Tag Archives: catriona

one square mile

by Catriona Duffy from Panel

“If a city hasn’t been used by an artist not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively.”

Duncan Thaw from Lanark by Alasdair Gray

Glasgow has a creative community that supports opportunities to make and show new work here. It is also they who sustain an outward looking attitude to programming and presenting artists. On Saturday I went to see Richard Layzell as a part of the brand new Buzz Cut festival. Located in the Old Hairdressers, Buzzcut managed to capture much of the atmosphere first achieved by Le Drapeau Noir, the performance programmed installation that launched the temporary venue as a part of Glasgow International in 2010 (http://www.glasgowinternational.org/index.php/events/view/le_drapeau_noir).

Such artist-run initiatives, now including Buzzcut, have proved it is possible to create local infrastructures that support a wide variety of practice when there is no other current provision. When this grass-roots activity is set within the context of other key events and festivals, in this case Behaviour, their association serves not only to legitimise the need for such goings-on but also helps to create a wider context for them both – and the people that enjoy them.

It is also the possibilities that a post-industrial city, like Glasgow, offer that attracts artists to stay and develop such initiatives here. Affordable rents and living costs, availability of ex-warehouse/industrial buildings for workspaces and performance spaces and a flourishing network of people have all contributed to the growth of a unified and evolving scene that has produced a number of defining exhibitions, performances and events over the past twenty years.

In the packed out upstairs space of the Old Hairdressers, Richard Layzell explored a recent residency in Shanghai as a part of the Visiting Arts One Square Mile project. His experience aligned him to a particular place and its people, and invited him to investigate and make sense of its beauty, flaws and intricacies from a very precise, intimately removed perspective.

In a different way Buzz Cut and Behaviour are making sense of Glasgow too by asking us to step out of our usual pathways as they imaginatively use the city – allowing us as inhabitants to look at it in unexpected ways.


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Dear Green Place

by Catriona Duffy from Panel

Last Saturday afternoon I invited my friend Jess (due to a complete lack of cycling proficiency on my part) to Fish and Game’s Bicycle Boom.

Part spectacle, part conversation, part bicycle tour, Eilidh MacAskill’s performance led a physical journey between two symbols of Glasgow’s industrial heritage – Kelvingrove Museum and the new Riverside Museum.

Exploring the democratisation of urban space, Bicycle Boom connected stories of female emancipation to the roads, park walkways and cycle paths of Glasgow’s public spaces. Making use of Glasgow’s unique legacy of parkland and particularly its historic use for public gatherings, Kelvingrove Park became the temporary site for our rally of cyclists as we weaved a historical narrative across its pathways.

Though I didn’t actually pedal (I strolled), what I loved about Bicycle Boom (along with its inclusion of authentic artefacts and Eilidh’s adherence to the principles of rational dress as a vehicle for furthering the debate on social and sexual emancipation) was that it began and ended with the museum. Of the things Glasgow does especially well, its museums stand out. The city’s collections are free, open, welcoming and accessible. Bicycle Boom exploited this perfectly, book ending a journey of gender hierarchies and the urban domain with our houses of civic and municipal identity. One an ‘old’ building and one brand new, one a symbol of masculine, colonial and industrial power the other a present-day homage to the city we once had, positioned on the river we once used, and designed by a woman.

Jess on her way to the Boom!

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