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.