A recent surge across fields of art and music has been the stitching together of archival film footage and live audio performance and installation. Artists and musicians are delivering a more expansive and experimental impression of the world around them. In Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery for Tramlines 2013, 65dos (65 Days of Static) have formed a new dynamic concept, said to be loosely inspired by Ezra Pound’s imagist manifesto in which concrete images are juxtaposed to allow a new abstraction to form.
65dos derives from research in the 1950s-60s into how 65 days of exposure to white noise or static was sufficient for causing insanity. A voice repeats the idea of so many "days of radio silence", and initiates a sense of paranoia in all of us that somehow, we aren't ever receiving all the information. Perhaps gesturing towards South Korea and their 'jamming' of North Korean radio stations, until they reach the southern listener as purely electronic-noise, or nothing.
Every hour in the festival evenings, 65dos (65 Days of Static) are performing their rhythmically complex and experimental soundtrack to film, as is typical of this accomplished math-rock group. A split-screen film projection overhead depicts soaring industrial cityscapes, 3-dimmensional graphic animations of unidentifiable data, clips of political and social unrest. All varying from high definition to the reprocessed and glitched, and as the film streams 65dos perform a parallel live soundtrack that oscillates and spreads, perforating the dense audience from unpredictable points around the space. ‘Sleepwalk City’ is the bands’ riskiest artistic plunge yet, into deep and agitated waters for a 30-minute impression of discord the world-over, whilst celebrating the enduring beauty of the natural landscape. This is an impressive multifarious achievement by the Sheffield group, well worth seeing on the final night of the festival.
Also continuing at the Millennium Gallery is Tramlines’ visual art accompaniment ‘Prism’. Ordinarily a one-nighter, ‘Prism’ is a contemporary art event with live elements and installation, installed in atypical locations across the city. In this rendition ‘Prism’ occupies a more traditional gallery space but the selection is never the less stimulating. A beguiling stack of billowing inflated bin-bags somehow holds itself together and manages to emit curious sound. ‘Sexy Practical’ by Artist Dicky Taylor sensationalises the unremarkable household item by pumping life into the plastic sheath and rendering it somewhat irresistible. This sits amongst many other intriguing video works, sculptures and wall drawings - ‘Prism’ seems increasingly astute to burgeoning artistic talent.
‘Prism’ opened with eclectic performances including band G R E A T W A V E S who brought dreamy rainbow scribbles, summer sounds by DJ Plenty Vibes and a ten minute stint by theatre group Third Angel with ‘SongMap: Arab Strap the first big weekend’. Lightly dissecting the much-adored monologue of this classic Arab Strap track into live quick-sketched components and categories shown via overhead projector. Third Angel are evidently gifted in stripping down what we know (or think we know) of the world into refreshing vignettes, from pop-culture to heavier matters of human experience, the systems in which we live and should perhaps break down into simpler chunks for a reassessment.Tramlines festival ran from Friday 19 July to Sunday 21 July 2013
Jane Faram, Writer and Artist
Prism has established itself as Sheffield’s premier art event by giving new artists chances to exhibit alongside more established names.
As co-organiser Darren Chouings explained to me, ‘We have an open call, Europe wide for artists to display with us, and we hold Prism four times a year. Up to now we’ve involved 117 artists from 9 countries. It’s about 60% art professionals and 40% students, but they all go through same submission process and are all treated on same level.’
In addition to this, Darren and co-curator Jamie Crewe aim to accompany the art shows with live performances, and do all of this in a friendly social setting. Darren and his volunteers have spent the last five days working on the installation, which will only be available from eight until midnight tonight.
There are a variety of works from Robin Close, Joe Cutts, Michael Day, Graham Hutchinson, Lindsey Mendick, Sara Pinfold, Carrie Thortersen, Jaro Varga and Joey Wright. They range from videos to painted and drawn art, and are all displayed in the ground floor gallery, and from early on the crowds have gathered to see the latest instalment of the Prism art project.
Tonight, the opening performance is by Kate Sicchio, a choreographer and lecturer living in Sheffield and working in the field of live video and dance. In a packed room she takes us through her performance entitled ‘Nayra mara’. She dances in front of an image projected on an entire wall, on which she both casts a shadow and which also responds to her movement.
It begins with colours, becomes shapes then changes to delayed images of herself as she creates it all with the help of a digital camera and a computer. Her aim is to explore the culture of an indigenous South American people, who reverse the time metaphor and think of the past as being in front of us.
A quick re-location via the bar, and then we all enjoy a performance by Adam and Matthew, known as Horses, a drum and guitar duo, who really tore down the gallery walls with their own wall of raw sound, made all the more intense by being in a small gallery.
A great night, very well attended, with a real feeling of being involved in art as it evolves in our city. As Darren told me ‘We like to feel we take people out of their comfort zone and encourage them to appreciate and experience something different’. He and his team seem to have done just that tonight.