Gw ˆ yl Caerdydd Gyfoes/Cardiff Contemporary Festival
03.10 — 09.11.2014 cardiffcontemporary.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/CardiffContemporary @cardiffcontemp #DatgeluCelu #RevealConceal
AN INDEPENDENT PERSPECTIVE ON THE ARTS
Doing Dylan with: good cop bad cop, Marc Rees & National Theatre Wales, Theatr Iolo, Art Across the City, The Writing Shed, Aneurin Jones, JoËœ ao Morais & John Abell, Laura Sorvala, Public Information
Kajal Nisha Patel Bella Kerr Ossian Ward Jemma L King Ephemeral Coast; The Promise, PARADISE; Wales Dance Platform; Return Journey; Under Milk Wood: An Opera
Issue 4 Summer 2014
—The Editor— Editor: Emma Geliot Deputy Editor: Ric Bower Art Director: Jonathan Morris Sales & Assistant Editor: Rhiannon Lowe Web Management: Richard Bowers Distribution Manager: David Kirk Chief Sub Editor: Leslie Herman Sub Editor: David Sinden CCQ Magazine Chapter Market House Market Road Cardiff CF5 1QE 029 20398510 www.ccqmagazine.com @CCQmag Distribution CoMag Specialist, 01895 433600 Central Books, 0845 4589911 Editor email@example.com
Untitled, from Golden Mile II, Kajal Nisha Patel
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good cop bad cop, Ric Bower & Opal Turner
The Dylan Thomas 100 Festival feature was made possible through the collaboration and support of the Arts Council of Wales
As we celebrate our first anniversary with our fourth issue, Wales is marking various cultural landmarks, including centenaries of the births of R.S. Thomas and Dylan Thomas and the end of the Miners’ Strike. The arts community has gone Dylan wild for the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival and, while the year-long party passes its mid-point, we’ve selected just some of the myriad responses to his life and work, and commissioned some new ones. Look out for the bra bunting, beer mat fiction, a nomadic shed, a buried suit, Dylan as love guru, a yodeler, a finger in a bottle and one of DT’s own rude doodles. We’re extremely grateful to the Arts Council of Wales for their support and collaboration for the Dylan Thomas 100 content, which allowed us to connect with so many projects and commission new work for our special extended feature. While the past provides material for artists to respond to, we’re interested in how new work gets made, and in bringing you new voices and topics that are in the air at the moment. So we’re delighted to feature the work of photographer Kajal Nisha Patel, whose exploration of what it is to be a second generation Indian in Britain grabbed our attention at The Eye Festival in Aberystwyth. We dive into the Wales Dance Platform to see what’s new in contemporary dance, Mab Jones finds out where writers really write and Ossian Ward of the Lisson Gallery talks about presenting public art at the Venice Architecture Biennale. We’ll also take you on a wander from rural to urban encountering artist interventions in Bristol, and Bella Kerr talks about collaboration and what changes when the artist is present in the gallery. You’ll notice that we’ve altered the way we look in this issue and there’ll be a few more changes in issue 5, so we hope you approve. With thanks to everyone for everything. Emma
Legals: As an arts magazine we take the intellectual property rights of our contributors very seriously. All copyright in this issue belongs to the authors or originators of the material and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author. Unless otherwise stated, all material has been produced by or for CCQ Magazine. We take great care to ensure that information within the magazine is accurate and fair, but opinions stated within this issue are those of the author and not necessarily of CCQ Magazine or the publishers, Culture Colony Quarterly Magazine Ltd. If you find something that is inaccurate or misleading please let us know, and we will attempt to remedy any errors on our part at the earliest opportunity, either in print or on-line. Culture Colony Quarterly (CCQ) Magazine is published by Culture Colony Quarterly Magazine Ltd, a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales. Company no: 08634632
Corrections: In Issue 2 we spelled Tara MacInerney’s name wrong and then managed to do it again in our apology in Issue 3. This time it’s right. We also said that Andrea Liggins had photographed Shani Rhys James in Issue 3, when she’d actually photographed Claire Curneen and Ingrid Murphy.
visit us at: ccqmagazine.com
— Contributors— Aneurin Jones Aneurin studied at Swansea School of Art in the 1940’s; he has lived and pursued his practice in the very west of Wales ever since. Aneurin shares some first-hand anecdotes of meeting Dylan Thomas along with some of his drawings of that time. João Morais João won the 2013 Terry Hetherington Award for Young Writers, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Rhys Davies Short Story Award. He is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Cardiff University, and is represented by Ivan Mulcahy and Associates. João was commissioned by CCQ to write Dinner With Dylan. @_JoaoMorais John Abell John won the printmaking prize and was overall runner up at Welsh Artist of the Year 2013. His first illustrated book with the Old Stile Press, Diary Of A Dead Officer was released to mark the centenary of World War 1. He also illustrated Parthian’s New Welsh fiction anthology, Rarebit. John created the woodcut images to accompany João Morais’ Dinner With Dylan story. johnabell.blogspot.co.uk
Denise Kwan Denise Kwan is a lecturer at UWTSD, Swansea and an art writer. In 2010, she was awarded an Art Criticism Prize from BREESE LITTLE, London and has written for Art Review and thisistomorrow. Having studied Curating Contemporary Art at the RCA, she worked in the Programme Department at BALTIC, Gateshead. She is interested in the potential of art writing and language and its relationship to disaporic experience. Denise was commissioned by CCQ to interview Ossian Ward of Lisson Gallery for this issue. Jemma L. King Jemma L. King is founding member of the Centre for Women, Writing and Literary Culture. Her debut poetry collection The Shape of a Forest was shortlisted in 2013 for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Wales Book of the Year and The Roland Mathias Prize. CCQ has two poems from her recent collection The Undressed, published by Parthian. parthianbooks.com
Carolyn Black Carolyn Black has extensive experience of the arts sector – initially as an artist, then as a writer, educator, mentor, project manager and curator. For the last fourteen years she has been producing contemporary visual arts projects in unusual locations – beaches, woodlands, canal-sides and redundant buildings. Carolyn visited Bristol to experience The Promise and PARADISE and reports back for CCQ. flowprojects.org.uk Rory Duckhouse Rory Duckhouse is an artist and writer based in South Wales. Rory graduated with an MA in Contemporary Dialogues from Swansea Metropolitan University and currently works as editor of European Prospects and is the exhibitions assistant for the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea. Rory was commissioned by CCQ for this issue to report on Ephemeral Coast at The Mission. roryduckhouse.wordpress.com
01 01 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Doodle, Jon Burgerman for Art Across The City 2014, image courtesy of Locws International
– DYLAN THOMAS 100 –
8–9 Introducing The Dylan Thomas 100 special feature, artist Laura Sorvala finds some of the odd moments and bizarre sights.
10–17 Lleisiau: This Land Has Other Voices – good cop bad cop scoured the land for vocal talents for a three-night riposte to the tour guide’s vision of Wales.
Ach y Fi! Ach y Fi! A Play for Vices – Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts’ irreverent foray into the National Library of Wales’ Dylan Thomas archive unearthed some cheeky ephemera.
44 – 45 Adventures in The Skin Trade – from page to stage, Theatr Iolo’s Kevin Lewis talks about adapting an unfinished story into compelling theatre.
On Writers and Writing/The Writing Shed – when a scale model of Dylan’s writing shed popped up in Llanelli, Huw Alden Davies stalked it with his camera. Meanwhile, Mab Jones finds out where writers really write.
Raw Material – David Alston finds the devil in the detail of Marc Rees’ National Theatre Wales production when it took over the little village of Llaugharne.
32–37 Drawing Dylan – as an art student Aneurin Jones had Dylan Thomas as a model and shares some from-the horse’s-mouth anecdotes in words and pictures.
42 The Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive – ffotogallery’s David Drake on Dylan in New York.
The Tawe Mega Poem – poet Rhian Edwards’ project for Art Across the City 2014 unlocked verse from all corners of Swansea in a poem that’s still growing.
Haircut – Rachel Trezise finds poetry in everyday dialogue for Art Across the City.
Public Information – artists Craig Wood & Peter Finnemore took Dylan Thomas’ work for the Ministry of Information as a jumping off point for a subversive series of events.
Dinner With Dylan – writer João Morais and artist John Abell imagine Thomas as a love guru.
– FEATURES –
– RESPONSE –
56–57 Shattered – Gareth Miles tells the story of a quarrymen’s lockout in North Wales for Chwalfa, premiering this autumn in Bangor.
58–69 The Golden Mile – photographer Kajal Nisha Patel explores what it means to be Asian in Britain.
84 – 87
70–75 Genius Loci – Denise Kwan talks to Lisson Gallery’s Ossian Ward about art in the public realm and the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture
– POETRY –
88–91 PARADISE / The Promise – Carolyn Black makes the journey from rural to urban in a series of projects and interventions in and around Bristol.
92–95 Ephemeral Coast – Rory Duckhouse dips into a show about tide and time
76 –79 The Space Time Dimension – artist, curator and lecturer Bella Kerr on blurring identities and letting things happen.
The Return Journey’s Return Journey – Rudi O’Neill and Dan Wood follow Lighthouse Theatre’s promenade through the hung-over streets of Swansea.
Caitlin – Tara MacInerney on Dylan Thomas’ wife, as Eddie Ladd and Gwyn Emberton dance a tempestuous relationship at the National Library of Wales
98–101 Wales Dance Platform 2014 – two takes on a showcase for contemporary dance.
80– 83 Poet Jemma L. King’s new collection The Undressed creates an inner life for the women she found in old photographs. We feature two beauties from her Parthian-published book.
Under Milk Wood: An Opera – singing the story of Llareggub in John Metcalf’s new work.
– LAST WORD – 103 Laura Sorvala Dylan Thomas, overheard and observed.
Dylan Thomas 100 If he’d lived, Dylan Thomas would have been 100 this year; but he didn’t and his early death spawned a legend of wild-living and speculation about his influence that shimmies through the Beat Poets, wraps around performance poetry and taps today’s rappers on the shoulder. The celebrations have permeated large swathes of South Wales, with Swansea (his birthplace) and Carmarthenshire (where he did much of his writing) going full throttle at the festivities. And the Dylan Thomas 100 party has also conga’d across the world through the medium of television and the efforts of our international cultural agencies. Illustrations: Laura Sorvala
From adaptations of Dylan’s work for the stage; to Llarregub, the fictional home of Under Milk Wood, re-created and re-visited; new voices found and articulated; return journeys performed promenade-style; Public Information shared; private ephemera displayed; Caitlin (Mrs Thomas) danced and dramatised; many pubs visited (in the name of research you understand), some as far away as New York, the Dylan Thomas 100 festival has been a non-stop programme. With its odd details and bizarre sights: a pink bra, a finger stuck in a bottle, a buried suit, guerrilla poetry, a dictionary of perfect words, yodelling, Dylan’s ghost giving tips on romance while his writing shed pops up in Llanelli in a puff of literal smoke; the festival has been a call to action. Throughout the land poems have been declaimed, prints pressed, shutters squeezed, songs sung, capers cut, workshops devised and delivered, memory banks scoured, archives dusted down, talks and lectures delivered, films screened and biographical dramatisations performed – let’s face it, if you hadn’t heard of Dylan Thomas before now you’d be hard pressed to dodge that centennial bullet now. We’ve picked from this mix for our megafeature and commissioned some responses of our own. Our focus has been on new work, new approaches and the idea that cultural heritage is a stepping stone to future creativity, rather than a memory perceived through the prism of nostalgia. There are some questions to be asked and answered about this rush of activity – a one-off bonanza of funding – would some of these things have happened without a cash carrot? Will Dylan Thomas now work his way up the reading lists of National Curricula in Wales and beyond? Will new tourists come in search of Llarreggub? And why celebrate this dead poet and not another? Only time will tell. — CCQ dylanthomas100.org You can see videos of some of our featured projects on: culture.colony.com
Performance duo good cop bad cop took a back seat to create Lleisiau, three performances that gathered together some fifty people who use their voices for pleasure or profit: from bingo-callers to town criers to yodelers; performance poets; rappers; singers, actors and a telephone announcer. It could have been a talent show but somehow it was something quite different. Emma Geliot attempts to join the dots from RS Thomas, to Dylan Thomas to a singing saw. Portraits of performers by Opal Turner for CCQ. Graphics by Dave Thomas, based on concept by good cop bad cop
The duo (although sometimes there are more than two) at the nucleus of good cop bad cop are John Rowley and Richard Huw Morgan, who have been making performance work together for over 20 years. Their approach to devising work is, on the surface, effortlessly rooted in the kind of shorthand that comes with long collaborations – often they’ll just sit frowning at each other for a few minutes or even a few hours during project meetings – but beneath the surface is a complex web of concerns, shared beliefs and a creative wellspring that spouts, waters seemingly unfertile land and propagates performance from some unlikely looking seeds (I give you Brody’s Notes - a performance that segued from water cooler sales, through asylum seekers and took in children made of felt as an example). Interviewing gcbc is like a complicated game of Ducks and Drakes, where the interviewees’ answers are the smooth round stones, skimmed across the flat surface of the sea in juddering bounces, often with both interviewees skimming at once. Rowley suggests that I make a note, “good cop bad cop were extremely unhelpful.” Not unhelpful at all really, although with the benefit of hindsight I wouldn’t have fed them fudge and pakora while we talked (makes for indistinct answers and slurping noises in the recording), but there really are no straight lines, no easy answers to trot out in a Q&A format. So, at first the answers to my questions/ stones bounce in a nice, straight line but then suddenly curve off or, if both interviewees are playing at once, two pebbles clash. Whatever the clunky analogy, this doesn’t make for a seamless narrative, but it’s easy to imagine them frowning at the water’s edge, bouncing the stones of ideas apparently randomly. When the tide goes out there is, revealed by the retreating waters, a fabulous structure – a worked out performance - detailed, complex and often very funny. But this time they wanted to introduce another element of risk by bringing in other players to lob their pebbles, and they had to go about finding them. Lleisiau: This Land Has Other Voices was a radical departure even by the pair’s usual standards, as they took themselves out of the performance equation almost entirely. It followed on from a research project based on the life of that other dead poetic Thomas – RS – which was evolving while they were in residence at Chapter Arts Centre. Chapter approached gcbc to see if they’d be interested in developing a project as part of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival and they agreed, with some caveats.
Morgan was concerned that the festival might be just another vehicle to sell Wales as a tourist attraction on its history and felt, “We can’t keep on banging on about the past”. Rowley chimes in, “Wales always sells itself on history, more than on contemporary culture.” Morgan adds, “Which made us think: at one point Dylan Thomas was a new voice, no one had heard of him, so what other new voices might there be now? I’d recently heard someone else say, what I’d heard a thousand times before, ‘Wales, Land of Song – we’ve got to get beyond this, there must be other things’. That led me to think, ‘what else is there other than poetry and singing and in both languages and in no language at all?’, and we were particularly interested in the ones where it didn’t really matter what the language was. It was about the way that the voices were used.” One factor which attracted them to RS Thomas was his movement throughout Wales – from the anglicised Southeast to Cymric North, taking in the borderlands – as he preached his sermons and wrote his poetry, which captured the characters and characteristics of the country in both of its languages. Lleisiau (voices) taps into that spirit – bi-lingual or mono-lingual; participants from the north and south, east and west (and some live feeds from New York, Auckland and Bangor); and young, old or somewhere in the middle, and each with something to offer that was more than just a turn or a party piece. What brings it back to Dylan Thomas? Perhaps it was that desire to present Wales as more than the image presented to attract tourists and, at a time when everyone has gone Dylan Thomas crazy, to show that there’s much more to the cultural life of Wales than just poetry and the past. It would be typical of gcbc to subvert the intentions of the festival, to push at its boundaries and see where it might take them. Rowley thinks back, “We actually set out to make something that had no poetry and no singing in it…” Morgan goes on, “We’d always hoped that it would be shepherds, and auctioneers and whistlers. With auctioneers the voices are prelinguistic… what matters is tone and pace.” Some years ago Rowley made a series of films for the BBC Wales arts programme Double Yellow, called The Lost Sounds of Wales. He used the BBC archives to find, for example, train announcements, the sound of Reggae in Cardiff’s Butetown. “There was always this thing in this project about things that were about to expire… things that weren’t going to be passed on”, Rowley explains.
“There was always this thing in this project about things that were about to expire… things that weren’t going to be passed on.”
Morgan and Rowley have been around the block, collaborated with hundreds of people and interviewed many more on their weekly arts programme for Radio Cardiff – Pitch - so, as Rowley says, “If we’d wanted to we could have filled all of the performances with people we knew, but we didn’t want to do that, we wanted new voices.” Morgan adds that, when they put out an open call for people to participate, then travelled around Wales to meet them, they had hoped those shepherds and auctioneers would turn up, “Those people who use their voices in a particular way for a particular reason, but whose voices are heard less and less in Wales.” The problem was that the very people they were interested in meeting didn’t seem to think that their vocal skills were anything special and didn’t materialise. In fact it was only by chance that they met the (at the time) future Mayor of Bangor, who had only come to open up the hired audition venue and offered them tea. They mentioned to her that they had hoped for a bingo caller to turn up and were disappointed that no one had come forward. At that point she mentioned that she did a bit of bingo-calling herself and suddenly found herself part of the project. In the event the three nights of performance clashed with her inauguration as Mayor of Bangor so she was beamed in from Bangor to the theatre’s video screens. Despite the beaming and the streaming, Morgan insists that the performance wasn’t particularly hi-tech and was all done without rehearsal or even a full run-through due to the logistics of trying to get all of the participants from all over Wales into one place at the same time – some only arrived a couple of hours before the performance. “People often say that our work looks rehearsed’, Rowley says, “but we don’t [rehearse]…you could ask why did we make the decision to do x or y. The truth is things just happen”, Morgan adds, “but there’s always a clear plan there, we’re responsible for keeping things on course.” The decision to steer rather than direct was an important one. Apart from allowing each performer a maximum of six minutes, they were allowed to do their own thing. Rowley thinks for a minute, “One of the important things I’ve realised since is that the participants were doing exactly what they would have been doing in their own way – they weren’t directed and so were comfortable, with no pressure or anxiety about letting people down.”
I ask them how they approached the performance as directors, and they are clear that they didn’t want to direct. Instead they created a structure and a format for presentation, allowing the performers to do their thing in their time slot. So each night the participants took to one of three stages, placed around the black box theatre’s edge; the audience at the centre, swiveling heads and then moving as the lights came up above one stage or another, or faces appeared on the large video screens then the turn over, the lights dimmed and went up over another stage. They’d designed the performance to run for an hour and ten minutes and to Rowley’s amazement, “Incredibly each of the three nights came in at one hour and ten.” This is incredible when all of the things that could have gone wrong are factored in, including the link-ups to other parts of the world – the live feeds to screen. And the live feeds here are important – not only were poets and players beamed into the Chapter theatre but the whole performance was beamed out every night via the Chapter website. More importantly the event was free. As Morgan commented, “People are now used to paying seven or eight pounds to sit in a cinema in Wales and watch live performances streamed at them from London. We wanted to reverse that and beam our performance out of Wales, and we wanted access to be free”. Looking at the breakdown of who was watching the live streaming they could see that there were people in Switzerland or Japan watching a yodeler, a rapper, a stand-up comedian, school children, a father and daughter double act, a performer of a Japanese Noh theatre, a singing saw, a young girl singing to a paper cup accompaniment, the New York Players (via smart phone relay), occasionally introduced (and sincerely performed) in the insincere sing-song voice of a telephone announcer (“Please hold the line, your call is important to us”). They have resisted the urge to re-present the performances as films, despite the fact that all three nights were documented on video, as, for them, seeing the work in real time is the key to the work’s success. Does Lleisiau fit within the Dylan Thomas 100 festival? As RS Thomas would say, “H’m”. But is it a necessary component? Definitely. If Dylan Thomas is the carrot to attract attention to Welsh culture – to a culture that’s still living, breathing, moving on and not contemplating the navel of its past - then good cop bad cop’s Lleisiau is a vital part of a cultural continuum. — CCQ
Previous page: Portrait of good cop bad cop, Ric Bower & Opal Turner Lleisiau graphics, Dave Thomas based on concept by gcbc Portraits of performers, Opal Turner: This page: Amarie Jones (top); Gillian Rees (bottom) Following page: (top) Left to right: John Griffiths (Llwybr Llaethog); Maja Palser (bottom ) Kevs Ford (Llwybr Llaethog); Debra Humphries.
Lleisiau: This Land Has Other Voices was performed over three nights at Chapter Arts Centre 08 â€“ 10 May 2014 The performers were: Amarie Jones; Christopher Young; clare e. potter; Dai Williams; Daniel Glyn; David Horgan; Debra Humphries; Derrick Rowlands; Francesca Simons; Gillian Rees; Huw Dylan Ellis; Ieuan Jones; New York City Players (Bob Feldman; Brian Mendes; James Tyson; Jim Fletcher; Richard Maxwell; Tom King); Janine Cooper-Marshall; Jean Forsyth; Johnny Giles; Jon & Elena Gower; Karl Wayne Bohana; Llwybr Llaethog (John Griffiths & Kevs Ford); Mab Jones; Marc Roberts; Mike Pearson; Paul Dark; Rachel Morris; Richard Watson; Rosie Anne Brown & Matt Winsom; Rufus Mufasa; SJ Alexanderson; Sonia Davies; Steve Thomas; Tracy Moberly; Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Bronllwyn
“It didn’t really matter what the language was. It was about the way that the voices were used.”
Art Across the City 2014 Locws International got into the spirit of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival with a series of commissions for their 2014 series of interventions into the fabric of the city of Swansea. We feature some of them here – Rachel Trezise’s overheard micro-fictions and extracts from Rhian Edwards’ epic Tawe Mega Poem.
—Tawe Mega Poem—
My brief from the Locws team was to write the opening lines to the Tawe Mega Poem, which had to allude somehow to Swansea and Dylan Thomas. As a result I swotted up on the history and read some poems about Swansea (usually while breast feeding), finding that its name derived from the Viking, and that it was, perhaps, the only other city – like Rome – to be nestled between seven hills. I compounded these facts with water and maritime imagery, again alluding to Swansea’s reputation, hence: Baptised by Vikings and anchored like Rome In a brine basin of seven snapdragon hills. I also read in a letter from Dylan Thomas to a friend where he described Swansea as “a marble town and city of laughter”. I wanted to avoid his rather hackneyed reference to Swansea as “an ugly lovely town”. During the research I found a reference to a thousand ship sails billowing in the harbour and thought it complemented the fog emanating from all the smelting works in Swansea. (After all they discovered it was far more cost-efficient to bring the metal ore to where the coal was mined than vice versa since you needed three parts coal to each part of metal ore.) And so: With a pother of ship sails and a smelting brume, Copperopolis, coal harbour, metal morphosis To fire-clay, alum, tin-plate and porcelain; Then I wanted to bring the poem back to Dylan Thomas. I read about how distraught he was when the original Kardomah Cafe was bombed during the Second World War. This was the epicentre of Welsh Bohemia, where he used to meet with fellow poet Vernon Watkins and other artists: To the coffee-ringed poems in the ruins And scrawling ashes of the Kardomah Cafe. Once the opening lines were written, the poem went live, inviting other people to contribute to this version of poetry consequences. I also visited two Swansea schools and asked the students to write a poem describing the vivid images they pass during a familiar journey in Swansea, perhaps from their front door to school or a relative’s house. From these poems, I cherry-picked the best lines and added them to the poem. Similarly, I held two Saturday workshops in Swansea Museum. I did a series of poetry exercises, culminating in the familiar Swansea journey poem, selecting and uploading the best lines. The rest of the poem was added to by anyone and everyone and is now a staggering 73 pages long. Admittedly the poem is not entirely linear and can appear quite random in parts. Here are some of my favourite lines:
Just two months after giving birth to her first baby, poet Rhian Edwards was invited to kick-start a collaborative poem about Swansea for Art Across The City 2014. Through a series of public and schools workshops, she captured a collective imagination, inciting poetry at an unprecedented scale. At the time of going to print the poem is 73 pages long and still growing.
01 More Poetry Is Needed, Jeremy Deller, St Mary’s car park, Swansea, commissioned for Locws International for Art Across the City 2014
The winking lights of Cwmdonkin The passers-by shoaling on pavements Grey streets come alive dressed to the nines A finger-chilling morning, a black Glendros sky The old man whistling louder than a gun Tumbling leaves flying like graceful birds The moony boys The sleeping policemen A sun-stroked horizon, a bed that never lets go Giant rhubarb like elephant ears A distant tanker, anchored and mindful of the Mumbles rocks reaching out for Devon An obelisk stands guard over a fury of gulls Past Wind Street, the pig statue and the castle tipping over Past the two derelict nursing homes ageing side by side A sleeping estate and an accusing moon, Past the toothless monster car park Scare the ducks till their bums moon the air A watery history hoofing down in a horseshoe bay I stomp through Twin Town, careful not to stumble Liberty Stadium where the Swans will rise and the crowds will roar like dragons Doors sliding open in a monk-like silence Poppies wreathe the monument like a scarf Now wine is in my weather Swansea seabird song for shantytown concrete Ships names Seren-Y-Mor to Black Beauty â€“ No two are the same Corned beef pasty in hand/ A bright pink daisy on her Alice Band The Welsh blood sings Wind dervishes across the town Laverbread dark nights warm the cockles of my heart Trenches of pillows, butterfly wire A dumb deceit/ a wingless beat The seaâ€™s lace dresses the beach
Read the Tawe Mega Poem in full at locwsinternational.com
— Haircut —
For Art Across the City 2014, writer Rachel Trezise responded to Jeremy Deller’s provocative billboard/mural, More Poetry is Needed, by looking for poetry in everyday dialogue overheard in cafes and bars. The resulting five micro fictions were printed up on beer mats and distributed to cafes and bars throughout Swansea. We show them here after they’d been in circulation.
On Writers and Writing As a scaled-down replica of Dylan Thomasâ€™ writing shed takes to the road, inviting visitors to come up with a new and perfect word, poet Mab Jones investigates the spaces and places that writers use to pen poetry and prose. Photographs: Huw Alden Davies
How we delight in the delusional daydream of Dylan in his Writing Shed, poring over poems, penning plentiful pieces, producing prose prolifically, in particular, that peerless ‘play for voices’, perhaps his most perpetually popular propagation to date… Pah!
Murakami is in writing mode he gets up at 4am and writes for five or six hours before going swimming or running, then spends the evening reading before going to bed at 9pm and starting it all again the next morning. “I keep to this routine without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing: it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerise myself to reach a deeper state of mind.” Indeed, many writers proclaim routine, repetitive action and relaxing/almost meditative practices to be important to their work – walking, swimming, the lulling motion of bus and train journeys, immersion in the bathtub, in bed, showers, ironing, mowing the lawn (Tennyson began composing The Charge of the Light Brigade whilst cutting the grass...) Anything that will place a writer in an altered brain state, basically. Beta, our usual state, is the fastest and is associated with stress, work, and concentration. Alpha, the next level, is where we access creativity, calmness, and insight. Writers seem to swing between alpha and beta, like word monkeys swinging between these higher and lower branches, in a cafe or a bar one minute (people watching, of course, but also receiving a general buzz of stimulation from the busy environment), then hidden away, hermit-like, at home. At these times, in the words of poet Sheenagh Pugh, most writers “don’t want to be talked to”. What a bipolar bunch we are! For many, the train or bus journey provides the perfect place for writing. There’s the lull which comes from the moving vehicle (alpha); there is a moderate amount of stimulation (beta); we are amongst other people (social), but we don’t know them so are also alone (solitude). This is the perfect mix, and allows the writer to veer between brain states and social modes. Is this the reason why so many poets cannot drive? “I do think that not driving aids writing, because it allows more dead time, like when sitting on a train, when the brain has a chance to go into neutral, which is when it comes up with its best creative thoughts,” says Rebecca Lowe, a Swansea-based writer. So, the best place for writers, the tricky buggers, is that weird in-between place – a veering, both/neither a lulled, yet gently stimulated, state. Or, in the words of Dylan, “Now behind the eyes and secrets of the dreamers in the streets rocked to sleep by the sea...” But what we, of course know from Dylan’s own life is that this gentle rocking just wasn’t enough. The Writing Shed was a place to sit and mull; but writing occurred in other places, too. Too much quiet solitude and the work just doesn’t get done. We need those streets as well, along with coffee, and alcohol, and parties, and people, and travel. Above all else the inner landscape is the one that needs tending, and it’s this mix of surfeit, then famine, sociability, then solitude, that is far more important than having a designated desk at which to sit and write. — CCQ
Dylan actually started writing Under Milk Wood when he was still just a lad. Premonitions and precursors occur in earlier work, beginning when the poet was aged just 17, and continue onwards to include the much later Quite Early One Morning, which holds many similarities to the more famous play, not least in its opening lines. This was published in 1945, four years before Dylan moved into The Boathouse. The play itself was finalised in New York in 1953, with the poet completing it on the afternoon of the day it was to be premiered – but only after being locked in a room to finish it by his literary agent, Liz Reitell. The last lines of the script were handed to the actors as they were putting on their make-up. In fact, Dylan was much less prolific in the Writing Shed than he had been as a youth in 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, despite the panoramic views of the estuary enjoyed from its gorgeous cliff setting. Writers love glorious views, don’t they? We think of Wordsworth tramping about over hill and vale, drawing inspiration from the beauty of nature, seeing “splendour in the grass, glory in the flower”. There are myriad writing retreats any aspiring writer can go on, provided they have the moolah (which most ‘working poets’ don’t), and they are nearly all situated in pleasant and pretty country abodes. But, where do professional writers write? Not sitting next to a river bank, usually, although solitude is a prerequisite for many. As Resident Poet in the National Botanic Garden of Wales, I draw my inspiration from flowers, but only make notes as I meander round the various gardens; it’s at home, sitting cross-legged on my sofa, laptop on my knees and coffee within reach, that I get down to the actual business of writing. Mulfran-published poet Crystal Jeans is my ‘technique twin’ in this regard. But she also used to, “write poetry on the night shift, at the dining room table while the insomniac residents chain-ate custard creams and asked for their mothers. Which is why my early poetry is mostly about dementia.” Others have written on betting slips and cafe order pads (ladies), as well as cigarette packets and menus (gents). The general consensus seems to be that inspiration may strike anywhere, at any time, and one must therefore always be ready to note down what the muse deigns to bring. Again, the hard graft of finishing, editing, and polishing a piece will be done somewhere else – usually at home, with the home comforts of tea, coffee, and wine to hand. Some writers dupe themselves into thinking their homes are offices, however, by writing at a desk and facing a blank wall. A routine, for the professional writer, may become paramount – if you ever want to turn a hobby into a paying career, that is. When novelist Haruki
“The dreamers in the streets rocked to sleep by the sea”
Image Credits: Photography: Huw Alden Davies Photographic support: John Beynon, Steve Ray, Lewys Canton, Ben Horne, Ric Bower
Drawing Dylan A hundred years after Dylan Thomas’ birth, there aren’t many people left who knew him, but artist Aneurin Jones met him, drew him and soaked up his stories. Jones follows a lineage of draughtsmen influenced by the likes of Augustus John and Frank Brangwyn. Ric Bower photographed him and recorded his memories.
I wanted to be a farmer, like my friends who had already left school. I admired them; they could wear men’s clothes, smoke a Woodbine and drink cider. At one time, though, the local learned men of the area said to my father that I had some ability in drawing and that I should go to college to further my education. This idea grew in my mind: “Why don’t I make a dart for it,” I thought. “Why don’t I break away?’” Swansea was only 40 miles away, but it was another world. It may as well have been Russia. I had never been to a city. I had never met or seen people who had grown beards and were bohemian artists, and I wanted that challenge. So I went to Swansea College of Art in 1950. I was 20. Most of my fellow students, who were a lot older than the lecturers even, were mainly ex-servicemen who had demobbed after the war. Many of them felt that they had missed a chance first time around. They often could not give a damn about the lecturers, putting them in their place, if they did not come up to the mark. I used to look up to these ex-soldiers. They were experienced people. My idol amongst the lecturers was Bill
Price. He was astonishingly gifted as a draughtsman and he was the first Welshman to win the Prix de Rome, a five-year scholarship to go to Rome at the Queen’s expense, to study Italian art. He completed the studies in three years, leaving the final two years free to just enjoy himself in Italy. Bill enjoyed teaching. He was not in any way reluctant to pass on what he knew. He would draw like an old master; he had made a start in his career by studying Frank Brangwyn and Augustus John, two of the finest Welsh draughtsmen ever to have lived. I would remember that he would tell us, “Pencil is a point medium, a vehicle of line”, and he would talk to us of the penumbra of the form. Dylan Thomas was friends with many of the lecturers at Swansea School of Art, including Bill Price. Dylan was a great character, and he had a Celtic gift for telling a story. On occasion Dylan would come and sit with us in the pub and tell us stories. I can remember doubling up with laughter, under the table, almost. His gift for holding an audience’s attention was intoxicating...
On occasion, Dylan would come in and we’d say, “Aw look it’s Dylan Thomas, we’re in for another great night.” But he would more or less ignore us, lift his hand and say nothing. He’d go and sit on one of the high stools near the bar and stare into his pint, in his own world. He didn’t want to chat. And I could see a glimpse of another side of him. Then his wife would come in and they’d quarrelled or something; they were at it there, at the bar – she was pulling his hair, they were on the floor like a cat and dog, more or less wrestling. And then before the end of the evening, it’d be, “O yes, yes, dear darling love”, you know, mmmmwhammmwha. He was several persons, really: he was a raconteur, who could keep an audience on their toes laughing; and then he would disappoint them and ignore them.
All Drawings: Aneurin Jones
He told us he was once invited to give a talk in one of the many Oxford debates, but he didnâ€™t have any money, nor coat or suit for the occasion. A friend suggested he ring up some big place in London and hire a suit. So he hired one of the best suits he could get, and he went to the debate, got drunk and was sick all over the front of his waistcoat and he did something in his trousers as well, so he told us, and then he buggered off home. He took the clothes off, dug a hole in the garden, and buried them. Some time later he had a bill, and a nasty letter, saying, â€˜Please return the suit!â€™ So he went out into the garden, took it out of the hole, made a parcel and posted it back.
I can remember Bill saying to Dylan at our drawing club, “Go sit for the students will you.” “Of course!” he said. It was on a Thursday evening. In the past we had clubbed together to pay someone who was down on their luck to sit for us for the evening and we would give them an ounce of tobacco. Sometimes, when Dylan sat, he would be quite sober; at other times, he would be mumbling away or he would go to sleep.
He told us that, as a child, he would spend the day with his grandpa as he did the rounds in his horse and trap. Because his grandpa would usually stop for a quick drink, the horse would stop outside every pub out of habit, and the horse had become accustomed to the routine and could not be persuaded to do any different, so they had to stop. His grandpa would come out and say to Dylan: “Not a word to your Grandma, lad, you have not seen me go near a pub.” Once they had returned and were sitting with the family round the table for a meal, when Dylan turned to his Grandpa and said, “I haven’t said anything have I, Grandpa, I have not said a word.” The Life of Aneurin will be published at the end of 2014 by Y Lolfa press.
Public Information Amongst the celebration of Dylan Thomas’ poetry, prose and drama, artists Craig Wood and Peter Finnemore decided to focus on Thomas’ less well-known work as a film-maker for the Ministry of Information, and then subvert it in a project that just keeps on growing.
—Craig Wood — Public Information grew out of a suggestion by Meg Anthony at Oriel Myrddin to propose a project for the Dylan Thomas 100 festival. After initial reluctance, due to acute Dylan Overkill Syndrome, I thought it would be positive, but only if entirely new work could be created. My premise was that if Dylan was working today, he would be defined as an inter-disciplinary artist; he was after all an actor, poet, scriptwriter and highly performative. So I suggested an interdisciplinary, collaborative project that would be cross-generational. The intention from the outset was to create new work that isn’t illustrative of Dylan’s work itself, but inspired by aspects of his attitude. Surprisingly, the selectors agreed to such an open and experimental brief. My first port of call was Peter Finnemore, who was so excited and so full of ideas for collaboration, that he instantly became co-curator of the project. We both felt that, apart from the immediate excitement of
collaborating across disciplines, generations and languages, the success of these works would be determined by a mutual willingness to continue beyond the remit of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival. That something new would keep unfolding. I approached AE101, a Swansea-based collective of ex-Swansea Metropolitan Fine Art students, who work primarily through interaction with the public. They present an engaging combination of social comment and humour, which builds upon a rich tradition in Swansea, established by artist groups such as Framework and The Social Club events. Peter in turn contacted Peski Records, a Cardiff-based record label that specialises in and supports experimental music from Wales and beyond. Other partners emerged, such as Geraint Francon, Jason and Becky and Joehari Lee who now feature in the project in their own right. In retrospect, it seems that both Peter and I were intrigued by decidedly
independent creative outfits who represent a facet of creativity particular to their region but expansive in their outlook. For our own collaboration, Peter and I took as our starting point, the Public Information films that Dylan had scripted for the Ministry of Information. These presented a utopian vision for a post-war era full of generosity and new opportunities, providing a stark contrast with the brutal, present day, blame culture. Peter manipulated the film footage and I provided the text to produce a utopian/dystopian image and text film work and poster series. This work along with that of all the contributors continues to evolve along with the goodwill and trust which has been apparent from the outset. We look forward to furthering these collaboration and processes for the Oriel Myrddin show and the next Public Information Night event. The drawbridge has been lowered.
All Images for this and following spread: Public Information, digital print poster â€“ Peter Finnemore & Craig Wood, 2014
—Peter Finnemore— 2013 and 2014 are birth centenaries of two notable Thomas poets – DM and RS. RS Thomas for me is the better poet; he has sparse, direct and precise language that communicates insight. However, Dylan Thomas has the greater cultural legacy and reach and his craft of using the sounds of words, creating montages of slippery imagery and fashioning surreal juxtapositions make him the godfather of the most energetic and vital of literary genres – the Beats – as exemplified by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Thomas’ namesake Bob Dylan. In simplistic terms, they just got it. They understood the possibilities of this slippery evocative and fragmented language that Thomas had crafted – it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s about being beat, about being down in the world, it’s like old time low downs, like ancient civilisations with slave boatpeople rowing galleons to the beat, like servants spinning pottery to the beat, nice one! You dig it mun? … There is an existential life force at play within the spirit of the Beats. It has qualities of energy, theatre, performance, community and fullness at its heart. This force is powerful and electric and primal. I witnessed it first hand at the funeral of Thomas’ wife Caitlin Thomas in Laugharne in 1994. During the funeral ceremony, there was an almighty thunderstorm which blew out the electricity in the church, the service had to be held by candlelight. This was pure theatre, atmospheric and totally uncanny. It was this spirit of performance, theatre and community that I took as a starting point for my collaboration with Craig, agreeing that we would avoid territories that would deal with heritage, nostalgia, although our particular anchor into the work and life of Dylan Thomas was his little known scripts for the Ministry of Public Information for a series of propaganda films made between 1942 – 45. Thomas wasn’t enlisted into the army due to ill-health, but his contribution to the war effort and beyond is significant. These films and Thomas’ scripts are important as they articulate a vision of the future after war – a common purpose with the decency of British people at its heart – a Britain transformed through the welfare state, through new modern housing, workers rights, free health service regardless of income, better education to unlock latent talents, the nationalization of resources for the common good. A template for a fair and equal society.
Unfortunately recent, radical right wing policies are actively directed to the dismantling of the postwar settlement with the British people. There has been an extraordinary political land grab that is shaping our social landscape and creating a collective mindset of fear. The 2007/8 global banking crisis has been rebranded by the right, as having been caused not by corporate greed but by a bloated welfare state/public sector. The values and template of the fair and just society and protection given to the most vulnerable within our society is being eroded at a dramatic pace. Within this mindset, art and culture is also distrusted, devalued and undermined. To bring these current and pressing issues to the fore, and to create a public and communal forum where the arts become visible and fight back, we decided to create a series of Public Information Nights where we would relocate the wartime communal spirit of Dylan Thomas and postwar national generosity into the contemporary settings of 2013 and 2014. The contributing participants were given a free hand to interpret, form and visualise the idea of Public Information. Thomas associated with a range of creative, cultural and intellectual types. If alive today we’re sure he would be collaborating with other artists, musicians, authors and performers. Public Information Nights becomes an antidote to the joyless and fearful society that is being shaped around us; a rallying call for shared cultural values of generosity, commonality and to the joy of creative participation. — CCQ An extended exhibition based upon the Public Information Night at Volcano Theatre, Swansea in December 2013 opens at Oriel Myrddin on 27 September orielmyrddingallery.co.uk Public Information Night (My Breath is Shed) will be undertaking a 24-hour live Internet broadcast from Dylan’s Shed in Laugharne on 27 September
The Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive In a series of events re-imagining encounters with writers and artists that may or may not have occurred in The White Horse Tavern, Greenwich Village, audiences visit Dylan Thomas’ bohemian world in 1950s New York. Artistic director David Drake provides the context for Bedazzled.
When Dylan Thomas was a young man in Swansea, America was the vibrant, modern, alluring place depicted in the movies he saw in his local cinema and in the magazines and books he read. Was the America he experienced as a visiting celebrity writer the America he had imagined? Does what happened in New York help us unravel the tangled web of Dylan’s character and shed light on that last creative burst before his untimely demise? America embraced Thomas and his natural gift with words like no other British poet before him. After his first long reading tour of the continent in 1950, he was fêted Stateside and, when in New York, he’d often be found at the bar of The White Horse Tavern, drink in hand, surrounded by adoring students and fellow writers, holding forth in inimitable style. ‘The Horse’ was a regular stopping-off point for seamen working on the Hudson River. Imagine the scene: in one corner of the bar, dockworkers and union activists discuss strike tactics; whilst in the other, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg explode the American Dream. For the ‘Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive’ this provided the perfect stage for his notorious beer and whisky-fuelled performances and the promise of some verbal jousting with New York’s literary luminaries.
Greenwich Village after the war was the one place in America that nonconformists, individualists, bohemians, avant-gardists, experimenters, could feel at home. Providing an escape from post-war austerity and the conservative mores of mainstream American society, this small corner of New York was where men and women could dress unconventionally, talking art, philosophy and literature with the Beat writers, painters, musicians and filmmakers, hanging out in the cafes all day, and in the bars and diners all night. And by night, the Village bars became the gathering places for those who wanted to drink hard, chew the fat, pick up lovers and be invited to an afterhours party.
This autumn, Bedazzled tours Wales, presenting a series of live multi-disciplinary performances and events exploring the contradiction of the outward persona of the rock ’n’ roll poet and his concealed inner artistic world, beset by self-doubt and uncertainty. — CCQ
Bedazzled is conceived by artistic director David Drake, writer Ben Gwalchmai and composer John Rea. The project includes a series of live performances in New Quay, Swansea and Cardiff during October/early November 2014. bedazzledinnewyork.org
01 Original Event Poster
02 Original Pencil Sketch, Dylan Thomas, c.1936, National Library of Wales
Ach y fi! Ach y fi! – A Play for Vices
Peter Finnemore & Russell Roberts mined the archives of the National Library of Wales to create Ach y fi! Ach y fi! – A Play for Vices, an exhibition exploring the life and work of Dylan Thomas. Their findings offer a poetic and eclectic approach to interpreting the archive. Thomas briefly encountered Surrealism in the 1930s. His preoccupations with sex and death, which form some of the core themes and imagery in Under Milk Wood, are teased out by Finnemore and Roberts. Ach y fi! Ach y fi! – A Play for Vices, Peter Finnemore & Russell Roberts is currently on at the National Library Wales, aberystwyth. llgc.org.uk/
Adventures In The Skin Trade An eleventh hour discovery by Theatr Iolo’s director, Kevin Lewis, saved him from despair as he hunted for a Dylan Thomas text that would appeal to young audiences. He tells Emma Geliot about the adaptation process from page to stage for a tale of hormones, lust and teenage rebellion. Illustration: Laura Sorvala
Emma Geliot: Theatr Iolo is perhaps best known for working with some quite challenging European texts and bringing them to young audiences. When you decided to tackle Dylan Thomas for the centenary festival did you have anything in mind? Kevin Lewis: I have to admit that when it was suggested Theatr Iolo should do something for the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, I wasn’t hugely enthusiastic or particularly interested. Apart from Under Milk Wood, A Child’s Christmas in Wales and a few poems, I didn’t really know much about his work. Skimming through several of the early stories in Cardiff Central Library, nothing really captured my imagination; I couldn’t see anything that might make a theatre show or communicate with today’s teenagers. And then, at quarter to six, as the library was about to shut, I started to read Adventures in the Skin Trade and was immediately captivated. The image of young Samuel Bennett in his parents’ house at two in the morning, cutting up family photographs and engaging in other destructive activities, gripped me and the seed was sown. I carried on reading in a nearby bar and was caught up in the gloriously surreal and nightmarish tale of a young person desperate to escape from his dull life with his family in South Wales and plunge into the exciting life he imagined waiting for him in London. My mind was racing with ideas about how this unfinished novel, started by Dylan
Thomas in the early 1930s, might be turned into theatre. It had all the ingredients for a wild and crazy piece of theatre: violent and immature acts of rebellion; a preoccupation with sex; an embarrassing romantic interlude in a dingy bathroom (which leads to an almost fatal accident); philosophical thoughts and conversations from an adolescent trying to make sense of the world; a number of wonderful and eccentric characters that make up Samuel’s new world; scenes of drunkenness and debauchery – and all written with Dylan’s relish for words and surreal turns of phrase. EG: Did it worry you that it was such a little-known story? KL: That just fuelled my desire to develop it. I discovered that there had been a production at Hampstead Theatre when it first opened in the 1960s, directed by James Roose Evans. A young David Hemmings played Samuel Bennett and Anontioni saw it and went on to cast him in Blow Up! EG: Then you had to adapt it for the stage and your audiences. How does that work? KL: Theatr Iolo had commissioned Lucy Gough twice before and she was as excited as I had been when she read Skin Trade. So we set off on our creative journey over two years ago, in the summer of 2012.
Summer 2014 because we are a touring company and it all has to fit into a van and also because we prefer to create space for the audience to use their imagination to fill in the gaps and complete the picture. I’ve been very influenced by children’s play – how children take something like a stick and pretend it’s a horse, or a row of chairs becomes a train. We will have a bath in the show and I’m sure one of the crowded bar scenes will be staged with all six actors crowded into the bath and the barmaid drawing imaginary pints from the taps. EG: So it’s more about process rather than challenges? EG: Lucy didn’t just go off and write the stage version in isolation, did she? KL: No. First we had to test the material with actors. We discovered that the piece was very funny as well as being disturbingly dramatic. That initial visceral excitement by all involved is what keeps a project going throughout the long arduous process of bringing it to fruition. The third draft will go into rehearsal this autumn. Key to all this process has been having enough time: time to write; time to reflect; time to forget; time to let the subconscious do its work; time to explore; time to test things. EG: Turning text fiction into theatre must have been challenging. How did you tackle it? KL: Well, to avoid a lot of monologues, Lucy came up with the device of a chorus of three harpies. They also take on all the other female roles and she describes them as, “All the fantasies in Samuel’s mind, the women in his street who he has spied on and lusted after for years and are now inside his head. They plague him and argue with him, tease him, arouse him, challenge him. They speak his darker ruminations, his sensitive poetic thoughts and his fantasies; they know him inside out.” They have proved to be a dynamic and interesting way of bringing to life this aspect of the novel whilst also providing a female perspective to balance the outpourings of the young Samuel Bennett. The story is set in several locations: a house in Wales; a toilet on the train to London; the bar at Paddington Station; a rainy street; a junk shop full to the brim with furniture; a dingy bathroom; a taxi; bars and pubs – and, potentially, it all takes place in Samuel’s head. The challenge for me, as director, and for designer Neil Davies is how to evoke all these locations with the minimum amount of stuff,
KL: Continuing the work started in the workshops held over the last couple of years, will consist of putting objects and furniture in the rehearsal room to create a playground in which the actors can experiment. Gradually, this will all get whittled down to just the essentials that are required to evoke the different worlds of the play. Parallel to this, I’ll work with sound artist/ composer, John Norton. Although Dylan Thomas started writing his novel in the 1930s, we plan to draw on sounds and music from different periods, as well as original creations, to support the play’s atmosphere and emotional temperature. Before rehearsals begin in September, we’re following our noses, trying to be open to Lucy’s text, to Dylan Thomas’ original unfinished novel, trying to discover specific keys to unlock it and bring it to life. This will involve lots of conversations about our own young adult lives. We’ll also hold open rehearsals and have conversations with young people in schools and colleges about the themes and experiences in the tale. Adventures in the Skin Trade tells a universal story – a young person about to leave home and be pitched into a life in the big city. It’ll be fascinating to talk to young people and to get their take on this little-known Dylan Thomas story. What does it mean to be a teenager/ young adult now? How is that similar/ different to Samuel Bennett’s experience? What is the nature of this life so far? What does my future life hold? Is my future life elsewhere? Will I find love? Will I be fulfilled? Am I on my own? Does anyone understand me? — CCQ Adventures in the Skin Trade will be touring venues across Wales in October 2014, and then to the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Arts Centre in the summer of 2015. theatriolo.com
Raw Material When inter-disciplinary artist Marc Rees and his collaborator Jon Tregenna conceived the idea of inhabiting Laugharne – the Carmarthenshire village where Dylan Thomas lived, thought, got inspired and is buried - it was never going to be a straightforward presentation. Instead the performance, which became National Theatre Wales’ Raw Material: Llareggub Revisited, took a delightfully convoluted tack. David Alston talks to Rees about owls, graves, sheds, bras and knitting.
David Alston: So why Raw Material? Marc Rees: I think of myself as an archival detective, piecing often seemingly disparate material together in order to create new meaning and ways of experiencing, turning the raw material into an alternative reality. The root had to be Dylan. I discovered that during his daily visits to Browns Hotel he used to sit in the front bay to sup on a midmorn Felinfoel ale, play cards with the landlady and, through the open window, catch the stories of the town going about its fantastical business. He thought of it as a weird and wonderful place, ‘the strangest town in Wales’, and in many ways it still is; still revelling in character and rumour. So, my role was to soak it up like a sponge, encounter its characters and revel in its eccentricities, just like Dylan. Like Under Milk Wood, my project had to derive from its people, so with my partner in creative cahoots, writer Jon Tregenna (and, conveniently, manager of Browns), we wandered the town, sponges at the ready. Strolling by the ‘brown as owls’ castle walls and passing a renovated house we saw a live owl performing a signaling dance in the window and heard that the builder kept 20 of them at home…so they had to be in the show, well, at least seven of them and a stuffed one, or was it two? Then, bumping into a man who turned out to be a taxidermist walking his dog sparked the back-story of VOYCE, our chief protagonist. Dylan created First Voice as
Under Milk Wood’s narrator and we invented our re-imagining – a pilferer, a poacher and a pirate (DJ) who collates his own raw material to pay homage to Dylan Thomas, his fictional Llareggub and, in turn, his love for Laugharne. DA: What about the form the piece took – its hybridity between performance and installation, of which I’m a fan, but which some found more frustrating? MR: The performance was bookended with dramatic action. It began with the audience discovering that VOYCE had hijacked a fictional township tour and ended with the audience gathered around the town hall to witness his standoff with the original tour guide, all with the added backdrop of Dylan reciting his Prose: Laugharne booming from the bell tower. But, in between, you made your own choices, created your own personal journey of discovery. Early on in the process, we joked of setting up a turnstile outside the township and letting the audience through to see what experiences, observations and gossip they could gather and to let the place speak for itself of its alleged strangeness. In Under Milk Wood you eavesdrop on a fictional seaside town’s tidal comings and goings. It’s a 24-hour snapshot of a place and its people, their dreams and daily routines. In our show very few ‘collected’ all 28 odd scenes, though some tried; nobody ‘saw’ the same piece; experiences were different, filtered, woven together depending on what
you encountered throughout the trail; even if you witnessed only six you would still get the show’s essence – that for me was a vital trait. I can’t really define the genre of my work and I don’t particularly want to. In some ways the spectator has to inhabit their own imaginative space, become an archaeologist in their own right. Those who enjoyed the piece were probably ones that entered into the spirit of inventive digging. Yes it’s challenging, but art should be. I’m not a fan of being told what to do and how you should feel and engage. DA: There were spine-tingling moments, I thought, like the kids’ nursery rhyme kicking in from the far side of a playing field when the soundtrack of No-Good Boyo’s abandoned car paused, or the mirrored shed bobbing on the estuary, and the accidental discovery that, apart from the writing shed, Laugharne has quite a collection of sheds (a discovery I made when I got lost!) Or the mash up of A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (original host for Dylan in Laugharne) with Bob Dylan’s Shelter From the Storm. The piece was riddled with reflections and stories within stories; the kind of layering and detail, which I know you enjoy working with. MR: Yes, the children’s playground chants in Under Milk Wood and George Martin’s ‘80s recorded version, both had the Laugharne school involved, so we also invited them
‘I loved it when somebody took a mannequin’s arm from Butcher Beynon’s crime scene,..’
to participate. I like the juxtaposition of No-Good Boyo’s über-yellow car (the same colour as our Hollywood-style LLAREGGUB, sign that adorned our shed terrace on Corrugation St), VOYCE’s broadcast resonating from the car stereo, with the kids from the school in the distance playing, rapping the prose across the park. They also made the carnival float, seen at another point along the route. Everything was connected, all details carefully scrutinised. Bringing in The Laugharne Players, who have been performing Under Milk Wood annually since it was written and finding that one member had been lovingly knitting her way through the play’s characters and who kindly captured VOYCE in wool for me, and yes reflections – all the graves in the cemetery faced upwards, all but Caitlin’s name, which is on the back of Dylan’s simple white wooden cross. That led to the idea of the mirrored graveyard on the other side of the valley reflecting the clouds and sky back. DA: For me it was the pleasure too of finding and un-wrapping stories you planted and wanted people to find: the two ships in a bottle leaning on a grave, which told of losses at sea; of sons in their prime and their fathers’ life going on. It seems you wanted a piece full of the sense of mortality, and yet, as in the original, the earthiness and ribaldry that Dylan’s Under Milk Wood undoubtedly has. MR: It was the shared source and stimulus; that serendipity again being revealing. The cellar in the Pelican – the house where Dylan’s mother and father lived and that held his wake – had an abandoned bar in the shape of a boat in the basement. So it had to become Captain Cat’s Cocktail Cellar. And, yes, elsewhere some double-entendres, the odd erotic fancy or two, even bra bunting. We actually held a bra-amnesty, a ‘bramnesty’, where people dropped them off at Browns. The first one deposited was from Kitty John who, as a 16 year old telephonist, received the info that Dylan was in a coma in New York and had to break the news to Catlin. Her offering was bright pink, decorated with a single-sequined dolphin. I think Dylan would have loved that. It’s crucial that people have ownership of the idea, are willing participants or even secret contributors. I loved it when somebody took a mannequin’s arm from Butcher Beynon’s crime scene, found a bunch of roses and offered it to the bust of Dylan, which was clad in a woollen tank top that we gave him. A spontaneous shrine, made by someone compelled to respond, that’s bloody wonderful! — CCQ
Raw Material: Llareggub Revisited, created by Marc Rees and Jon Tregenna, a National Theatre Wales production in collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales David Alston is Arts Director for the Arts Council of Wales
All Images: Raw Material: Llareggub Revisited, created by Marc Rees and Jon Tregenna, a National Theatre Wales production in collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales. Photography: Warren Orchard
Dinner With Dylan —João Morais— —woodcuts: John Abell—
You couldn’t mistake the features of that puffed-up face at the bar, even if you wanted to. The red-bloom cheeks of a habitual drinker. The bulging eyes of a dead, decaying eel. This was Browns Hotel after all, and Dylan Thomas’ face was on every surface. There were pictures of him on the walls, on the windowsills, and the bar. Even the coasters bore his iconic, youthful Augustus John. ‘What are you looking at?’ Kate says. ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’ The date wasn’t going well. The food was great - the filet mignon, a bit too pink for medium rare perhaps, but not worth complaining about considering the awkwardness of their conversation. Small talk only lasts so long. And they had so much they could talk about; they had academia in common, after all - she, Dylan Thomas; he, Sylvia Plath. But Jamie couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t saying the right things. It had taken him a year to pluck up the courage, since seeing her at last year’s festival. He couldn’t blow it now. ‘Must be another impersonator from the competition’, he says, but he isn’t totally sure of himself. ‘Could be the winner celebrating or something.’
Kate turns around and looks, but she doesn’t mention the uncanny likeness. ‘I’ll be back in a second’, she says, and gets up and walks towards the toilets, as Jamie wonders how he’s going to ask her what her favourite Thomas poem is in the third different way in twenty minutes. Jamie catches the eye of the impersonator once again, leaning at the bar. He stares back with his bulbous, dark brown eyes. Jamie can’t help but notice the detail, right down to the double whisky and curly hairline. Impeccably Dylanesque. And then the impersonator pushes himself off the bar and walks over, in a straight line. Right through a flirty young couple close enough to appear conspiratorial. Right through a table of middle-aged men wearing shirts of different shades of pink. Right through the old boy doing his Times crossword with a pint of bitter for company. Dylan takes a sip of his drink. ‘Wait, that’s not possible’, Jamie says to him. ‘What the hell?’ Dylan puts his glass on the table. ‘Well you wouldn’t expect me to go gentle into that good night’, he says - as grandiose and hammed as anything he did for the BBC. ‘Where else would you expect me to haunt?
Fern Hill - too windy; Cwmdonkin Drive – too depressing. No, it was always going to be Browns.’ Jamie reaches out, and his hand, past his cuff, goes straight through Dylan’s stomach. He tries to pick up Dylan’s glass from the table but he just clenches his hand into a fist. ‘I think I need another drink’, Jamie says, before glugging down half his glass of vino tinto. Dylan waits for him to finish coughing. ‘It’s not that complicated’, he says. ‘Put it this way. You seem to be in need of help. Maybe that’s why you can see me. Nobody else ever does.’ Jamie looks around at the bar, and at the diners sat around their tables: no one had noticed a thing. ‘Look, maybe I can assist you’, Dylan says. ‘Just say what I tell you to say. If you repeat after me then she will be yours by the time they bring out the Irish coffees.’ The date wasn’t going well. Kate dries her hands and heads back out. And she’d had such high hopes for the evening, after being flattered and asked out to dinner at the end of the festival.
OK, she would give it one last chance. There was something remarkably attentiongrabbing about Jamie’s strong, stubbled jawline after all, even if his conversation skills were a bit flat. Kate comes out and makes eye contact with him. She can’t help noticing that there’s something different about the way Jamie looks. He isn’t slouching or checking the time on his phone, but sitting upright with a wide smile on his face as she approaches. ‘I think we’ve talked enough about academia tonight’, Jamie says, all smiles. ‘Let’s not forget, the great bard himself once said, “Poetry is not the most important thing in life. I’d much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha Christie and sucking sweets.”’ She laughs, of course, just like the interviewer did when Dylan had said it himself once. She’d read about it in her research. ‘You’ve been paying attention’, she says, as she finds herself leaning on the table and trying not to flick her hair. ‘Of course I have’, he says back. ‘I’ve been a fan of Dylan since I was a child. I had one of his books for Christmas once. That was a cold winter, but I do tend to get them mixed up. I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.’ ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales now’, she says, just so he knows she hasn’t been outdone. ‘I bet you were thinking really hard of things to say when I went to the bathroom.’ As she tops up their glasses, all she can think is that he could be a different man, compared to what he was like before. ‘You’re right’, he says back. ‘Someone’s boring me. I think it’s me.’ The date was going really well. She was obviously into him, Dylan thought, despite his awkward fidgeting. He just didn’t have a way with words. It must have been the stress of it all that brought Dylan out to be visible to him. Maybe, when his body got back into a more unstressed mode, normal service would resume and he’d be invisible again. They were just finishing off the rhubarb pudding they were sharing. Dylan was pretty sure that their legs were touching under the table. ‘Say, “Though lovers be lost, love shall not...” to her’, Dylan says. ‘ She’ll like that one.’ Jamie looks at Dylan, then turns to Kate. ‘I say we skip the coffee here and go have one at mine’, he says. ‘That’s not one of my lines’, Dylan says. ‘I never said that before.’
‘That’s a bit forward’, Kate says. ‘Maybe we should have one here.’ ‘Make out like it was a joke,’ Dylan says, ‘then change the subject. Pretend it didn’t happen.’ Jamie doesn’t look at Dylan, even though Dylan can sense that he can still see him. ‘I just think we’re getting on very well’, Jamie says. ‘It’s like Dylan himself used to say, “You’re like good coffee; you could keep me up all night.”’ ‘Wait, I never said that in my life,’ Dylan says, ‘or my death either, for that matter.’ ‘I don’t think that’s appropriate,’ Kate says, ‘and I think I’d know if Dylan ever said that.’ Jamie looks panicked. ‘No, what I mean is, we could talk all night. We could talk about Dylan and what he was like. I thought he was great, I met him before, you know.’ ‘What? That’s not even possible. He probably died when your parents were kids. Did you go to the bar when I was in the bathroom? You’re being a bit creepy. How much did you drink?’ ‘Tell her you’ve had less than half a bottle, same as her’, Dylan says. ‘Then say you’re going to order some coffees at the bar.’ ‘Eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record’, Jamie says. ‘Just like Dylan.’ ‘Oh for God’s sake’, Dylan says. ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough’, Kate says. Jamie tries to call out as she gets up and walks straight out of the dining area, past the bar, and out the front door. He turns to look at Dylan. ‘I thought I had it in the bag,’ he says, ‘and now all I have is the bloody bill.’ Dylan holds his brow and shakes his head. ‘I have one more thing to say to you: “And death shall have no dominion”, but right now I wish it would, you stupid stinker. Boy am I glad Cyrano de Bergerac hadn’t turned up for a swift half. That would have been embarrassing.’ And with that Dylan walks off, ready to ignore anyone who may or may not need his help. Maybe if he heads outside he can find a smoker, and they can inadvertently blow smoke into his face. — CCQ
“Where else would you expect me to haunt?” 54
Shattered One of the most dramatic stories in the history of North Walian quarrymen is to be the centrepiece of the opening of Pontio, Bangor University’s new arts and innovation centre. Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, commissioned author Gareth Miles to adapt T. Rowland Hughes’ classic Welsh language novel, Chwalfa (A Shattering), into a work for the stage. Alun Gibbard met him in Pontypridd. Portrait: Andrea Liggins.
T. Rowland Hughes, himself the son of a quarryman, put pen to paper to write the story of the longest industrial dispute in British labour history. Chwalfa tells the story of the workers of the Penrhyn Quarry. Gareth Miles explains, “Lord Penrhyn, the owner, refused to recognise any trade union activity at Penrhyn, an enormous quarry, employing thousands of men. He completely refused to meet union representatives to discuss their concerns. When those same workers then refused to accept Lord Penrhyn’s demands, he locked the gates to the quarry. So it was, in fact, a lock out as opposed to a strike.” Gareth Miles’ adaption of the novel for the stage will be performed for ten nights in the autumn. Despite having toured major productions before, Theatr Genedlaethol have never had such a long run in a single place, which will provide its own challenges. The adaption process too was a challenge for Gareth Miles, who is no stranger to working on stage productions, having already undertaken the monumental task of translating Hamlet into Welsh. “I had to deconstruct the novel and get at the essence of the story, regardless of its literary form. Novel and drama have very different conventions and, after reading the novel many times, the challenge was then to set about telling the story through characters on stage.”
In the process of retelling the story of Chwalfa, he came to his own conclusions as to what the essence of the story was, which echoes other literary analysts’ comments on the broader context of Chwalfa, including those of Professor T.J. Morgan. For him, the novel is “…about the effort between goodness and prejudice, purity of intention and selfish motives; between character and cowardice… its essence is that man has to choose a side in a conflict or that a conflict will show which side he is on.” Miles reflects,“I don’t think that the battle at Penrhyn Quarry was just about morality as such; it was more to do with the battle between the capitalist aristocracy, the dictating class and the workers who refused to be treated like slaves. These quarrymen weren’t socialists, they were liberals who stood up for their right to be treated as human beings, but who naively thought that they would win just because they were right. Their principled stand was both their strength and weakness.” For the stage production, Miles has adapted the original and amalgamated some central characters, but, as he said when he won the Welsh Book of the Year in 2008, “The writer of fiction must tell lies in order to speak the truth.” Gareth Miles’ office in Pontypridd (above a chip shop and a slimming centre)
sits in the shadow of the tower that once was the HQ of the National Union of Miners in Wales. The significance of staging Chwalfa in the year of the thirtieth anniversary of the Miners’ Strike of 1984/85 is not lost on him. He was active in supporting the cause of the miners who took strike action as a protest against government plans to close pits and make thousands of miners unemployed. “The battles were the same in essence. It was a Tory government attempt to use politics to eradicate a whole industry because that industry had inflicted a defeat on them through similar strike action in the Seventies.” Unlike the industrial unrest of a hundred years ago in North Wales, however, this strike, much closer to our time, has not proven to be a major source of inspiration for writers, poets or artists. Very little has been published, performed or shown in the last thirty years that tells the story of the way the industry that shaped modern Wales came to such an abrupt and dramatic end. Gareth Miles agrees, saying that it is the result of another trend in recent Welsh literature, in Welsh and English languages; one that highlights a stark contrast to the time that T. Rowland Hughes is writing about. “Chwalfa does something that books today don’t do so much. The focus of Chwalfa, is the community. As politics has become more right wing over recent decades
in the UK, so the arts have followed. There is an obsession with individualism and a degree of introspection in works of fiction and other art forms. This leads to works being about the artist themselves instead of the communities in which they live.” Ioan Kidd also addresses this point in his novel Dewis (Choice), which was chosen as the (2014) Welsh Language Book of the Year. Ioan turns to post-industrial and city communities as the backdrop for the unfolding drama of the families in his story. Not only are the writers and artists turning their attention elsewhere, another change has become evident since the time which T. Rowland Hughes was depicting.
“The quarrymen at the turn of the last century,” says Miles, “were literature-loving people, many of whom would have been very active in writing both poetry and prose, they would also have been avid debaters on the issues of the day, in public and in private. That same tradition is not evident in today’s workplaces.” It seems poetically appropriate that many of the same quarrymen contributed generously to the building of Bangor University at the turn of the 20th century. — CCQ
Chwalfa will be the opening production at Theatr Bryn Terfel, Pontio in Bangor. It is a Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production in partnership with Pontio and Cwmni’r Frân Wen For information about Chwalfa, theatr.com Tour dates: 17 September (preview), 18 – 20 September, 23 – 27 September Pre-show talks: 23 September 18:30, 27 September 12:00 Alun Gibbard’s novel, Talcen Caled, set against the backdrop of the 1984/1985 Miners’ Strike, is published by Y Lolfa.
Golden Mile Kajal Nisha Patel questions her own cultural identity as she explores the Asian community of Belgrave in Leicester. Words: Ric Bower
RIc Bower: Your involved approach to portraiture is intriguing, is this approach due to your own upbringing in Belgrave and your sense of belonging to two cultures? Kajal Nisha Patel: I didn’t grow up in Belgrave itself. I grew up in an area that was predominantly white. Going into Belgrave I felt more at home in some ways. The school I went to was predominantly white; maybe there were a fifth or a sixth of us that had ethnic-minority backgrounds. Going into Asian areas, at that age, I definitely felt like something had been missing from my life. My parents wanted to enforce Indian-ness upon us so that ‘we wouldn’t lose our culture,’ but I don’t think they knew what that really meant. For them culture was ritualistic things, like wearing Indian clothes on the weekends. We almost had to ‘make time’ to be Indian, so it was still quite separate from our actual experience. People around us, I found for the most part, didn’t understand anything about Indian culture or the history between England and India. It simply wasn’t on our national curriculum in Leicester. Essentially my practice is a single, ongoing project. I’m trying to get my head around the younger generation of British Asians at the moment and I am wondering if they are going through the same kind of crisis of identity that I did. RB: You categorise the different generations within the Golden Mile project with labels like ‘The Inbetweeners’ and ‘the First Generation’. How do you categorise yourself? KNP: I think I would be an ‘Inbetweener’. When you’re in India, people don’t necessarily
see you as Indian. I always felt like I had to prove something when I went back. The language, for instance: I consider myself quite fluent in my mother tongue but, because I don’t speak it every day and the dialect is different, I can stutter occasionally, which they pick up on. I always felt like I just wanted to blend in and integrate – I didn’t want that feeling of displacement; I wanted to immerse myself in Indian culture. It came as a bit of an epiphany that, although I didn’t quite fit into either culture, that that was OK. Someone asked me if I would see myself as being more British or more Indian. I would say I am both 100% British and 100% Indian; I don’t feel the need to choose. I feel I can be 100% present in both national identities, wherever I am in the world. The longest time I have spent in India was eight months while I did an internship for an NGO [Non Governmental Organisation] in Gujarat. At the time, I wasn’t a full-time photographer; I wanted the experience to influence my emerging practice. I didn’t really know what documentary storytelling was, in the traditional sense. It was a really intense, soulsearching period. I was both assimilating a visual language and immersing myself in issues of social change at the same time. Poverty is something that interests a lot of people in my generation. I realised very quickly though, that taking a few photographs wasn’t really going to achieve anything on its own.
KNP: I don’t have a traditional academic understanding of photography. So everything I know is from what I’ve experienced. I think the future lies in technology; I’ve started a social enterprise called Light Seekers, we want to create a live connection between two schools, one in India and the other in the UK.
RB: That’s an interesting point. In your mind then, what does photography have to offer humanity now? For much of the twentieth century, there existed this idea, that you could record certain ‘decisive moments’ with a camera, and they carried the potential to be instrumental in societal change.
Kajal Nisha Patel presented and talked about her work at The Eye Festival at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in June 2014.
RB: You’re self-taught, what does that mean and how does it inform your approach? KNP: It means I’m not bound by the traditions and expectations of the industry. I don’t look for editorial work and I don’t try to fit myself into the mould of what a photographer ‘should be’. RB: Your practice operates from within your own community, you are embedded, how does this work for you? KNP: It has its downsides but also it has its advantages; it’s great being able to speak the language and, being a woman, people are less threatened when I am there with a camera. On the downside I find myself assuming that a lot of the things I’m seeing and experiencing are a given. I have also come to the realisation that I am always observing events through the filter of my own mind and my own experience anyway. — CCQ
kajalpatel.com lightseekers.co.uk theeyefestival.co.uk
All images: Golden Mile I and Golden Mile II, Kajal Nisha Patel
Genius Loci Presenting an exhibition about artists working in the public realm, in a temporary pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, offers up an interesting paradox. Lisson Gallery’s Ossian Ward talks to Denise Kwan about the challenges of exhibiting art that responds to the notion of spirit of place (or genius loci) without the specifics of site.
Denise Kwan: The premise of the exhibition is an intriguing one, can you explain the idea behind Genius Loci?
pitch artists against each other, but certainly there are similarities and differences. What was difficult was to have an exhibition about public art in which not all the work was actually public art because the scale and the ambition of it meant that we couldn’t always exhibit it. In some cases, we did and, for example, we have the large Ai Weiwei bicycle sculpture Forever; it was outside, right next to the Accademia Bridge. It was very recognisable and immediately arresting. The siting is interesting, it’s probably the only city in the world where you can’t take a bicycle — Venice is impossible to cycle around!
Ossian Ward: The original meaning of the term ‘genius loci’ is an ancient deity or some kind of guardian or spirit that would protect a place. You could transpose this idea to a work of art. A work of art can come to represent a place and become a part of its spirit. ‘Genius loci’ has become a term associated with creating a character for a space by using architecture. In terms of art, we thought that’s an interesting idea. Let’s say you are building a city centre, when does art become a part of the conversation? Quite often, it’s late on. We wanted to talk about all the different aspects about public art. Sometimes it’s seen as window dressing and at the last minute you have an artist brought in to pretty things up. That doesn’t seem to be a brilliant way of doing things to me. The spirit of place is about trying to create things that are in harmony with the architecture, the landscape and nature. It’s not about pitting the architect against the artist. Artists are very good at picking up on a sensitivity of a place and creating something that has a resonance with the people who use that space. Lisson Gallery has done so much work with its artists in the public realm that we feel we should be making more of this. Public art is such a complicated and thorny subject that the exhibition is just scratching the surface. We are just beginning.
DK: That’s also quite a humorous association to come from Weiwei’s sculpture. OW: Forever is humorous and the very title tells you that bicycles aren’t forever. Beijing isn’t the site of bicycles that it once was. A bicycle was a symbol of freedom and it was the first type of transport that allowed citizens, like himself, to just roam. Now, of course, it is the car. Things change and contexts change. DK: The idea of change is intriguing with his work and it’s a notion that has become more pronounced because of the Venice siting.
DK: Genius Loci is such an evocative and universal idea, how do you see the artworks unpacking this concept?
OW: That’s the difficulty; public art should be carefully sited and properly thought out. We knew we couldn’t do that with all the work. We had a new piece of work made with Daniel Buren, which is a coloured canopy that changes your perspective when you walk in. It functions as a public work and acts as an entranceway and reflects his other bigger work at Grand Palais and Baltic. We didn’t want to try and recreate their public works. There is a room designed by Carmody Groarke with documentation of existing public projects, models and smaller versions of artworks, which will become public art one day.
OW: There are discrete themes within the exhibition. You come into the first room and there is Richard Long on one side and Tatsuo Miyajima on the other. You have this dichotomy between nature and urban life, and public art can reflect both of those things. In Richard’s work, he literally brings nature into the gallery through his materials of mud and clay, while Miyajima works with LED lights and these counting gadgets that reflect our contemporary urban centres. We don’t really want to
01 —02 Sylph, Shirazeh Houshiary, 2014 Alessandrite lead glass, mirror polished steel approx. 135 x 86 cm © the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London
03 —04 Colours for a Pergola: situated work, Venice, Daniel Buren, 2014 Clear acrylic sheets, coloured self-adhesive filters, wood, screws, white paint, self-adhesive black vinyl, 3 x 9 x 3 m © Daniel Buren; Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery Photo: Ken Adlard 05 World’s Largest Graffiti, installation view, Santiago Sierra, October 2012, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery 06 Forever, Ai Weiwei, 2014, 1179 bicycles, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery
DK: Is it similar to a laboratory? OW: Yeah, that’s exactly what we wanted to call it. It’s a way of showing that these things exist in the world. Anish Kapoor is closely associated with public art. We have a work of his called Non-Object (Door), which is large but not really made as an outdoor work. It’s a mirrored piece in which your reflection and the object itself disappear because it sucks in the rest of the room through these reflections. DK: This idea of the object dissolving the viewer and the body is interesting because with public sculpture there is always the question of audience? OW: Public sculpture is a form of art that attracts media and public controversy. There is a lot of tension surrounding it. It is somehow deemed ‘made for the public’, but an artist might argue that they make it for the place rather than for the people. With public art, it is not necessarily the public with whom you have to consult and constantly go back to for feedback. The public will make of it what they will and the appreciation for a public work will change over time. Some grow to be more loved or less loved. DK: So the relationship with the audience is never fixed? OW: Its meanings, its inflections and the artist’s premise will change over time. Something that lives in the world and lives with people will change over time. You would hope the artist would have a lot of that in mind. That’s not to say that the public should have no say, because ultimately they are the ones who decide whether it is any good. The idea that it’s something that pleases everybody is never going to work. DK: Also, pleasing everyone is always a challenging premise… OW: The artwork is under greater scrutiny. Often we think of the gallery and the studio as privileged places for the production of art that aren’t subject to the bigger feelings and emotional attachments of public spaces. Once it goes out into the world, the artist and galleries have less control over its presentation. Suddenly, it becomes public property. It’s interesting to think about the life of a public project. We can only hint at these questions in the exhibition and the amount of outdoor work compared to indoor work was obviously smaller. In the context of an architecture biennale, you are often confronted with models and unrealised projects. The difference with this exhibition is that they are not models, they are real works of art; but then it is up to you to imagine their ability to make another leap. Pedro Reyes and his Palas por Pistolas project is interesting. In an advert in Mexico, he called for people to hand in their guns. It didn’t look like an art project; it looked like a genuine, peaceful and progressive thing to do. That’s probably what the best public art should aspire towards in doing something that is of benefit to the wider audience. The melted guns became shovels to dig holes for trees. There have been tree-planting ceremonies in various places in the world, and not just in this town of Mexico known for its problem with gun crime. A public project can exist in many places and still relate back to one place. It shows there are different kinds of outcomes, and it doesn’t have to be solitary object in a space.
â€œWhen does art become a part of the conversation?â€?
DK: The spades are made from a social gesture and process, rather than being conceived solely for aesthetics, which is different from the local council wanting some marble for their public square.
OW: Somehow, it’s like many problems in the world; they become rumour and myth and it goes back into the legends surrounding a place and the spirit of a place, and often involves its history and memory.
OW: Another example is Santiago Sierra’s project World’s Largest Graffiti saying ‘SOS’. Santiago was drawing attention to Saharaui camp by inscribing enormous letters in the sand with a truck to point out the injustices of this refugee camp that has become an unofficial town. Santiago’s response was to create these giant letters that can only really be seen from space. He is beaming this message out to the heavens. There is an obvious political element about it – that nobody is listening. This is a way of attracting attention to something that would not be necessarily be seen. His work doesn’t exist any more, as it will have been disrupted by nature. Public work doesn’t have to be a permanent, object-based thing; it can be a thought or a memory. Public art can do that; public art can change your perception of a place very quickly.
DK: As though the loss of a place is even more evocative than its physicality. In the exhibition, there was a sense of repetition of forms in, for example, Ai Weiwei’s bicycles or Shirazeh Houshiary’s glass bricks. It feels reminiscent of Islamic design and of the self in a hypnotic immersion with space. OW: Yes, and with the repetition, it relates back to these different notions of public art because we wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t just about the solitary, monumental object. With the bicycles, it was a way of creating a large form that could also be dissolved into being discrete elements of itself. It could be smaller than originally imagined, or it could actually disappear. If you look at these bicycles straight on, you are looking at these really thin structures that almost have no form but, from the side, they burst into decoration. They become something other than bicycles; they become these spiralling helix forms.
DK: His work dissolves back into the land, which is precisely what we’ve been talking about.
DK: This also comes back to the premise of ‘genius loci’ and that all forces in the world have underlying patterns in nature. A point to note is that these artworks have come from different places such as Beijing, Mexico and Arizona, which may not be in your immediate surroundings.
reflect elements such as entranceways; They reflect architecture as being the sum of its parts rather than made by a specific architect. DK: It’s another entry into architecture that is more about the miniscule and the individual creating her or his own form of architecture rather than relying on the singular authority.
OW: It’s difficult to say whether any of the artists make work that is particularly harmonious with their surroundings. Richard Wentworth made a new piece for the exhibition; his interest is often in the types of architecture and objects that we might not notice. For many years, he’s been focusing on these photographs called Making Do and Getting By and they involve taking pictures of bits of street or buildings and they form their own un-monumental sculptures and intervention. DK: So rather than natural processes, these photographs are records of urban processes in which human activity has been left visible in the city?
OW: Yeah, and Richard’s been very engaged with architects and architectural theory throughout his career. He’s well versed in making public art but, again, he does not make the types of things expected with public work. His work tends to be interactive and multi-faceted. I think it’s important to remember that as much as we can interact with objects in a gallery in a fairly straightforward manner, how art works in the public realm is a different matter and changes the whole face of it. — CCQ
OW: A lot of the subjects of his images relate to Rem Koolhaas’ main thesis for the biennale called Fundamentals where he focused on the mundane things that create our buildings like doors, ramps, floors, and the ceilings. In the same way, Richard’s pictures also
Ossian Ward is Head of Content at Lisson Gallery and a writer on contemporary art lissongallery.com
The Space/Time Dimension Artist, curator and lecturer Bella Kerr’s two recent exhibitions, Keeper and Civic, have thrown up questions about the artists role within the exhibition space, about inter-disciplinary collaborations and about creating a space to just let things happen. Denise Kwan looks for some answers
Denise Kwan: The notion of space and the relationship between object, viewer and space appears to be central to your recent practice, in Keeper and CIVIC in particular. How did this thinking evolve? Bella Kerr: I became the artist that I recognise now when I was doing my degree. I would build installations and make things based on intuitive observations. It came from childish notions about making worlds, but I thought nothing of it because it was just a normal childhood activity. I went to see Pier and Ocean at the Hayward Gallery at the beginning of the 80s; it was about the last decade of conceptual art. It was lifechanging and the idea was that, while you might work with stuff, it was the fuel or concept that had to be examined. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got all sorts of means at your disposal. DK: Who was in that exhibition? BK: Oh God, everybody! The key artworks that stayed with me were people who were not immediately obvious but stayed important afterwards such as Herman De Vries. I revisit his work in the catalogue (which is really odd because how many catalogues do you still look at?). There are two images in the catalogue and one is called One Hour Underneath my Apple Tree and the other is Two Hours Underneath my Apple Tree. They are simply photographs of leaves on a piece of paper that have accumulated within the time frame. It was the idea that you didn’t have to ‘make’ something, it wasn’t constructed by the artist per se; it was an observation, a connection with the actual stuff. Then, for a long period, I increased my making skills and then I ended up teaching for years. I found teaching decreased all those making skills. The more managerial you become, the less hands-on teaching you do. It fills up all your time, you go from part-time to full-time and you are actually making far less. DK: I remember an interview with Phyllida Barlow where she said how busy her life was, with family and teaching commitments. What she would do was to mix up cement to keep her hand in making. Do you feel like this too? BK: I think you can lose confidence, it drifts away and you find that the things you are good at are writing emails, making timetables or herding cats. When I was invited by Studio Supersaurus to use their project space, I had this ridiculous, almost comical idea called the Keeper of the Red Balls.
Summer 2014 01
DK: Ah, and is that how Keeper started? BK: I had done these drawings and had this image of me in a room with lots of red balls, which I was looking after. Whenever I came to ‘make’ the balls, I didn’t know how to because I had lost the maker part of me. I thought I’d take the problem with me to Studio Supersaurus and ask people to bring me their expertise – the expertise that I’d lost through teaching that I would want to have taught back to me. This reversed the dynamics of teaching and people came with information, essays, and they made the work. I got this real diversity through asking people to contribute. Which reminds me of Clare Bishop’s Artificial Hells where she writes about artists who create educational pieces, which are essentially schools for the artist. I’m quite aware that Keeper is a school for me. DK: Keeper felt like a combination of artist’s studio, educational school and domestic home. Did you want this sense of fluidity? BK: Definitely, and those spaces are all parts of my life. You spend so much time denying one part of your life when you are in another part, for example, the domestic part, which you have to be very careful to not advertise too strongly in teaching. The way you present yourself to the world can be really difficult because it can have a one-dimensional effect for the individual. DK: As if in putting on one guise, it becomes difficult to put on others? BK: Exactly. The other thing in teaching is the great friction between being a practising artist and a teacher. A lot of people deal with it by separating them completely, which leaves them in conflict; they work hard to get time away from teaching to make art. I realised that I couldn’t do that and I didn’t want to do it. DK: How has your research informed your ideas about space? BK: I wrote my MPhil about the categories of domestic space and the objects in novels. Novels are usually located in houses, they have some external activity, but the meat of the activity is about people in an interior with a series of objects. The objects, such as chairs and tables, are often described for their qualities in that context. I was interested in
“By making the artist visible, you make the viewer visible.” the relationship of the people to the objects in the space rather than the spatial, architectural specifics. DK: I’m beginning to see the connection with Herman De Vries. It feels as if in both Keeper and Civic, you’re inviting something unmediated to happen. Did anything surprise you as a result? BK: For Keeper, I invited Jane Rendell, Karen Ingham and Kathryn Faulkner to work with me. Rather than clearing the space of the objects I had made, I had to find a point to accommodate them. I was surprised at how I could give them [Rendell, Ingham and Faulkner] objects as though it were a stage set and those objects were props. I was slightly thrown when Jane Rendell covered everything with pressed white linen. When she’d finished it echoed the Whiteroom, which I’ve written about. It is the idea of a room that you go in during your early adult life; you may visit again in middle age but, by old age, all colour is removed from the space. There is an austerity in this, which is about leaving the richness of family life and finding your own solitude. Jane made a more cleansed space by making it completely white. She created an amazing set for her commissions and invited Mike Pearson [to collaborate]; this was the richness that came with handing permission to other
people. It was this unfolding possibility that gave me the structure to do CIVIC. You create these corrals and each person has their curated territory creating complexities but this also mimics the model of teaching. DK: Are your exhibitions by-products of your teaching experience? BK: It’s something I have thought about in terms of teaching and artistic practice. It’s a question about the balance of the self and the ego lifting. With teaching, you can’t go in as nobody, you have to exert your ego to a certain extent, but in really effective teaching, you suppress it so that others can rise. DK: We always seem to be separating the different parts of our lives from each other. Keeper seems to acknowledge this, which made the space feel more human. BK: Again, I was quite surprised by that. The others had their projects and when I was there, I was just, kind of there. In the first week, this was almost disastrous, because I realised very quickly that the last person that anyone wants to see is the artist, unless you are Marina Abramović in which case they have come to see you. It brought home to me about the expectations of the artist in relation to the viewer.
Normally you pay £10 down at the Tate and you are invisible [as a viewer] to the work, the artist and the gallery. We, the viewer, want to consume the product. We do not want to be implicated as the consumers and we don’t want to be visible. By making the artist visible, you make the viewer visible. It became really evident to me that when I was there, the viewers were there too and being there was uncomfortable to them. The thing that really threw them was that I did it ‘naturalistically’ – I wasn’t in a gown and sitting there silently. I made the towers and tables in the space, but people would come in and they didn’t see any work in the gallery because of my presence. I negated anything that was in there. It wasn’t seen as sculptural, it was seen as furniture, but a lot of it clearly wasn’t furniture; if I’d taken myself out, they would immediately have become sculptural objects again.
DK: The problem was that you were not performing?
with us was a challenge, but some of them really enjoyed that possibility.
01 Blackboard, Owen Griffiths, from Keeper exhibition, 2014
BK: Exactly. I was just being me, which was far worse for people than if I had been in a big rabbit suit.
DK: The gallery space afforded the architects a room that they wouldn’t otherwise have. It seems in both exhibitions, you’ve created space for thinking whether it’s for the visitor or the professional. Is that what you intended?
02 Miniature Chairs, (detail), Bella Kerr, from Keeper, 2013
DK: Your presence in Keeper questioned the function of the artist. How do you think your presence was received in CIVIC? BK: Keeper was my artwork and having done that, I was asked by the Mission Gallery to take that exhibition model, but assume the curator role. I’m familiar with encouraging people to make work and setting timetables from my teaching. I was quite comfortable dealing with writers, artists, academics, but throwing architects in was a big difference. I hadn’t anticipated how different their practice would be. They work in a very commercial and busy context and they were brilliant. In ways, CIVIC could have been more swung by them towards their practice, but they let it lead them into a fine art context. Perhaps they accommodated us more than we accommodated them? The architects were very driven towards projects and results while at the same time saying, ‘We spend our whole lives producing and problemsolving to deadline.’ They have a huge social responsibility because the ills of world are brought to the architect’s door and they have to deal with complicated planning regulations and systems. Inviting them to come and play
BK: In my mind that space is both conceptual and real. In teaching, God knows we don’t have much else, but the best asset we have is the space, it’s our tool. What happens in that room is a process and, going back to CIVIC and Keeper, it is always about the process rather than the product.
03 Keeper exhibition, installation shot, 2013 All photography by Mission Gallery staff
DK: You mentioned Herman De Vries earlier. Is there a connection between his work and your ideas - this gesture of creating space and letting things happen? BK: Yes, absolutely. I don’t know why I mentioned that piece, but that’s probably why. It’s what happens in that hour of the leaves falling, like in teaching. I knew that work changed me, but I didn’t know quite how, and maybe, when you revisit artworks later, they change you again in different ways. DK: And will we see you in that rabbit suit one day? BK: I’m working on it. — CCQ
Following its success in Swansea, CIVIC will travel to Cardiff as part of Cardiff Contemporary 04 October to the 09 November Keeper is an on-going participatory project keepers-exhibition.com Bella Kerr is the Programme Director of Foundation Art and Design at UWTSD, Swansea.
— Karolina —
Kotka’s land gave nothing but deformities. The ice-packed soil so muscular and heavily contracted that tubers developed corners, root systems gave up their subterranean routes and fattened in their thimble-small grots. So when he found her – a sharp-faced peasant with elastic limbs and an unfathomable smallness, Dmitri reasoned that the land had birthed her too. Karolina, he would say, come, get in this box. She was a wildcat for sure. Did it with a special sort of Baltic disinterest. Folded limbs in at cautious angles – it all looked impossible, but then, measured, prepared, she’d slip in like soaked soap, a box of boneless human. She’d spring out, storm off. But his thick blonde moustache twitched at both sides long after she’d slammed the door. He saw the name of his latest exhibit in thick Cyrillic, phosphorescent stencils above the Panoptikon, his travelling menagerie of faults and oddities. He saw her furious Cleopatran eyes centre-stage of their poster Come See The Folding Girl Of Kotka! The Nikitin Brothers’ Newest Star! And then, he thought, he’d pluck the Eastern strings of his balalaika in her cot, bring her blood down, just one fraction tell his story, his provincial serfdom, lack of literacy and how – clever as he was – he played the strong-man, jumped horses, wrestled lions. They’d travel Russia, they’d live, they’d die.
— Lydia —
I am more netted than Arachne. A funereal tease of netting and lace. I’ve got designs on hot-blooding you, weaving you into me like heavy scented bathwater. I am patchouli-smoke setting a hex, pulling on cords that bring your limbs to my level. And men are weak. They throw their bloodhound senses towards the promise of horizontals, but a woman suspending her myths? Well, that’s a time sensitive thing. We moon creatures in our silks can skin men in minutes when certain vacancies noise themselves like hungry children mewling, that strip us in the shadows, unfurl us on Aphrodite’s looms.
Poet Jemma L King found a series of old images of naked or partially clad women and her latest collection of poems The Undressed, gives these anonymous women a voice and a story. Here are two as a taster. The Undressed is published by Parthian Books parthianbooks.com
The Return Journey’s Return Journey As Lighthouse Theatre re-enact Dylan Thomas’ radio play Return Journey in a promenade performance that crosses the memory streets of Swansea in 1941 after a three-day blitz that’s left it ‘razed to the snow’, Rudi O’Neil (words) and Dan Wood (photography) follow the parade.
At the Dylan Thomas Centre I’m greeted by a woman smoking outside whose trouser leg is caught in the cuff of a SpongeBob SquarePants sock, and whose depth of knowledge concerning Dylan borders on Aspergian. Once inside she retakes her post at the info desk and hands me a programme for the ensuing entertainment that’s been black & white photocopied. Some have been told to meet here, at the visitor centre, others at the Waterfront Museum, which seems to be for no other reason than mismanagement. However, as we round the corner opposite Salubrious Place, four apparitions make for us as though they have harnessed the powers of the alleyway time machine in Nicholas Lyndhurst’s Goodnight Sweetheart, only gaining full opacity when they reach our sides. But it’s half ten on a Sunday, and in the midst of a subdued Swansea central (that, save for its renown mendicant fraternity seems for the most part keen on its bed), a pub door gets kicked and wedged open revealing a stench of stale revelling that could quite adequately be a fitting olfactory enhancement to anything marking the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. We are in the hands of five of the Lighthouse Theatre’s finest. Clad in the garb of yesteryear, they might as well have on Hollister and Superdry, such is the meagre impact their raiment of yore seems to be having on passers-by. Still, at least this serves to nullify any of the by-proxy embarrassment that can come as the consequence of being a party to twee re-enactments. And so the re-enactment, billed as not just a re-enactment but ‘an info-tour’, transitions from the latter to the former and casts aside any notion that the old clothes are otiose, as man-megalith, Kevin Johns (of High Hopes and The Market fame) deceptively hops from bench to bin to his stage, atop the Bath brick of Beau Nash’s Swansea Castle Square amphitheatre, booming aloud the opening lines of Return Journey. As a lone performer he is grand, but his words lack impact, as they dissipate amongst the indifferent ears of a now busying town centre. Save for two young lovers that have turned up to have a nose, or maybe to invest their time in something free, the performance seems inaudible and invisible to all bar those who’ve paid. The next ninety minutes seem set to become a struggle. An interlude returns us to the mundanity of the seemingly Wiki-clipped info-tour (did Dylan Thomas actually drink in The Tenby?), before Adrian Metcalfe, Nia Trussler-Jones and once again Kevin Johns,
launch into a peppy recital of Dylan as third person, diminutively character-assassinated with brutally humorous (self) deprecation by these three scoffers he’d chanced upon whilst navigating his Return Journey. Surprisingly, not even one member of a teenage trine who stop to sneer lends as much as a perfunctory piss-take. And then it dawns on me, as I pull myself fully out of suspended disbelief – this just got good. After being forewarned of Swansea’s nuanced road system by Adrian, who subsequently dodges getting mowed down by an azure Corsa with a Polish number plate, we cross the road and make our way further towards Dylan’s childhood home, Swansea’s Uplands, and to his childhood haunt, Cwmdonkin Park. At this point we finally attract notable attention. A homeless man, drinking Gold Label, hollers across the street saying he’d love to come join us, but that he doesn’t have the time; a pity, for if he’d stuck around he’d have witnessed the frightening pulchritude of Kate Elis who, alongside Edward Llewellyn in his dead Dylan tweed, poignantly ponders over the clandestine doings of the Kardomah Gang. And then, interrupting an astonishing stream of consciousness barking masterpiece by Elis, a walleyed rapscallion, accompanied by the clinking alloy of his rucksack, yawns and murmurs his way through us, undoubtedly using his breath’s hypertoxic scent of rubbing alcohol as a divining rod to lead him to the next abandominium. And so, onward we tread, now within sight of Cwmdonkin Park, taking a brief moment to stand in the nearby Grove, where a young Martin Amis played with polysyllables whilst his dad and Dylan traded insults. And that was it; one last and bucolic recital at the Return Journey’s end, Cwmdonkin Park, before our apparitions said their thanks, their goodbyes, and faded back into Swansea’s past. As I make my way back along my own return journey, flatulently weaving my way down homographic Wind Street, a familiar face walks towards me, and as we near each another, recognition becomes clear. It’s none other than Georgihka from BBC One’s Swansea: Living on the Streets. He has a can of pear cider in his hand, and smiles coyly back at me, probably tired of being recognised by strangers, waiting for me to accost him. I don’t, but only because at that exact second it dawns on me that with the homeless guy, the yawning rapscallion, and now Georgihka – the spirit of Dylan Thomas has been with us all along. — CCQ
“A homeless man, drinking Gold Label, hollers across the street saying he’d love to come join us, but he doesn’t have the time.”
Paradise Lost, Paradise Present and Paradise Future On a hot day in mid-July Arnolfini launched The Promise, with works both inside the gallery and beyond, and Trust New Art Bristol opened their gates to PARADISE at Tyntesfield, just south of the city. These two linked projects offer the opportunity to reflect on interventions or developments in rural and urban settings and the territory in between. Carolyn Black visits them both.
It is impossible to write the terms ‘paradise’ and ‘the promise’ without immediately thinking of Milton and his epic poem Paradise Lost. It is also just as difficult to avoid the cliché of presuming that the urban is Hell and the rural is the Garden of Eden. PARADISE is certainly about a garden – all of the works are located outside, installed around the extensive grounds, and mostly created from timber found on the estate. And The Promise is certainly about utopias and futures, with the display of architect models showing earlier visions for Bristol. Located geographically between the two, Leigh Woods provides a grey area, with a foot in each camp. The woodland hosts a collaboration between Arnolfini and architecture and design collective, Assemble, who have been commissioned to explore the potential of the site as a space for experimental play. Assemble is a group of architects, designers and artists who strive to rethink how we live in our cities, creating opportunities to make public spaces more open and joyful. Part provocation and part experiment, Assemble will occupy a site in the woods with a series of three hands-on, collaborative workshops.
Each venue hosts work that critiques the urban/rural dichotomy. At Tyntesfield, London Fieldworks presents two architectural interventions constructed in collaboration with the Somerset Bodgers and volunteers, built in the abandoned tennis courts. This architectural construction stamps its rigidity on the undulating landscape; on occasions diving below the surface and reappearing, seemingly at odds with the irregularity of the ground. Likewise, at Arnolfini, in Judith Hopf’s playful film work, Some End of Things: The Conception of Youth, an egg attempts to navigate a Modernist building, eventually becoming wedged in a doorway. Gleefully absurd, the work allows Hopf to pose questions about the excluding nature of the social environment. Both venues have commissioned works that create meeting places for people. At Tyntesfield, Owen Griffiths and Fern Thomas have designed The Green Room, an outdoor decked area bounded by hay bales and hedges, which will host a range of activities and events connected to the process of preparing the soil for a future orchard. Next to The Green Room several straw bales define the boundaries
of a vegetable and herb garden, delightfully higgledy-piggledy, in contrast to the more formal shape of the main area. Curator Ruth Gooding said, “This work is acting as the interface between the contemporary arts programme and the property, like a decompression chamber.” Arnolfini commissioned Oscar Tuazon to create Live Steam Shift Whistle, a social space on Clifton Downs. Formed of a 20ft steel and concrete fire pit, and doubling as a barbeque grill, Tuazon’s striking sculpture playfully questions the relationship between Bristol’s residents and one of its most iconic public spaces. The dual function of his work harks back to an ancient tradition of communal sharing, eating and shelter by firelight. A strong sense of both people and place comes through in the exhibitions. Gooding says, “I approached Tyntesfield as a community, not a property; the property teams and volunteers were very involved, and informed the development and construction of each work.” Helen Davies, curator of learning at Arnolfini elaborates, “The Promise represents a new curatorial direction – one that encourages the gallery to look
01 The Green Room â€“ a centre for soil preparation, Owen Griffiths & Fern Thomas, 2014, plants, hay, cedar wood from the Tyntesfield estate. Commissioned for Tyntesfield by Trust New Art Bristol, National Trust ÂŠ Paul Blakemore 02 Assault Tower, London Fieldworks, 2014, tree of heaven from the Tyntesfield estate, reclaimed wooden furniture
outwards, breaking down thresholds and inviting the people of Bristol to consider what their city might have become, what it is now and what it may be in the future.” How we occupy a city is visualised in Doing Things Separately Together, An Atlas of Bristol - a series of maps, which have been collaboratively produced with local groups and experts. Each map contains several layers of data and topics include unbuilt transport schemes, Bristol’s banking history, carnivals, surveillance cameras, how football divides the city, and places of leisure. The project is conceived and delivered by Sophie Warren, Jonathan Mosley, Anthony Elliot, Libita Clayton and Axel Wieder, graphics by Jake Gunn and William Richardson. The images reveal the city in such an engaging way, that you will forever see it differently.
“A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning. The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.” (E.B. White, Here is New York, 1949) Decompression and compression – that is how our lungs function. These two exhibitions associate alternate ways of reconsidering our part in creating places both physically and socially. Breathe. — CCQ
The Promise: A dialogue between the city and its people Arnolfini, Bristol 19 July – 9 November 2014 arnolfini.org.uk PARADISE Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Bristol & at Leigh Woods near Bristol 19 July – 2 November 2014 trustnewartbristol.org
03 Brentford Towers, Stephen Willats, 1985, ÂŠ Stuart Whipps
04 Doing Things Separately Together â€“ an Atlas of Bristol, Sophie Warren, Jonathan Moseley, Anthony Elliot, Libita Clayton and Axel Weider, with graphics by Jake Gunn and William Richardson, 2014 04
Ephemeral Coast Mission Gallery, Swansea Art canâ€™t save the world, or even have a significant effect on climate change, but a four-year project in its early phase at The Mission Gallery is drawing artists from around the world to respond to coastal erosion and create a space for discussion and thought, writes Rory Duckhouse.
01 Drowned World, Stefhan Caddick, 2014, Plywood boat, Cradle and bespoke wallpaper, Birch plywood, wood, cloth, miscellaneous materials, wallpaper Photography: Matthew Otten 02 Consilience: as the world turns, Julia Davis, 2013/14, Time-lapse HD video, stereo sound. 07:49 (loop). Concept/Performance: Julia Davies, Camera: Alex Chemey, Compositing: Matt Fezz, Sound: Paul Huntingford, Julia Davis Thanks to NASA for extracts of sound from Voyager 1 & 11’s first recording of interstellar space and encounter with Saturn 1980 Photography: Matthew Otten
Climate change is causing the world’s coastlines to subtly shift, and this liminal space is the site for exploration in Ephemeral Coast, curated by Celina Jeffrey, looking at the discourse surrounding these ecological concerns and changes to coastal culture. The Mission Gallery - a converted seamen’s mission in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter, next to Swansea Bay and close to a once densely-populated industrial belt – is well placed to discuss these themes. Swansea sits between the natural geography of the Gower and the industry created from the city, connecting the concerns of Ephemeral Coast. The artists in the exhibition – Stefhan Caddick, Gemma Copp, Julia Davis and Fern Thomas - take the coast as a site for engagement. The exhibition creates a discussion around the metamorphosis of the coastline, understanding it as a space for ecology and culture. Julia Davis’ large screen installation explores the relationship between the artist and the landscape. A silhouetted figure moves through the coastal environment;
in this case, a rapidly dehydrating lake in Australia. We follow her movement until she disappears into the distance. Then, there is a shift from the human to the natural, as the stars above take on a glowing intensity and the sound track, samples of sounds from a NASA space station, creates a subconscious connection with the relationship between the Earth and the rest of the universe. Investigating the relationships between self and place, the sky pulses and moves, investing it with a sense of continuum far greater than that of the individual. The figure moves on the boundaries of the space, temporarily passing through it, leaving its trace. In the video, the personal and geological worlds merge into one spatial experience. We live in an age where the human impact can re-write the geography of the natural landscape. But in Davis’ video we are reminded of the enduring power of natural forces - forces that existed long before us and will continue once we are gone. The gallery apse is boarded up with plywood, but a ship’s doorway leads us into the space, both inviting in and keeping us out.
Behind the doorway is Stefhan Caddick’s fictional environment, inspired by JG Ballard’s novel Drowned World, the story of a postapocalyptic planet where the polar ice caps have melted causing the world’s temperatures to soar. Ballard’s novel is partially based in scientific fact and imagines a future that embraces chaos. In the centre sits a floating survival craft, suspended by stilts. The walls are papered with digital prints referencing a subterranean world, covered in overgrown vegetation. Mixing this fictional story with real-life events creates a personal response to the changes in weather patterns, and how they could re-shape our coastline. Referencing recent floods in the West Wales region, the installation explores what happens when the edge is withdrawn and boundaries between coast and sea merge. Caddick draws on the narrative of the biblical flood and the allure of the catastrophe. The scene laid out looks bleak and almost inhospitable, appealing to our human survival instinct to adapt and thrive, while the craft itself is made of sheets of plywood – a flat-pack rescue vessel.
In the gallery’s […] Space, (set aside for video work), Fern Thomas uses sound recording and observations to explore Swansea Bay. From the Watchtower unfolds for the duration of the exhibition as, from her top floor window, she watches the sea. She remains physically passive, but actively records and narrates her thoughts and response. As the tide rolls in and out, she observes and translates her experience into a poetic narrative. The observations are performed and recorded and shown alongside her view. These activate the relationship between artist and space in a mix of text, image and spoken word. The waves crash on the beach, as Thomas looks towards the horizon. From her watchtower, she forms an intimate bond with Swansea Bay, creating a dialogue and asking, ‘What does it means to watch the sea?’ Gemma Copp’s Leaving Tide explores similar terrain. The lone figure looks out to the horizon as the waves slowly lap around her feet until it recedes, leaving her stranded. The tide animates this large body of water but she asks what would happen if this natural phenomenon were to stop? The artist connects the continuous rhythm of the sea with the cycle of life and its ephemeral nature. If the ebbing tide were never to return, what would be the effect on the natural balance? Copp’s video contemplates these things while leaving an ambiguous space for the viewer. As the colour shifts through the video, there seems a menacing presence, suggesting something is about to happen as the brooding atmosphere intensifies. The sea is a powerful mass beyond our control but, as it rises in response to climate change, it will have an impact on the landscape and inhabitants along its margins. Like the artists, we can only watch and comment on this unstoppable force. The coastline has been the site for radical shifts in geography, from the industrial era, which will continue into the future. This project aims to map, analyse and reframe the debate surrounding these transformations. The works attempt to deal with climate change on a personal scale, creating responses to a much larger issue, re-humanising a complex debate. The seaside as a site of pleasure is transformed into a yardstick for the future. — CCQ
Ephemeral Coast was at The Mission Gallery, Swansea from 14 June — 03 August 2014 For more information about the project go to ephemeralcoast.com
Caitlin What must it be like to be the creative spouse of a famous (and famously dead before his time) writer? Eddie Ladd and Gwyn Emberton danced the story of the turbulent relationship between Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin Macnamara at the National Library of Wales. Illustrator Tara MacInerney, responds with her own thoughts and images, aiming to bring Caitlin back into focus.
Wales, Ireland and England have all been home to me at various points in my life, and I’ve shared these settings, albeit anachronistically, with Caitlin Macnamara and her husband Dylan Thomas. I have been taking short sweltering bus rides to some of the London pubs Caitlin and Dylan frequented — The Wheatsheaf, The Fitzroy, The Six Bells — and in our itinerant similarity, I feel a kinship with the formidable pair. Their life together, which Caitlin described as, “Predominantly a drink story, because without the first-aid of drink it could never have got onto its rocking feet”, it has been well documented. Little about their coupling was stable or static — from their countless infidelities to their initial inebriated meeting, which Dylan referred to as the ten minutes before they were in bed together. They even elected to start a family in a boathouse, cradled in the waves of the tidal Taf estuary, though the scene’s mutability brings to mind the turbulence of their affair. In her own right, Caitlin is a canny, wildly insightful writer (her father was a poet). And whilst all her publications are autobiographical, they are by no means dull. Her real accomplishments took shape after Dylan’s death and, out of his shadow, bloomed. Her poetic outlook on life and her ability to elicit significance is testament to her inherent creativity and evidently an insight into Dylan’s taste for her. Instead of simply recounting life events, she paints poignant self-portraits in words; each painting is injected with her sentiments of the time – Dylan’s
death, her own death. Despite marrying again, moving to Italy, writing two books, bearing and raising her fourth child, before she passed away, Caitlin asked to be buried next to Dylan in Laugharne. With the existentially titled Leftover Life To Kill and Not Quite Posthumous Letters To My Daughter, one might mistake Caitlin for a terribly young widow who had given into alcohol and formed a morbid curiosity with death. But her fascination was not for death itself, it was for the reunion it would bring. Eddie Ladd, partnering Gwyn Emberton, uses the body to tell the whole story of Caitlin and Dylan in one pugilistic dance. Theirs is a history of jealousy, violence and ardour and there seems to me no better translation than the desperate, grappling thrashes of this choreography. The dance oscillates between states of normality and conflict, in true reflection of the famous marriage. Caitlin and Dylan’s relationship is infamous for its turmoil but applauded for its successes - and herein lies the significance of Ladd’s dance piece. Caitlin once bitterly remarked, “Everybody forgives a genius”. Ladd extends that to include Caitlin too. The dance illustrates a relationship that has struggled, persevered and prospered, and the underlying message here is forgiveness: but for both parties. Caitlin, in her posthumous return to Dylan’s side, knew very well the significance, strength and immortality of their relationship. — CCQ
Wales Dance Platform 2014
—Sudden Illumination— Showcasing work from independent dance artists, choreographers and companies, the three-day Wales Dance Platform, moved between Cardiff venues. Emma Geliot gets lit up.
I’ve been invited to this year’s Dance Platform, not necessarily to review but just to see what’s on offer and who’s doing what. I can’t make it to everything so, in a baptism by fire, I ask Sarah King, a new CCQ writing recruit to wander far out of her comfort zone and go to as much as she can manage. The very first thing I see is a jolly trio of grown-ups playing children — a ‘little girl’, a pirate and a ballerina — doing something about gender stereotypes aimed at the tinier audience members. I’m afraid this is the type of thing that would have seen my mother abandoning me, saying, “I can’t stay here, I’ll throw up”. If the fiendish motivation behind this is to lure the pre-schoolers into the world of contemporary dance, then I’m not convinced. I remember being taken, as a diehard Swan Lake fan, to see Ballet Rambert’s Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain and, without having one whit of critical faculty at the age of nine, being completely and utterly hooked forever. Just saying. I’m a bit nervous about what might follow but trot obediently into the second theatre space. Oh dear, there’s a child sitting on a table. I’m beginning to dread an attack of the Shirley Temples but I’m trapped mid-row and the lights are up. But stap me sideways with a wobbly stick (no, I have no idea what that means either), what followed was extraordinary. By that ‘ordinary’ I mean that it was unselfconscious, natural, and ‘extra’ in that it was something else. You know that moment
when you snap one of those chemical lights so beloved of 1970s campers and 1990s ravers? The reaction takes a few moments to reach from end to end of the tube and then suddenly the whole thing throws enough glow for you to be able to read an Enid Blyton in your sleeping bag, or squiggle some pretty shapes as you jiggle in your raver’s trance. Ella Treays, a slip of an 11 year-old school girl, started to move, to bend, to twist and offer up a series of movements and gestures that began to connect her with, and extend her into, the space and it’s single prop (the table) in a ballet/gymnastics hybrid of movement that, when I looked around, had everyone leaning into it. The other young girls in the audience were already on the edges of their seats, straining into the performance. It’s hard to describe, but like the chemicals in that tube, the light went right to the very tips of her fingers - she utterly inhabited her body and its movements. It was like the first time I saw Michael Clarke dance at the Brighton Festival and watched those long arms extend impossibly; physically becoming dance – I’m not comparing performances here, just a reaction to them. Then she’s joined by her dad, Jem Treays, who starts up a dialogue with her that’s peppered with illustrative dance moves. This is where it could have been icky, contrived or too-cute-for-words. But no, it isn’t; it feels natural as they roll out the rug that’s their dance mat at home (nope, still no involuntary clenching of my buttocks).
It’s light, and still natural as they talk each other through their moves. Then it shifts into something else as they begin to work with the table – Ella contorting to brace herself within its framework as Jem starts to upend and rotate it. I can’t help being overcome by the feeling of trust implicit in this section – at any moment the table could slip, crushing the child. The adult audience moves forward another few millimeters to join the girls at their seats’ edge as the table pivots, rotates and Ella moves under, over and around it in increasingly contorted, but seemingly effortless, body shapes. And then it’s over and we clap and whistle and turn to each other. Did we really just see what we just saw? We did, and it’s part of a project called Transition, if you’d like to look it up. After that the afternoon could have tailed off, but there were still some high points. Ballet Nimba are always an exhilarating watch (Sarah writes about them so I won’t duplicate), Gwyn Emberton’s extract from My People – The Devil in Eden did all the right things technically, but I couldn’t help feeling that I was being danced at somehow (although he went on to win the Roy Campbell-Moore and Anne Sholem Prize later, so what do I know?). But it was Sandra Harnisch-Lacey’s Tân, a piece that had only been two weeks in development, that hauled back some of the excitement from the first performance for me. The two male performers set up the kind of narrative tension that is beyond words and, to me, sort of the point
Summer 2014 01
of good dance. They have tables too, or rather plinth-cum-tables that can be mounted for height or manipulated to add to the gestures that carve air and describe space. It’s energetic but controlled and fluid. At the bar later, I thank one of the dancers for his performance and then discover how little time they’ve had to get to this pleasing point. Well here I am reviewing after all, after a fashion. But the purpose of the platform isn’t for critique, it’s to allow dancers, companies and choreographers from Wales to showcase their current work to promoters and potential bookers. Looking around I don’t see many promoters but I do see a lot of dancers and people whose business is dance, or connected to dance, or people who like to watch dance. And I wonder what it’s like to have little experience of this world and to suddenly find yourself dunked into it for a whole weekend. Which is where Sarah comes in…
—I’m a Stranger Here Myself— Performance without the mediation of spoken language can be difficult to access if physicallydelivered narrative isn’t your daily experience. Sarah King landed on Planet Dance without a guidebook, was occasionally perplexed but also pleasantly surprised.
01 Sometimes We Look, Marega Palser (Mr & Mrs Clark) 02 Sagatala (Man), Ballet Nimba 03—05 Transition, Jem and Ella Treays 06 My People – The Devil in Eden, Gwyn Emberton All images: Roy Campbell-Moore walesdanceplatform.co.uk
Dance is by no means my area of expertise, but I can watch, think and write. Stretching yourself creatively, and developing professionally is important, but I wonder what I’ve let myself in for. Will I enjoy it? Will I have the vocabulary to describe it? Will I even know what’s going on? The contemporary dance world can come across as elitist, insular and un-welcoming to the un-initiated, and in some of the performances I saw over the weekend it seemed that the performers were enjoying themselves more than the audience. I was sometimes left wondering, ‘Who’s the audience for this?” But, when it worked, when I got it, it was beautiful. As cold and distant as one performance left me, the next performance would be magical, meditative, enthralling, welcoming. I should add that, throughout the weekend, the lines were blurred between dance, performance and performance art. Was it the most enjoyable weekend I’ve ever had? No. Was it what I thought it was going to be? At times, yes. But it has also given me more of a respect for the work and thought and talent that has to go into a successful contemporary dance performance. For me communication was key. When it failed, I felt removed from the experience. But when communication was there it was powerful, stunning and an art form not just for the initiated elite. What follows are my responses to some of the performances, the ones that provoked me to pick up my pen. — CCQ
Marega Palser (Mr & Mrs Clark): Sometimes We Look I’m still thinking about this performance; it’s the one I feel most ambivalent about. In theory, it has all the hallmarks of pretentious performance art, and it’s almost impossible to describe what I saw without making it sound a bit silly – Marega dramatically draws large patterns on the floor (circles, Xs, dots etc) by pouring salt from a huge tub. Another performer enters and interprets the patterns through strong, angular movements. The reality is that it was striking, odd and intriguing. Marega’s warmth and humour had the audience in the palm of her hand, proving that a connection to the audience is vital. I did wonder who would have to clean up all that salt... Gareth Chambers: IAM (The Act of Remembering) A man in the tiniest pants I’ve ever seen enters with a tray of lard and glitter. He unpacks the lard methodically and, as Donna Summer’s I Feel Love begins to play, he starts rubbing the lard and glitter all over his body. He then proceeds to take off the tiny pants and bounce to the music. Almost slipping (on purpose?), he steadies himself, then sits on his knees for a bit with his arms outstretched. Then he lies flat on his belly like a slug in the lard and wriggles around. Finally he gets back up and bounces up and down to the music, eyes closed. There is hardly any dancing going on here, apart from the rhythmical flopping of the penis.
Eleanor Brown: Be Still. Wash over me anew One of my personal highlights of the weekend. A beautiful and captivating performance that mixed film, movement and music to great effect. As a viewer you didn’t feel there was narrative you couldn’t follow, the movements were controlled, graceful and skilled, and the piece felt intelligent, articulate, contemporary and thoughtful. I wish there had been more of this. Gareth Clark (Mr & Mrs Clark): Smash it up Quite how this piece fits into contemporary dance, I’m not sure. The three performers ripped up newspapers, smashed teapots, threw tables, shouted strong, angry political quotes and slogans about art and I LOVED IT! This is the performance I would love to see again. Politics, ideology, strong visuals, aggression and performance. Right up my street. Ballet Nimba: Sagatala (Man) The theatrical performance of Ballet Nimba, a dance company presenting contemporary interpretations of traditional Guinean dance, is the perfect example of how a narrative can be expressed through movement. There was drama, conflict, energy and amazing talent from both dancers and musicians. An absolute joy to watch. Wales Dance Platform 2014, presented by Creu Cymru, was at the Wales Millennium Centre, Chapter and Sherman Cymru 27 – 29 June 2014
Under Milk Wood: An Opera Emma Geliot spends a day in an hour at Sherman Cymru for a new operatic version of Dylan Thomas’ classic play for voices.
How on earth should a work of fiction, designed to be seen by the mind’s eye, be staged and set to music? It’s a real conundrum for a piece that’s so familiar to many potential audience members. Composer John Metcalf, together with director Keith Turnbull and musical director, Wyn Davies, approached the production with a light touch. Drawing out the innate lyricism of Thomas’ play for voices (some fifty characters in the original), the humour is retained while Simon Banham’s set re-creates the no-man’s land of the recording studio, albeit with ramps and podia. The characters are reduced in number but the interweaving of dream and real-time action as the play moves from night (“starless and bible black”) through a compressed 24 hours in the life of the fictional village of Llareggub, remains true to the original. The whittled-down cast means fewer characters, who will linger longer in the memory. Blind Captain Cat (Michael Douglas Jones), in his rocking chair, acts as a fulcrum at the centre of the action, while his deep bass baritone voice acts as a musical anchor, allowing the voices of the other singers and the instruments (characters in themselves) to rise and fall as the moods shift and the scenes change. Structured over 29 scenes that flow with the narrative, the singers switch characters without the fussiness of a lot of costume changes or over-detailing. The scenes are character- rather than set-based, with some cunning devices to add colour or solve problems. So Willy Nilly, the postman (Paul Carey Jones) steams open the letters, or delivers them from a trolley, hung with percussive instruments and featuring an integral letterbox. This mobile prop obviates the need for actual doors to post through in the pared-down set. Similarly the costumes are simple, contemporary and muted, it is the singers’ characterisation and the musical shifts that signal a change in persona. There are many memorable moments or sections. The trio playing Mrs Ogmore Pritchard (Gweneth-Ann Jeffers) and her dead husbands (Carey Jones and Richard Morris) are beautifully comic as the former pursues her bossy and obsessive quest for domestic hygiene. Polly Garter’s bright cheerfulness in the face of romantic disappointment hits the right pathetic note, but it’s the integration of musicians into the action on stage that I particularly like. Somehow this creates an equality between sung and played music that allows, as I’ve said, the instruments to become extra characters in the action. Harp, crwth, flutes, piano, strings and an impressive range of percussion – some less than conventional – occupy the space where Thomas’ dramatis personae has been pruned back.
While I certainly felt the gradual temporal shift through the lighting and tempo of the work, the video back projection was less convincing – it occasionally stuttered and added little to a piece that can still evoke added detail in the mind’s eye. However, there was a moment in the production (about mid-day in Llareggub time) when a voice in my head said, “This is charming; I am charmed”, starkly contrasting with the voice behind me, belonging to an audience member who I can only imagine had some form of Tourette’s syndrome, who swore and exclaimed sporadically throughout the performance. Did Under Milk Wood need to be turned into an opera, did it need yet another version? Part of me feels that the investment could have been more valuable if it was for a completely new work, and Metcalf’s recent collaborations and projects have shown that he has plenty of new territory to explore. But, within the context of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival, this was a worthwhile aid to the appreciation of the Thomas canon. — CCQ
Under Milk Wood: An Opera is a co-production between Taliesin Arts Centre, Le Chien Qui Chante (Montreal) and Companion Star (New York), in association with Welsh National Opera. Emma saw the performance at Sherman Theatr Cymru, Cardiff.
Illustration: Laura Sorvala
www.chapter.org | 029 2030 4400
Market Road, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1QE Heol y Farchnad, Treganna, Caerdydd CF5 1QE Exhibition open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm; Thursday & Friday 12-8pm; closed Monday Arddangosfa ar agor: Dyddiau Mawrth, Mercher, Sadwrn a Sul 12-6pm; dyddiau Iau a Gwener 12-8pm; ar gau Dydd Llun
Addasiad gan Gareth Miles o nofel T Rowland Hughes
An adaptation of T Rowland Hughes’ novel by Gareth Miles
Pontio, Bangor 17–20 / 23–27 Medi / Sept: 19.30 27 Medi / Sept: 14.30 £15 / £12 / £10 Tocyn teulu / Family Ticket: £30 pontio.co.uk / 01248 382828 #chwalfa theatr.com / @theatrgencymru
Dylunio / Design: Departures Rhif elusen cofrestredig: 1106032 | Cwmni cofrestredig: 4784488
NOSON PUBLIC information NIGHT 2
PUBLIC INFORMATION Private view: Saturday 27 September 6pm
Golwg breifat: Dydd Sadwrn 27 Medi 6pm
ORIEL MYRDDIN GALLERY
ORIEL MYRDDIN GALLERY
Exhibition continues until 1 November 2014
Arddangosfa yn parhau tan 1 Tachwedd 2014
A cross-disciplinary multi-media exhibition in response to Dylan Thomas’ war films made for the Ministry of Information. Curated by Craig Wood and Peter Finnemore.
Arddangosfa aml-gyfrwng drawsddisgyblaethol mewn ymateb i ffilmiau rhyfel Dylan Thomas a wnaed ar gyfer y Weinyddiaeth Hysbysrwydd. Wedi’i churadu gan Craig Wood a Peter Finnemore.
24hr radio broadcast 26/27 September 2014 Darllediad radio 24 awr 26/27 Medi 2014
Friday 17 October 2014 7 till late
Dydd Gwener 17 Hydref 2014 7 tan hwyr
ORIEL MYRDDIN GALLERY AND OTHER VENUES
ORIEL MYRDDIN GALLERY A LLEOLIADAU ERAILL
Contact the gallery for evening programme of events.
Cysylltwch â’r oriel ar gyfer rhaglen y noson o ddigwyddiadau.
Public Information is an experimental project exploring collaboration between artists across disciplines. Public Information Night 2 in Carmarthen will feature; Peski Records, the AE101 Collective, Peter Finnemore and Craig Wood, Geraint Francon, Canolfan Hamdden, Daniel Trivedy and Jason & Becky.
Prosiect arbrofol yw Public Information sy’n rhoi sylw i’r cydweithredu rhwng artistiaid mewn gwahanol feysydd. Bydd Peski Records, the AE101 Collective, Peter Finnemore a Craig Wood, Geraint Francon, Canolfan Hamdden, Daniel Trivedy a Jason & Becky yn cymryd rhan yn Noson Public Information 2 yng Nghaerfyrddin.
An Oriel Myrddin Gallery event for the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival Un o ddigwyddiadau Oriel Myrddin ar gyfer Gwyl Dylan Thomas 100 01267 222775 / www.orielmyrddingallery.co.uk / @orielmyrddin
www.4w fi lm.o rg
Yn agor Medi 2014 Canolfan Celfyddydau ac Arloesi Pontio Tocynnau ar werth nawr ar gyfer y Tymor Agoriadol
Opening in September 2014 Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre Tickets now on sale for the Opening Season
Art Across the City; good cop bad cop; The Writing Shed; Joao Morais; Marc Rees and National Theatre Wales; Theatr Iol0; Public Information;...