Group ExhibitionSHIFT Basement Capitol Centre Queen St Cardiff CF10 2HQ Opening 18:00 – 22:00 Wed 20th November 2019
Audio-visual work by three South Wales based artists exploring recently discovered personal family histories connected with voice/song.
The artists have all (re)connected with a family member, living, dead, met and not met through an inquiry that started from a stumbled upon object, family heirloom or conversation. With this work the artists both archive and bring to the present the details of significant family events, routine activities and synchronicities across the generations, deepening personal connections and family relationships and drawing attention to their own sense of mortality and identity.
It all started with a discovery of a handbag containing pencil written letters from Sianed’s great aunt Dilys writing to her brothers in the trenches of WW1; a correspondence with a mystery Mr J.R.Owen from Machynlleth; a gift of a Swyn, a charm of protection; a story of Sianed’s grandfather and great Uncle as young lads, walking from village to village around Devils Bridge carrying a harp on their backs; a series of live video/sonic/visual improvisations rooted in the healing powers of a circle. Cân Elenydd weaves all these stories and improvisations together. A collaboration between composer Sianed Jones, video/sound artist Jacob Whittaker, abstract landscape artist Mary Lloyd Jones and live artist Maria Hayes.
After my Grandmother died we found some old 78 records in her house, including a recording by my Great Grandfather, a Cantor (singer/leader in religious song and prayer) from Czechoslovakia. One song stood out. Google translated the song title from Hebrew as In His Heels. After squashing this big voice into a digital file, it felt as though it should be expanded again into a physical space and shared. That same year I found out I had a cousin, Sion, living only a couple of miles away. Sion agreed to respond to the recording using our voices and acoustic instruments that we could both play to some degree or other. The people who contributed to this track ”“ Leon, Si, Adam, Thomas are part of the story too, a continuation. In the making there were found fallen sticks in place of misplaced brushes, shared parallel histories and a friend that turned up at the right time to help make this. www.johanahartwig.co.uk
17m:19s:00f is a video piece I made during a period of research on the duration, beginnings, ends and mid points of events. The films split-screen form depicts the duration of my late father’s life, with each frame of video, projected at 25fps, representing a single day of his 72 years; on one side, aided by 2 time-codes, we see life progressing and on the other, we see it running out. The seemingly abstract colour cycle on screen is actually made of extreme close-ups of his handed-down photographic darkroom equipment and on the sound track we hear his home-made photo-processing timing tape, as well as a little singing. The objects are arranged according to the way in which the Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro used colour to represent different periods of a life- birth, education, maturity etc, in the film The Last Emperor. www.jonratigan.com