Produced by Helm Arts, and with support from Calmac and the Jura Passenger Ferry, EXPOSURE will be touring in Scotland in the Summer of 2021. NB Dates in Edinburgh have been extended
DUNOON Burgh Hall
17 June – 18 July
UIG, ISLE OF LEWIS, Hulabhaig at Baille na Cille
23 July – 5 August
EDINBURGH Scottish Storytelling Centre
11 September – 11 October [extended stay]
GLASGOW Civic House
14 October – 24 October
Cross-media art project from an island
EXPOSURE is an immersive, multi-discilplinary exhibition and installation made by film maker and painter Andy Metcalf and musician, sound artist and photographer Giles Perring. Produced by Helm Arts.
This work explores the brute nature of landscape, the vulnerability of human expression and the critical importance of sociality in shaping our creations. Birthed on the wild and beautiful Isle of Jura, Exposure harnesses video, painting, 35mm and medium format photography, text, sound installation and performance in order to depict the many facets of the uneasy experience of a human relationship with a harsh island environment – be that emotional, existential, ecological, or elemental.
This work brings together two perspectives - the familiar with the ‘outside eye’. The Isle of Jura, for Metcalf, is far-flung, whereas for Perring it is the centre of his world, his normality, his everyday. The dialogue sparked by these two creative responses begs questions around what defines our sense of ‘remote’.
This exhibit features the sounds of the World Organ - an outside sound sculpture created by Giles Perring, located on the Isle of Jura. It is built to listen to, respond to and shape the sound of the landscape that surrounds it. The result is a generative piece of music and which Giles has streamed live, 24/7, since he launched this project in August 2020.
‘Ex Piano’ Ilford PAN F
‘Notes on a Piano’ is a subject explored in photos, text, music and film in EXPOSURE.
A delicate ecology
a sequence of movements
a harmony of elements
made of wood and wool
teeth, iron and wire.
Hands dug ore,
robbed tusks from sacred elephants
and then locked in forces,
that organised the infinity of sound
into groups of a dozen.
From C to C.
a time machine
Soft hands caressed this matrix
and its alphabet
and found its music
and transcribed the outcome,
More hands took wood and iron
and with the alchemy of ink
turned the music into money.
if you like.
it could breathe only
in an atmosphere
by the sweat and blood
It was a portal
to a universe of human invention,
and for those free from the struggle of just surviving
it was a magical ship
in which to embark on adventures of the mind
A mind reader
a match maker
Ignored for one moment too long
the fragile climate that sustains it
is disrupted without reprieve
once paused by those hands
that turned threads, sticks and stones
once supple joints
that could run and leap
are rendered arthritic
by air that is just plain wrong.
The delicate balance
of improbably aligned
cells and atoms
with which hands could summon the spirit
By grain upon grain
of just so much dust,
meaning is obscured
function is forgotten,
and purpose is eroded
that puts mind and hand back
to more urgent use.
The octagonal Henge echoes the layout of my sound sculpture the World Organ, which is located on the Isle of Jura. The sound of the World Organ is rendered in surround sound in the exhibition space for this show. I also make the sound it creates available to listeners via a live stream [www.worldorgan.com].
The organ's 8 notes face 8 points of the compass, and so gather a 360º panoramic sound picture, which the organ affects harmonically, by means of an acoustic principle I’ve employed. I’ve chosen a pentatonic scale to do this, which is echoed in the 5 interlocking ‘hands’ that form the joints of the Henge structure. Andy Metcalf's paintings inside the Henge were made in response to listening to the live sound of the World Organ as it was in development on Jura.
Henge concept - Andy Metcalf, Giles Perring
Architectural design - Paddy Perring
A visual response to Giles’s World Organ, made as the artist worked in the studio on Jura, wrapped up in this soundscape.fullscreen
The World Organ is a sound work by Giles Perring. It streams live from the Isle of Jura, shaping the sounds it hears around it with an acoustic, harmonic system that is driven by the wind, rain, and anything else that moves the air in the organ.
The live stream, a cat’s whisker of a connection to our sparsely populated island, running on a 4g data uplink, is regularly updated. There is a Listen Again area as well, offering long listens from Jura stretching back to summer 2020, when we launched.
About the World Organ
The World Organ, a sound installation created by Giles Perring, is a system of tubes that listens to the world and relays what it hears acoustically via a dedicated audio system.
The debut album from the World Organ is released 22.1.21 as a download and a stream by XA Music. The World Organ is a sound sculpture on the Isle of Jura that adds an ever changing acoustic, harmonic layer to everything that it hears, and which it has streamed worldwide since the summer of 2020. Assembled from Giles Perring’s selection of his recordings, made from the installation over 18 months, the album comes as a 60 minute single track, ‘Lowlandman’s Bay’. Exploring the catalogue of sounds that the Organ hears and shapes, from swallows and bees via distant sheep and seals, to gales and thunderstorms, Giles describes this album as an ‘episodic’ picture of the bay on the island where the project has originated.
The World Organ is part of the EXPOSURE collaboration with artist Andy Metcalf. It’s part of a cross-media installation created on the Isle of Jura which adopts a radical approach to the idea of landscape, and the World Organ portrays its surroundings sonically. An acoustic phenomenon that the Organ is designed to create, weaves a musical layer into the sounds of the natural world. The World Organ is installed at the Sound of Jura Studio at Knockrome, on Jura, overlooking Lowlandmans Bay.
Oil on canvas. 102 x 40 . 2019
Oil on Canvas. 77x51cm. 2020
‘Sometimes its only possible to write and think about the process, the history of the project that finally led to a series of paintings. For Blue Jura, it started with days of standing at the large painting table in Giles and Chris’s front room looking out onto the slate green implacable waters of the Sound of Jura, not knowing how to respond to the immense otherness of the ocean, which never looked friendly. There was some swimming off rocks into a world full of sea kale. Next, back to London for months of development, drawing, frustration, studies, a time of ‘not knowing’. Then finally the series Blue Jura kicked off. At present it comprises some 25 paintings.’
Acrylic on Khadi paper. 100 x 70. 2020
Acrylic on Bockingford paper. 178x121cm. 2019-20
I use 35mm and medium format black and white film. For me, the process of film photography, rather than its digital counterpart, continues a long human practice that records and captures subjects through the permanent alteration of one substance or another.
The work in EXPOSURE has focused on images of the land and the sea, but also Nature’s re-casting of forgotten or abandonned human creations.
‘Storm Helene 2’ Ilford HP5fullscreen Buy Now
‘Storm Eric 1’ Ilford HP5
‘Rashes 2’ Ilford HP5
‘Pelt’ Ilford FP4
‘Evans Walk’ Ilford FP4
‘Cardinal Buoy’ Ilford HP5
‘Finlaggan’ Ilford FP4
‘Byre’ Ilford HP5
This video, ‘Ferry’, directed by Andy Metcalf, features Giles Perring’s composition ‘Leif’, which is performed by Catriona Price – violin; Esther Swift – harp; Marius Munthe-Kaas – drums and glockenspiel; Giles Perring – piano and ukelele.
EXPOSURE includes a suite of short films, which are in dialogue with the soundscape, the photographs and the paintings.
‘Byre’ is shot and directed by Andy Metcalf. The sound design, text and music, ‘A Fly in Amber’ is by Giles Perring. The vocal performer is Melanie Pappenheim.
A Fly in Amber
A Poem by Giles Perring
Andy Metcalf is a painter and film maker, known for his bold painting, installation work, and innovative film making, as well as his work for the BBC and for Channel 4. His pioneering TV work, is typified by ‘Welcome to the Spiv Economy’ [which Giles scored with Guy Evans], which was a centre piece of the London Barbican’s 2018 film season ‘The Television Will Be Revolutionised’
‘Exposure’ has one central collaboration between myself and Giles working together on the suite of six short films, made on Jura over 18 months. The dialogue about ‘Exposure’ – with other collaborators – has often been about the implacable ‘brute’ force of the landscape/weather of Jura and how that impacts on us as ‘vulnerable’ human beings. One result of this dialogue is that I have made one series of paintings , ‘Sounds Off’, which are a response to Giles’s World Organ, made as I worked in the studio on Jura, wrapped up in this soundscape.
I have long been driven by the desire and the need to challenge existing art formats and sensibilities.Much of my work in film, painting and installation has been inspired by a restless energy in which I seek to break the existing norms of what art is commonly thought to be. I get excited and energised by the idea of doing innovative projects with other artists. Although of course such projects bring with them considerable challenges.
In my film and TV work , I have directed drama documentaries around themes of rebellion and nuclear energy, as well as more mainstream productions. My film ‘Welcome to the Spiv Economy’ , made with the Newsreel Collective, and originally shown on Channel 4, was a centre piece for the Barbican’s 2018 season: ‘The Television will be Revolutionised ‘. The score for that film was created by Giles Perring and Guy Evans. There was innovation too in the ways I sought to reshape the progammes I supervised as an Executive Producer in the BBC, trying to push the envelope of what were often tired programme formats.
My painting has evolved over more than 20 years to become both more audacious and more assertive of my individuality. At the same time, I have been conscious of my need for a collaborative context to do my best work. In 2016 I worked with 3 other artists to produce the Now Project in London’s Ply Gallery – a show full of impact, created by all of us – my contribution was large scale bold paintings with a limited palette. I also worked collaboratively, (contributing the camerawork) to the video work in the widely seen show in Shoreditch, London put on by Degrees of Freedom and titled ‘Republic of Brexitopia’ ( 2017).
In 2018 I created another adventurous work through constructing a 4 meter long collage on the wall of the Ply Gallery exploring the theme of ‘Archaeology’ with both a personal and historical dimension. The personal dimension also was at the forefront with the Degrees of Freedom exhibition in the 13th Century St Augustine’s Tower in Hackney. Here I reflected on my school days through objects and images displayed in three chests.
Andy’s paintings for EXPOSURE fall into three series.
BLUE JURA comprises work made in London about the island.
SOUNDS OFF is evoked by hearing the sounds from the World Organ playing as Giles worked on his emerging soundscape.
WANDERERS originated in the first long residency on the island.
The examples shown here are a sample from the three series. Work is still going on.
Giles Perring is a musician, composer, educator and cross media artist. He is founder member of the sonic sculpture collective Echo City. Their pioneering work in the creation of giant outdoor musical instruments and participatory music making, via their sonic playgrounds, saw them traverse play, performance, community and inclusive arts, installation art and recording over a career that began in Bethnal Green London, in 1983.
As well as his work in Echo City, Giles has worked in sound and multimedia installations with collaborators like Susie Honeyman, John Cayley and Melanie Pappenheim. Giles and Susie installed the sound work ‘Marsh Music’ in their joint show with Jock MacFadyen, Iain Sinclair and Anthony Gormley at London’s Wapping Project, which they followed up with a Jerwood Commission for music to accompany ‘Black Flag’, an exhibition of monolithic images by photographer Annabel Elgar at the Wapping Project. With the digital text artist John Cayley and the singer Melanie Pappenheim, he has created various works for installation in the UK, Brazil, US and Germanys and online.
His composition credits include commissions for Salisbury Festival Chorus and La Folea, Covent Garden Festival, and in 2011, The Tall Ships Race. He composed a very successful portfolio of music for the Extreme Music Library which located his work in TV shows like ‘Sex and The City’ and ‘Lost’.
As a performer, he has worked with performers and groups as diverse as industrial music’s enfant terrible Fad Gadget/Frank Tovey, the electronica duo Unmen, which he founded with Nick Cash, award winning contemporary choir The Shout, and free jazz titan Alan Wilkinson.
Giles operates a music studio and creative space, Sound of Jura, where he has recorded and produced artists like Aline Frazão, Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha, Corn Potato String Band and Mekons. He has created film and theatre music and scores in the studio, in particular in collaboration with the director and actor Lia Williams, for documentary cinema and for new work from the playwright Frank McGuinness. Recent work on Jura will feature in the new album ‘Muscle Memory’ by Kevin Godley.
His series of solo performances involving telephones, The Exchange, which he began in 2001, has seen a number of iterations and along the way, has been nominated for a Royal Bank of Scotland Community Arts Award, featured in Glasgow’s Sonica Festival in 2013 and was the finale event in the launch of Argyll’s new arts body CHArts in September 2019, in a performance which live-streamed worldwide to an audience.
HELM Arts was started by Kirsty Law at the end of 2019 after over a decade of working in the Scottish arts in a variety of ways. A performer, musician and artistic collaborator herself, Kirsty has taken part in numerous large scale interdisciplinary arts projects, as well as producing her own. Working with Finnish artists whilst sailing across the North Sea, collaborating with visual artists in a disused herring factory in northern Iceland, touring as a folk singer, aiding in the installation of many visual art exhibitions of photography, drawing, painting and moving image work, performing on the shorelines of a Scottish island as part of a large contemporary music project, taking a groundbreaking modern piece of female storytelling to a Malaysian literary festival - are just some of the exciting things that Kirsty has been involved in in her career so far.
To make this work happen she has also spent many hours writing funding applications, finding venues, learning how to visually represent different artists and musicians in promotional contexts, and how to represent this work in writing.
From planning to the execution of each project, her approach is broad and creative, always asking first and foremost ‘what best serves the work?’
Kirsty is passionate about creating a support service that is inclusive. Helm Arts is arts company that aims to support and listen to the needs of LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, women in male-dominated sectors, people with a disability, people in remote communities and anyone else marginalised in the work that they do.