Christian Barnes of Vista Projects blogging about 'Futurescope' an art project with Landscape Architect John Kennedy at Lingfield Point Darlington. Futurescope is a sequential exhibition of eight massive circular images.
When we launched 'Futurescope' we felt, as we always feel, about all our work that we shouldn't stamp ourselves all over it, that we should share and not seek to carry the bill. We thought of it as a variety show that might have some guest spots, like Andre Previn appearing on Morecambe and Wise. So we made a call out for others to send us their ideas and a few people did! Mostly these ideas were rubbish but amongst them Liminal's proposal stood out. It picked up the trompe L'oeil theme we set out to achieve with 'sunflowers' but not in a way that either of us would have thought of. It also brought their preoccupations with urban soundscapes to Lingfield Point presenting as it does the drama of an image associated with aggressive noise in circumstances where it is mute.
At one time the building was anything but mute and as it happens the walls of the turbine hall are plastered with these posters.
of course these posters remind me of Peter Saville's fantastic 'Use Hearing Protection' poster for Factory records...
Its an image the 'bullhorn' I associate with alarm, with demonstrations, with control... and wierdly of seeing Mark E. Smith singing with one. It also (by dint of pure co-incidence in what is rapidly becoming a freak 80's time-warp blog entry) reminds me of the cover of my Penguin copy of George Orwell's 1984 (which covers alarm, control and demonstrations... in gruelling depth). Orwell wrote it as an uncannily accurate description of a postwar dystopia projected just ahead of the Millennium in 1948 the same year that Lingfield Point was approaching completion.
But enough of co-incidence its a change of tone for the project as it enters its second year and as the boom times of the last decade evaporate it seems really relevant... a silent factory calling for development and attention in a post industrial age. Its an image that collages the whole of the powerhouse wall and the circular image together. An image that is both urgent and eligiac. Although its so simple, so off the cuff, it has a really poetic character. That's why we loved it.
Frances from Liminal explains more about the thinking behind HUM! “As a collaborative arts practice that explores the relationship between sound and the environment, the Powerhouse and the circular image hanging on it immediately reminded us of an over-sized loud speaker. This, together with the image of the inside of a megaphone became the catalyst for HUM! As the Futurescope project has developed we noted that the image of the ‘Beeman’ made links to Paton and Baldwin’s original corporate logo of the beehive. So we called our picture HUM because its an onomatopoeic word for the sound that the turbine hall would have made; it is also the sound bees, which have been introduced to Lingfield Point as part of its sustainability ethos, make and the description of the busy workers who would have been employed in the building at its peak.”
The other thing the image calls to mind is Anish Kapoor's massively expensive 'Temenos' recently unveiled nearby in Middlesbrough.
Kapoor who emerged in the 80's alongside artists like Deacon, Cragg and Gormley is a sort of 'hole' master, an artist for whom surface is everything, an artist whose holes, like this one above in a private collection near Edinburgh, suck you in. Well here is another reason to like Liminal's proposal. This is punk rock to his prog rock. A digital photo - shot quick - printed big - stuck on a building and gone in three months.
It fits the the see it - think it - do it ethic we always wanted for the project. It comes right back at you.