I have invited three collaborative artist groups to Eastside Projects for a period of thinking, gathering and connecting.
GLOAM makes cool shit happen, an artist-led beacon, a collectively-run exhibition and studio space in Sheffield. Chaos Magic are Nottingham witches who change reality through ritual practice. The Field is a co-living project and DIY space in what was previously the headquarters of the National Coal Board, located in Derbyshire.
The expanded Midlands are here in Birmingham for one week. For one week the thunder is waking the frogs!*
If It Thunders on All Fool’s Day* is an open offer to come to our city to ‘do something.’
I don’t know what is going to happen, I don’t know the outcomes, I hope this is a starting point. An open structure that allows for many outcomes, a picked mushroom that’s spreading its spores all over your hand and down your leg.
I want to see how the spores fall, how the thunder rolls, if we are going to make something part exhibition, part proclamation, part kickoff, part massive collaboration, part check-in, part carucation. What can we achieve if we synergise or fall apart?
Join us for Digbeth First Friday and expect good crops of corn and hay!*
*old english proverb
Thanks to Stuart Whipps for photos 1, 2, 6 and 8.
Myself and Milly Melbourne of oB Wear collaborated on an immersive installation of naturally dyed fabric and beeswax sculptures, titled Between One Root and Another. Having been collaborating together for years, we recently got adjacent studios at The Field which allowed us to shape our many experiments into a cohesive form for this installation. We are fascinated by roots as metaphors for murky, subversive thinking - embracing the wisdom of the subconscious, shadow work and slowness. As well as using roots for dyeing, as with the corals and hot pinks from madder root, we used oak gall ink on strips of canvas to suggest tangled root networks snaking their way through the installation. We think a lot about the tension between land and technology, and here the microphone cables resonate uneasily with the dyed canvas strips. There are also interesting parallels between the modular effects pedal setup and our thinking around ecosystems: in nature, networks composed of distinct, densely connected subsystems are called modular.
When learning to scutch flax on Milly's allotment, we discovered its beautiful golden hair-like quality, which is where the phrase 'flaxen hair' originates. From this seed, we developed our drag queen personas to exist within the swamp realm of Between One Root and Another. The gleefully absurd, experimental and chaotic framework of the exhibition as well as its existence for one night only was the ideal situation to bring these characters to the fore.
We created a ritual space of different materials used in the journey of coalescing the installation, which we played with intuitively throughout the opening night, dipping dried seed heads in beeswax and rattling flax stalks into a microphone. It was a dance between sincerity and ludicrosity.