documentation from Another Athens exhibition, Interview Room 11

Now that Interview Room 11 is no longer in its gloriously brutal concrete former location at Argyle House in Edinburgh’s West Port, it’s nice to look back and see documentation of what was achieved during its stay.

One of the exhibitions I was invited to be part of, in this case by Nicky Melville, was the 2014 Another Athens exhibition. This film on Vimeo from Suzanne van der Lingen interviews its curators: Nicky Melville, Mirja Koponen and Gerry Smith, and shows visual material from the exhibition.

The ambitious project was pretty global in its reach and included a one day symposium. There was an official pairing with the SNEHTA art space in Athens.

 

My involvement was to provide text pieces, two in collaboration with Colin Herd, two on my own, for display in the space. We were asked to provide an original piece and to respond to a text from one of the Athens writers who were paired with us on the project. The texts were displayed beautifully with pins on two opposite gallery walls. They were unidentified by author, so it was left to the view to play with attributions to Athens or to Edinburgh authors, and they were a variety of sizes, so looked great.

The request for our original pieces was framed in the set of instructions below:

Edinburgh is The Athens of the North. This project will show Another Athens, a composite city constructed from depictions of both Athens and Edinburgh. The composite city will be based upon the memories and personal experiences of its inhabitants.

You should write about an event or situation which says something about your own “Athens”.

The text should fit on one side of A4 paper.

The city should be referred to as Another Athens.

Aside from that, the style and content is up to the writer.

I loved thinking about composite cities, cities of possibility. And in my piece I was also thinking about cities in their different historical moments, with memory and trace as important cues for how we navigate and negotiate them. The project was happening at the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum, so had resonance with large scale imaginings of that sort. I was very engaged with Emily Dickinson’s work at the time, so my piece of writing quotes her only poem to explicitly name Athens. I also went to Greek poet Cavafy for material to work with. I loved his homoerotic poems when I was younger, and I enjoyed mapping personal past erotic experience into this flickering virtual city the project was allowing me to conjure while mapping Cavafy’s geographical concerns about his identity as an Alexandrian Greek onto Edinburgh’s very present politics.

Here’s the piece I compiled in its entirety.

Lad of Athens Iain Morrison

More information can be found about the exhibition here.

 

Pic from Forest Centre+ reading last week

Just sharing my favourite photo taken by Ana González Chouciño of my reading on 24th Nov. It was a sort of closing event for the Warm Up exhibition at Forest Centre+’s new gallery space, Interview Room 11. I was happy to have the chance to read alongside my installation of the This Is Not The Place collaborative text I made with Leiza McLeod, not least because it let me put the spoken voice back into the work. I read along with the film of Leiza and I stating the text in the same space back in April before it was turned into a gallery. You can’t see it really, but on the little DVD screen there are mini-versions of me and Leiza. I even wore the same cardigan! #continuity

Before the reading, I unfurled the ribbons of text, attached to the pamphlet of the whole text, so that they stretched the length of the gallery. This felt like a release of the pent up energy in their coiled bundles (how they’ve been presented in the exhibition for its duration) and I liked the sort of flare, sort of outburst that this seemed to let them stage. Once I’d done that, I waited silently for the DVD to reach the point in mine and Leiza’s reading where the text located to Edinburgh, reading in my head along with the Bristol section. I liked the element of reading in my head alongside the recording of my voice reading out loud. I want to think about that more. Also, I enjoyed then reading out loud with my own recorded voice and playing with the possibilities of phasing/echoing/falling into step.

Anyway, Ana’s picture. Thanks to those who came.

Iain Morrison performing This Is Not The Place. Thanks to Ana González Chouciño for photo

Loved Stephen Paterson’s wire installation too, by the way. He was manipulating this invisibly from the wings all night so that bundles of hanging electrical cables jerked like puppetless strings and gradually withdrew back into the ceiling.

Looking forward to the next Interview Room 11 exhibition, which I think is by Nick-e Melville.

This Is Not The Place: Reading at Forest Centre+ 24/10/13

or this one

 

I’m part of a trio of performers helping to bring the Forest Centre+’s inaugural exhibition to a close this coming Thursday. The new Interview Room 11 gallery space has hosted its ‘Warm Up’ for more than 3 weeks and the building has been enlivened by surges and trickles and drops of visitors to the exhibition, moving the Forest project ever forwards and upwards. I’ve loved being part of it.

Here’s the poster for its closing event…

TINTP Closing poster

…at which I’ll be reading at about 7pm. The event starts at 5.30pm, so I’m hoping to get there for then, work allowing, to enjoy the other things going on. nick-e melville will be up to something, and so I believe will Stephen Paterson.

IMG_1645

 

I’ll be reading from the walking texts that make up This Is Not The Place, a knot of writing I produced with Leiza McLeod. It’s been present in the Warm Up exhibition in booklet form, and also as long ribbons of paper. I’m doing my best to magic something of Leiza there from Bristol via technological wizardry (we’re talking wizardry level 1 at best, though possibly with merit).

IMopening work 4

Hope to see some of you there. More details on facebook for the detail-driven.

 

 

‘Warm up’, opening exhibition at Forest Centre+

Earlier this year, I took up a residency at Forest Centre+ for a month. I blogged about my activities here on this blog. Mainly I was writing about my Emily Dickinson reading performance. Now that I’ve been asked to contribute to the opening exhibition of Forest Centre+’s gallery space, I’ve gone back to a different aspect of my residency.

The work I’ve put into the exhibition is from a collaboration with Leiza McLeod. We’ve worked over a long period of time on a text called This Is Not The Place, which records walks taken simultaneously by the two of us. Instead of walking alongside each other, we either converge on a point or diverge from a point. It’s literally an exploratory process, and we record our thoughts and observations of the things we see as we go into a dictaphone, to be transcribed and edited, then turned into a performance script.

When Leiza was last up in Edinburgh from Bristol, during my April residency, we performed a version of this work inside the empty Forest Centre+ in the space which is now partly the Interview Room 11 Gallery. After reading the This Is Not The Place script, we unravelled two long paper ribbons of text (one with Leiza’s words, one with mine) out of the windows of the Forest Centre+ building into the ever-present wind pushing up the tall building between it and the castle rock.

The April This Is Not The Place performance was filmed, and in the exhibition I’ve put in an edited version of the footage, alongside the retrieved paper ribbons, now attached to a printed pamphlet of our text.

I’ve been in the gallery, installing over the weekend and am delighted with the quality of work I’m showing alongside. There’s a good range, including sculpture, painting, film and interventional installation. One thing that’s already apparent about the new Gallery space is how much more is possible with it than at Forest’s previous, tiny, TotalKunst art gallery. It really gives everything room to disclose itself, and allows conversations between the different work in an uncluttered way.

The exhibition opens on Tuesday night, 5.30–7.30pm 1st October 2013. It would be lovely to see any of my Edinburgh folk there. The entrance is at 38 Castle Terrace, EH3 9SJ.

 

Here’s the poster,

Forest Centre+ Warm Up poster

 

here’s a working shot of my piece during installation to give you a flavour,

Iain Morrison This Is Not The Place

and more event details are on facebook here.

(West Port late on a Saturday night. Someone’s making monkey noises outside in the street, not threatening. Not sure what that’s all about.)