by the long history of ‘water organs’ – hydraulically powered mechanisms that are thought to have first appeared somewhere in the 3rd Century BC and which by the 15th Century had evolved into complex automated instruments similar to the barrel organ. In constructing a modern equivalent, Flow plays with the meaning of ‘instrument’ as both a musical device and a tool for scientific measurement by building a tidemill on the River Tyne that will operate simultaneously as a sonic sculpture and a working laboratory. The mill with have a number of instruments – such as a ‘salinity sampler sequencer’, a series of electrodes that dip into water and emit tones (on an analog synth) controlled by the level of conductivity – to measure the temperature, speed, salinity and pollution of the River Tyne, converting the data into an ever-changing site-specific composition. The project will open to the public in March 2012, with the millhouse moored on the North bank of the Tyne outside Newcastle’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

North East | www.flowmill.org

Nest

Another commission, like The Boat Project, that uses donated objects as the talismans of everyday lives, Nest will see thousands of possessions collected from towns and villages across Northern Ireland, with a baggage label attached to each item to catalogue who donated it, how they originally came by the object, and what it means to them. In Belfast the takings will be assembled, by a team of artists and designers, into a gigantic sculpture that will then become the centrepiece and focal point for a large-scale music and choral event, written and directed by project leads John Mcilduff and Brian Irvine and inspired and performed by the people of Northern Ireland. This will take place at the venue T13 in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, Belfast on 20, 21 & 22 July 2012.

Northern Ireland | www.dumbworld.co.uk

Forest Pitch

Located deep inside a commercial forest plantation a couple of miles east of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, artist Craig Coulthard’s Forest Pitch is a woodland football pitch furnished with goalposts and shelter built from the trees felled to create the clearing. On 21 July 2012 the site will play host to two amateur football matches – with male and female teams – where the players will all be recent British citizens or those with Indefinite Leave to Remain who are currently living in Scotland. Teasing out issues of national identity, community and site – and, of course, sporting occasions as junctions of all three – the Forest Pitch matches will be spectated by local communities, friends and families of the players, and the local public. After the Games, the pitch will be accessible to the public and will be left to nature to grow whichever way it will.

Scotland | www.forestpitch.org

OverWorlds & UnderWorlds

Deliberately kept under a veil of mystery, OverWorlds & UnderWorlds, the Artists Taking the Lead commission for Yorkshire, is the first major endeavour of Leeds Canvas, a consortium of eight arts organisations inviting and producing large-scale city-wide projects that use Leeds as their backdrop. Leading on OverWorlds & UnderWorlds are the Quay Brothers, twin directors famous for their work in stop-motion animation, whose proposition here is to explore ‘the flow of people and water through the city’ and to look at how ‘myth suddenly erupts and transforms space into another dimension and then subsides, leaving the everyday altered and somehow different’. The ludic nature of the project – which we know at least will take place 18-20 May 2012 and involve composers, choreographers, artists and makers from the Yorkshire region – makes the exact scope of the event uncertain, but one of the key sites will be the Dark Arches, a complex of 19th Century tunnels through which flows the River Aire.

Yorkshire | www.overworldsandunderworlds.com

For more on all the Artists Taking the Lead projects see: www.artscouncil.org.uk

This article in the magazine

Issue 24-1
p. 15 - 17