Figure Refraction Ground Blank Space

Three students from the Royal Northern College of Music are not about to let you sit comfortably!

By Manchester's Finest | September 14th '12

Following on from a fantastic summer of artistic events around Manchester, three students from the Royal Northern College of Music are not about to let you sit comfortably!

If you thought you had been taken right out of your comfort zone via the many multi-media arts events held across the city this summer, do not look to autumn as a time to slip back into it. Running from 25 – 29 September at Blank Space, Hulme St, Collectives and Curiosities intend to cross-pollinate classical music with the visual arts for an outcome that is totally unknown.

Created in 2011 by Jacob Thompson-Bell, Michael Betteridge and Emma-Ruth Richards – three composers and Royal Northern College of Music students – Collectives and Curiosities is a collaborative project that aims to expand the way both audience and artist experience and perceive art and music.

 

The project aims to expand the way both audience and artist experience and perceive art and music

 

Following on from the success of their initial night held at the Brodsky Bar in the RNCM building, their second installment, || : figure refraction ground : || at Blank Space sees the collaboration of singers, a string quartet and a solo wind performer with artists including Debbie Sharp, Joanne McClung and Hayley Andrew, whose disciplines cross various artistic media.

 

Illustration by Emma-Ruth Richards. © Emma-Ruth Richards

 

Asked whether || : figure refraction ground : || is an art exhibition or a classical concert Thomson-Bell replies, “It is both and neither!  The term we seem to be using most frequently throughout the planning and organising is ‘installation’ which I guess can cover both art forms.  But I feel one of our main aesthetic drives in Collectives & Curiosities is to start to erase these boundaries and create entirely non-disciplinary projects where supposedly differing art forms bleed effortlessly into one another.  Not just that but where collaboration and integration are at the forefront of every ‘work’ or ‘item’, be it musical, visual, neither or both.”

 

 For the various artists it means that we can all explore and share a given stimuli, or idea in numerous ways combining our different skills, but also showcasing how we can collaborate and extend the stimuli/idea via more than one art form.

 

Speaking to Betteridge about the benefit of combining musical and visual arts, he explains: “It gives the audiences and artists more reference points to the ideas and aesthetics behind the project.  For the various artists it means that we can all explore and share a given stimuli, or idea in numerous ways combining our different skills, but also showcasing how we can collaborate and extend the stimuli/idea via more than one art form.  For the audiences it’s an opportunity to engage and dissect new works through an additional lens, for example to critique the ‘music’ is also to critique the art and filter through the necessary connections between the works.”

 

For the audiences it’s an opportunity to engage and dissect new works through an additional lens

 

Each day of the installation will be different. There are different performances planned, each of which interact with the mixed media visual arts involved. Also “Throughout the installation we’ll be recording the sounds within the gallery and broadcasting them back through speakers placed around the building,’ explains Thompson-Bell. “ Each day, the recorded sounds from every other day will be played back in full (by day four, that’s four layers of sounds). That means that everyone will be contributing to the sounds of the installation just by being in the building. On top of this, we’re running a participatory afternoon on the 26th (1300 – 1800), specifically encouraging people to come along and contribute by speaking, playing musical instruments, or just relaxing in the space. Come along for as long as you want – we’ll be on hand to offer suggestions and help out if needed.”

Running from 25 – 29 September, this extensive five installation held at Blank Space, Hulme St will be sure to have everybody, quite literally entwined in visual art and music. I have heard several rumors about what exactly will be involved and I believe it is going to be an exciting and rather beautiful experience.

I thoroughly recommend you go along to the launch night on the 25th September from 6pm, and then keep re-visiting to see how the entire installation develops and evolves over the entire exhibition. For more information visit their blog here. Follow Collectives and Curiosities on twitter here.

 

Interview by Anne Louise kershaw. You can find me on Twitter here.