MART @ PQ 2015 – Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space The curators of MART; Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan are delighted to be curating Ireland in this year’s PQ Festival in Prague.
Ireland at PQ 2015 : Activating Affective Atmospheres
On the themes of weather and technology, Matthew Nevin and Ciara Scanlan (MART) have curated a sensory, participatory environment working alongside Composer: Tom Lane | Visual Artists: Brian Duggan and Stephanie Golden | Critic/Historian: Siobhan O’Gorman and Producer: Noelia Ruiz.
Activating Affecting Atmospheres
An augmented space. A monument to madness.
On the themes of weather and technology, Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan (MART), have curated a participatory environment working alongside Visual Artists: Brian Duggan and Stephanie Golden | Composer: Tom Lane |Critic/Historian: Siobhan O’Gorman and Producer: Noelia Ruiz.
Human consciousness has transformed the world it occupies more than it has humanity itself. The power to observe our own mortality is fraught with anxiety, leading to urgency concerning making one’s mark. But, this has also stirred us to become makers / creators of new ‘things.’ The opposable thumb began our evolution towards a refined mind that can craft and mould structures and objects that aid our existence. As we gradually turned away from biomimicry and moved towards the Industrial Revolution, we made a potent choice: to use rather than adapt to nature. Our intimate connection with our environment has for centuries been a source of inspiration, but to what extent does our performance as makers require disruption, disturbance and even destruction?
In this installation the curators have created a construct to observe and produce the audience as ‘activators’ who directly affect the atmosphere. The installation consists of a simple mechanism that graphs the pressure exerted by the room’s atmosphere, as well as the temperament of a sound composition below; this awaits activation from the participants within the room. By triggering this paper-rolling mechanism, the audience begin their own short-term documentation of the atmospheric changes within the space during their visit. This captures the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of a marker, activating a temporal movement and recording, while calculating a specific vibration range and length of time.
Through such encounters, we prompt questions regarding the role of technology in the shared affective atmospheres central to both weather and scenography. Two large projections, in conjunction with the central structure and a soundscape, use a range of technologies to synthesize sensory experiences of weather, which are co-created by participants and atmospheric elements. As such, the installation aims to probe the interrelationships of weather, technology, atmosphere and collective affect. Placing the visitor as a performer, it features elements of the weather and of its disruption/disturbance. The project aims to examine the audience’s shared experiences through changes in atmosphere and one’s place in space.
In addition to engaging with the public, this work incorporates multiple disciplines in order to facilitate our audiences’ inhabitations, interactions and performances within an in-door, technologized sensory environment. While some visitors may become responsible for the analysis of our ‘weather’, others may respond viscerally to its disturbance. As such, we wish to promote shared sensory experiences that are both distinctive and transient, created anew each time through the diverse actions of our participants. Although the collective experience is central to our work, convergent and divergent activities / emotions point also to the agency of individual participants and their active roles in engaging with, responding to and shaping the atmosphere. We hope to stimulate consideration of how human behaviour and technologies influence space and weather, reassessing what it is to hold power over weather. – Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan.
Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan are co-directors of the Irish-based visual arts organisation MART. As a curatorial partnership, they have curated over 50 exhibitions nationally and internationally. As artists and cultural producers, they are advocates for the arts, facilitating the collaboration and creation of sustainable opportunities for artists from different disciplines. www.mart.ie | www.ciarascanlan.com | www.matthewnevin.com
Brian Duggan is a visual artist who lives and works in Dublin. He trained in sculpture, and his work utilises installation, text, video, sound, print and publishing, and stone and glass sculptures. He is represented by balzer projects in Basel. – www.brianduggan.net
Stephanie Golden is a Visual Artist based in Dublin. Her work is installation based, incorporating elements of animation, sculpture, sound and light. www.stephaniegolden.org
Tom Lane is a composer and sound designer based in Dublin. www.tom-lane.com
Siobhán O’Gorman is a scenography theorist, theatre critic and performance historian. She is currently Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2015) at Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin. www.tcd.ie/Drama/staff/ | www.facebook.com/PerformingSpace
Noelia Ruiz is a Producer & Social Media Manager with Pan Pan Theatre. She is also a theatre-maker & academic researcher (PhD) www.panpantheatre.com | www.facebook.com/PerformingSpace
As part of our 2017 programme – Destroy These Walls – MART filmed interviews with some of the participating artists.
They discussed their process, the effect of the exhibitions on our gallery space, and their response to our programme.