The Night of Art festival makes the trip to Dundee, with a wild party in a car park and a barrow display
Last Saturday, the Art Night festival made its debut in the Scottish city of Dundee, marking the first time the one-night-only art event has held a full-fledged edition outside of London. It was also the first full appearance of Art Night since the pandemic. “The festival does not have a specific theme, it is about being together and coming together socially after a long period of separation,” said Helen Nisbet, artistic director of Art Night. “It’s also about Dundee, the places, the landscape, the cultural and political history and, most importantly, the people,” she added the caveat.
This intertwining of art, people and place is powerfully encapsulated in Ritchie Carey’s performance and installation in the large, glass-fronted pavilion in Baxter Park, which was gifted to the people rather than the city of Dundee by the linen mill that the Baxter family owned in the mid-19th century. It was both sad and exhilarating to hear Carey’s powerful and sometimes dissonant voice based on newsboy vocals delivered by a number of Dundee-based singers (including the wonderfully named group Loadsaweeminsinging) echoing across one of the few remaining pieces of truly popular song. Land in the city.
Nearby, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley occupied another historic public building with a room-sized interactive art video game, called Imperfection: I knew your voice before you spoke. This was at the Arthurston Community Library, one of five public libraries funded in the early 1900s by the Scottish-American steel baron Andrew Carnegie. By jumping on vinyl floor platforms, even your game-phobic reporter had fun navigating Black Trans TV’s “mid-apocalypse world” where angels can be collected, weather systems (including “anti-sovereign rain”) can be changed, And chances are matches between champions like “Married Cis Girl into Trans Porn” and “Desperate Trans Girl Feels Unlovable” are made (and possibly broken).
Fantastic and often fantastical unions are also found in Tai Shani My body remains, your body remains, and all the physical remains that ever were, ever will be. A meditation on the liberating power of love, this epic film was presented at the Little Theatre, home of Dundee’s longest running dramatic society. There was more intertwining of art and community life in Glorious Madness Flower Wash Show, installed by the touring artist-run Wooosh Gallery in Dundee. This performative flower display of exhibits carried by barrows first processed from community gardens throughout the city to a judging ceremony in the Miller’s Wynd parking lot, where all the elaborately planted barrows would remain until the snails and slugs had completely consumed their contents.
Generator Projects, Dundee’s leading artist-run space, was also drawing crowds with Dundonian artist and recent graduate Euan Taylor, AKA Inefficiency Solutions. Taylor project Welcome visit The company invited visitors to have their photos taken in a “hard working environment” wearing hard hats and fluorescent vests and accompanied by a friendly-dressed executive against a backdrop of a pile of rubbish, perhaps waiting for recycling.
Art Night also intervened in Dundee’s established art spaces. Inside the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed two-storey Oak Room, originally designed for a Glasgow tearoom in 1907 and now the jewel in the crown of the Victoria and Albert Museum Dundee, Lucy Mackenzie was joining the dots of global modernism by displaying a re-edited version of necklace (Pendant) is a 1990s Czech historical television drama, which was filmed largely in another famous interior location: Müller-Albert Loos’s 1933 villa in Prague. At the Cooper Gallery at Duncan College of Art and Design in Jordanston, Heather Phillipson Dream land It reaffirms our indelible interconnectedness with all that surrounds us by remixing and reviving classic 1980s BBC nature documentaries in a three-way cross-genre mash-up. Within this, Phillipson also organized Mourning ritualsIt is a live performance in which she uses film, sound and spoken word in a poetic and poignant elegy for all dead animals, including her recently deceased dog.
The McKenzie and Phillipson exhibitions will remain in place until early July, while the film and installation, founded by Saoirse Amira Anais, is in Dundee. Violation of the decrepit body It is currently on view at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) until 6 August. One of several Dundee-based artists who play a prominent role at Art Night, Anais draws on her Scottish and Moroccan heritage to create a mysterious, rope-laden deity who lives partly in and out of water. In Art Night, she brought this creature to life as an elaborately masked and somewhat sinister figure – wearing a tattered, embroidered crimson cloak – who darted, swooped and rocked from the DCA all the way to HMS Unicorn, a wooden naval frigate moored on the waterfront. Here she cast the mask as an offering into the River Tay, the site and source of much of Dundee’s wealth, trade and turbulent history.
Another famous ship in the maritime city is the Dundee-built RRS Discovery, which took Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica in 1901 and is now a major landmark, located next to the V&A Dundee’s stunning hull-shaped building designed by Kengo Kuma. On Art Night, the rooftops of Discovery resonated with a mix of experimental and traditional bagpipes, saxophone and other instrumental music in a program devised and partly performed by musician, broadcaster and DJ Nabiha Iqbal, who was in a final tribute to Scott and his bandmates. expedition, she ended up performing a DJ set at Dundee’s Arctic Bar.
In inviting artists to participate in the Art Night, Nisbet revealed that she compared house parties and the way different activities take place in different rooms: as she puts it, “dancing in the living room, having a meaningful conversation in the living room.” The kitchen, meeting an old friend in line for the toilet, crying with a friend in the park, or sweating it out on the stairs. No doubt all of the above happened in Dundee last Saturday night, but for this writer, the house party dancing atmosphere was largely provided by Emma Hart. big, a rave celebration that took place not in a living room but in a multi-storey Greenmarket car park. Here, on the top floor overlooking the River Tay, Hart and her sister DJ Emma played an epic four-hour set as we all made our moves between her painted cardboard sculptures of giant raised hands and gave thanks for having so joyfully come together in the name of art.