Three installations inspired by Robert Burn’s epic poem Tam o’Shanter.
Film and installation
Ross Fleming’s ‘SPICEBOYS’ utilises Burns’s magnum opus ‘Tam O’Shanter’ as its backdrop, appropriating its witches, devils and headliners. The film centres around the historical narrative in which the protagonist witnesses an esoteric event unfolding and is subsequently chased. ‘SPICEBOYS’ presents a contemporary twist – a gender-fluid, queer ecology, brought to life through characterisation, song writing and bespoke costumes – with an alternative ending to the Burns original. Set amongst an installation of the dilapidated Alloway Auld Kirk, the film includes music and performance from DIY punk band Fallope & The Tubes and choreography from Dannika Channer.
Ross Fleming is a Glasgow-based artist. He studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, graduating in 2011. Fleming divides his time between his own practice and creating bespoke garments for performance artists such as Walker and Bromwich. Previous exhibitions include ‘Supernovia’, Glasgow Project Room, Trongate 103, 2016 and ‘Bring Your Own Beamer’, ECA, 2014. Fleming is a former committee member of The Telfer Gallery, Glasgow.
With special thanks to Museums and Galleries Edinburgh and City of Edinburgh Council.
Old Nick (Devil Dog)
92 x 53 x 50 cm
Edition of 5
Born in Cardiff 1961, Laura Ford studied at Bath Academy of Art from 1978-82 and at Chelsea School of Art from 1982-83. At 21 she was the youngest participant in ‘The Sculpture Show’ at the Hayward and Serpentine galleries. She was included in the British Art Show 5 in 2000, and represented Wales in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005. Selected solo shows include Camden Arts Centre, Arnolfini, Bristol, The Royal Scottish Academy and Turner Contemporary, Margate, touring to the Economist Plaza in 2007. She has permanent public works of sculpture installed outside the Chancellor’s office in Stockholm, at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt, in the grounds of hospitals in Heidelberg and Southmeads Bristol and outside the British Consulate in Ottawa.
Laura Ford’s work is represented in a number of public collections including; Tate, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Government Art Collection, Potteries Museum, National Museums and Gallery of Wales, Museum of Modern Art, University of Iowa, Arts Council of Great Britain, Contemporary Art Society, Unilever plc, Penguin Books, Oldham Art Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, The Meijier Gardens, Grand Rapids USA and The Gateway Foundation, St. Louis, as well as numerous private collections.
Raven’s Ravin II – The Spell
Audio visual installation
Graham challenges the premise of Tam O’Shanter, arguably Burns’s most famous poem, inviting the possibility that the Scottish bard was too quick to mock superstition and a fear of witchcraft.
This audio/visual installation introduces the idea that there were other eyes and ears on the night in question, those of the ravens, Huiginn and Munnin, from the Eddas of Norse mythology. Their names translate to “thought” and “memory”, and their job is to serve as Odin’s spies, bringing him news each night from the land of men.
By illuminating their intelligence, shown to be just below that of the average human being, French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss proposed a structuralist theory that suggested the raven obtained mythic status because it was a mediator between life and death.. These birds frequent
graveyards and derelict churches, and are seen world wide as a symbol of eternal life, a link between heaven and earth
In Carmina Gaedelica, Alexander Carmichael observed the curious antics of ravens in what he described as a ‘Raven’s Quadrille”
“On a small elevation hard by stood (a) large, noble-looking raven; probably the Maccrimmon of his race, and piped a port-a-bial loud, fast and furious. To this all the other ravens responded by running and hopping and jumping rapidly and regularly from certain points in two opposite directions. “they reeled, they crossed,”………… like the witches in Old Alloway Kirk-yard.’
Raven’s Ravin II- The Spell has evolved from its’ original site-specific form in the Alloway Auld Kirk, expanding to include additional sounds and imagery, playing with the idea of the birds intelligence. Overlying the audio soundscape is a mantra, a spell, immersed so deep within the sounds as to be almost wholly expunged, the wavelength of the spell, however, remains, accompanied by video footage of an unkindness of Ravens, suggesting we ignore the signs in nature at our peril.
Originally from Scotland, currently based in Belfast, Laura Graham is a qualified solicitor in Scots and Northern Irish Law and brings her former profession to bear in narratives involving justice and inequity, exploring allegory as a device for uncovering uncomfortable truths. Presently working with film, sound and text, she creates installations that investigate issues of embodied trauma and injustice using documentary evidence, historical, contemporary, and imagined.