Poi Documentary film 2m45s Poi Artists’ Statement by Audrey O Brien – Download
A homage to John Cage prepared piano* by Lochaber High School S3 Music class; applying new and experimental ideas and methods to music, art and technology. The film showcases the pupils’ pictures and film, sound from field and voice recordings; sculptural objects, drawings and interactive artwork*.
Room 13 Artist in Residence Audrey O’Brien worked with the class to explore new and experimental ideas and methods to music, art and technology using new electronic touch board tool, which allows any surface to connect to the digital world by conductive material or electronic paint.
Over four class periods in May/June 2016 Audrey worked with music teacher, Mr Young and 17 young people to learn and use and create their own ‘instruments’.
Mr Young had previously taught the class about one of the major figures in the modernist movement in music, John Cage. The class studied Prepared Piano – in which Cage placed objects on piano strings to alter the sound when played. To reintroduce this method, Mr Young suggested the pupils experimented with objects on the school piano strings.
The project started by collecting the objects pupils had in their school bags that were conductive, adding these to a collection of conductive objects on a table in the middle of the room. The most notable object to emerge from a school bag was a ruby shoe! The metal studs recorded on the piano generated unusual sounds.
A series of field recordings were then made by pupils from their own environment.
Sculptural objects were made by cutting and bending aluminium wire rods. These small sculptures would form the main body of their ‘instruments’ and the surface to connect to the digital recorded sounds via the Touch Board.
The project culminated in a performance with pupils acting as both audience and participants as their handmade ‘instruments’ were played alongside an improvised musical score.
Pupils photographed and filmed the entire process, which is shown here in this short documentary film.
In the Poi Artists’ Statement written to accompany the film, Audrey O Brien explains:
‘The title Poi comes from a tradition of performance art using voice, music, objects and dance (originating from New Zealand). It also means object manipulation. I have used the word Poi as a symbol of young people shaping and constructing their own learning. I like to use materials easily changeable. In this project, aluminium wire rods were shaped to make objects in the instrument construction. I wanted to find a word that supported the idea of young people having more control of their learning experience.’
Audrey O Brien was appointed by Room 13 International to work with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements at Lochaber High School. Audrey’s role, and the many projects she effected during her residency with Room 13, was made possible with project funding from Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first ever dada event, Room 13 invited members of the public to stretch their imaginations in a dada and surrealist manner at a recent event in the new Room 13 Community Studio at Caol.
Marking 100 years since the first ever dada event, on June 23rd 1916, Room 13’s dada day event was a playful introduction to Dada or Dadaism, an artistic movement that spread across Europe during and after the First World War (1914 – 1918). Short lived but prolific, the movement was a response to war and to what the artists saw as unprecedented horror and human folly. The works they produced were an active engagement of politics and culture.
This event was the inspiration of Audrey O’ Brien, and marked the end of her time as a visiting Artist in Residence at Lochaber High School. Audrey has been in post since October 2015, working with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements.
Audrey likened her experience of Room 13 to this movement and wanted to host a celebration of its 100th anniversary because:
“Dada art derided the idea that the artist was deserving of special status. The artist was a fallible mortal like everybody else, conversely, everyone else was capable of the same creative freedom as the artist.”
Dada & Surrealism, Robert Short
Room 13’s Dada Day was attended by Art, Music and History classes from Lochaber High School, and curious members of the public.
The event featured film screenings, sound installations, and visual displays representing the spirit and history of dadaism. Participants were encouraged to try out a variety of art techniques popular with the dada artists: Poem recipes, photomontage, experimental film-making and not forgetting to pay a visit to the Toilet Gallery!
Audrey followed up with a final visit to Lochaber High School on Wednesday 29th June to pose questions to pupils and reflect on their experience of Dada Day. She found that the teenagers have a lot to say in relation to recent events and political upheaval. Audrey explains:
“I am interested in the artistic movement Dada or Dadaism to provoke young people to think about the ideas behind this movement and provoke conversations on what current issues are important to them. It happened that my visit fell in the wake of the referendum. In their responses to questions such as ‘What issues are important to you and why?’ the pupils showed an acute awareness of recent events and concerns for their future.”
Audrey’s role, and the many projects she has effected during her time with Room 13, was made possible through project funding made available to Room 13 a partner in Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.
As well as supporting an artist to work with Lochaber High School and Room 13 Community Studio, this 2 year project has enabled Room 13 to deliver a range of different activities across Lochaber, involving over 300 young people aged 5-25. Room 13’s programme for Highland Youth Arts Hub has included workshops for Very Young Artists, mentoring and development of a youth volunteer group at Room 13 Community Studio and a series of workshops aimed at helping schools and remote communities to Grow Your Own Room 13.
The principles of Dadaism centred on deliberate irrationality, anarchy and cynicism, and the rejection of the laws of beauty and social organisation.
Artists, musicians, writers and intellectuals discussed their love of the irrational and the nonsensical in terms of a rejection of the political and cultural values which they argued had created the war in the first place. The movement was based on the principles of deliberate nonsense and ‘childish’ responses; th
Young artists from three Lochaber schools have been making use of Outlandia, the treehouse and artists’ field station in Glen Nevis, as part of a programme of workshops for very young artists being run by Room 13 with support from the Highland Youth Arts Hub. In May 2016, three school groups were invited to Outlandia to participate in a series of projects with local artists Ali Berardelli and Jen Deschenes.
Spean Bridge Primary School P6/7 class worked with the artists to illustrate an ancient Gaelic poem, Allt an t-Siùcair (The Sugar Burn) by Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair which explores the landscape around a burn in west Lochaber and used screen printing to create final images that have been on display in Outlandia. A sound work accompanied the images. The group travelled to Glen Nevis and walked to Outlandia to view their artwork and also to participate in a drawing and printing activity making mini sketchbooks from Outlandia. The groups were accompanied by Ruari Watt, Forestry Commission’s Communites, Recreation and Tourism Ranger who provided activities and information for all the pupils leading the pupils on adventures through the forest.
A group from the Learning Support Base at Lochaber High School worked with music therapist and teacher Clare Reynolds when they spent time at Outlandia. The group also worked with Ali Austin, the Nevis Property Manager with the John Muir Trust making journey sticks, a method of interpreting and illustrating the journey to Outlandia.
Lundavra Primary 6/7 class visited the West Highland Museum as part of the Outlandia project to view the [wish] [miann] exhibition by Ali Berardelli and Jen Deschenes currently on show until later in the summer. The group then walked from Lundavra School across the Cow Hill to Outlandia where they participated in a drawing workshop and forest craft with Ruari Watt from Forestry Commission Scotland.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for young people to explore Glen Nevis and Outlandia; the pupils tried out different drawing techniques and were encouraged to look closely at the environment and make images that related to this. Taking groups to Outandia has been a real adventure, travelling on the different routes there and everyone enjoyed the experience. Working with a variety of people, artists, rangers, teachers has been very successful and we hope to be able to expand on this project in future years.We are thankful to Room 13 International who have afforded this opportunity.”
Ali Berardelli, lead artist ‘Very Young Artists at Outlandia’ project
This project has been a great example of partnership working within the Lochaber community, from schools, Nevis Landscape Partnership, Forestry Commission Scotland, John Muir Trust, Room 13 International, the Highland Youth Arts Hub, and individual artists. The outcomes from the project and images will be available on the Outlandia blog and website.
Post Author: Ali Berardelli
Ali Berardelli is a visual artist and project manager who lives locally in Fort William. Having been brought up in Lochaber, graduating from Glasgow School of Art in Illustration, and working within the Highland Council in arts development, Ali has been very involved in local community development work and has a strong interest in the visual arts. Ali has a young family and has worked with schools and community groups throughout the area helping to foster creativity in our community.
Jen Deschenes is a textile based artist and designer who comes from the island of Whalsay, off the Shetland mainland. A strong interest in history has led her to design intricate embroidery work and explore printed mediums. Jen has made her home in Spean Bridge and has two children. She has exhibited her artwork widely to international acclaim.
Clare Reynolds is a cellist, music therapist, and support for learning teacher who works with over 100 children from age 6 months to 18 years on a weekly basis in Fort William. She was raised in Lochaber and returned to the area with her family and has since provided extensive musical knowledge and developed unique opportunities for people to engage with music across the community.
Outlandia is an off-grid, treehouse studio imagined by artists London Fieldworks and designed by Edinburgh based Malcolm Fraser Architects. Inspired by childhood dens, wildlife hides and bothies, by forest outlaws and Japanese poetry platforms, it is located in a copse of Norwegian Spruce and Larch in Glen Nevis on Forestry Commission land at the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, approximately three miles from the town of Fort William. Outlandia is an artist-led project built as a multi-purpose platform for the use of diverse community groups as well as selected artists and is in line with The Scottish Forestry Strategy that aims to create opportunities for more people to enjoy trees, woods and forests in Scotland, and to help communities benefit from woods and forests.
Other participating organisations:
Forestry Commission Scotland http://www.forestry.gov.uk
John Muir Trust https://www.johnmuirtrust.org
Highland Youth Arts Hub http://hyah.co.uk
‘Grow Your Own Room 13’ is an interactive workshop designed to help you understand what Room 13 is all about and how it works in practice.
Artists involved in the original Room 13 studio in Fort William will share the story of this remarkable initiative and help you explore how you can put Room 13 into action in your own school or community.
We are thrilled to be offering this new series of events to support and develop the Room 13 network. The first of the ‘Grow Your Own Room 13’ will be held at The Window, Room 13 International’s new organisation base in Caol. Look out for dates and locations of future events across Highland.
Wednesday 16th March 11.00am – 3.00pm
Caol, Fort William
This workshop is offered free with support from Highland Youth Arts Hub.
Places are limited and will be booked on a first come, first serve basis.
Book your place by contacting:
Interested in hosting a Grow Your Own Room 13 workshop in your community? Please get in touch.
Our thanks to all applicants who submitted proposals in response to our brief for an artist to join our team in Lochaber.
After much deliberation, with all candidates being of a very high standard, we are thrilled to announce that we have appointed Audrey O’Brien as a new Artist in Residence working with Room 13 in Lochaber. Audrey will focus on developing and delivering a new series of projects and creative engagements with community groups and local schools, particularly Lochaber High School.
Audrey will work closely with Richard Bracken, who is currently the lead artist for Room 13 in Lochaber and the Room 13 International team. We are very excited about working with her too! She is very passionate about the project and we think she will bring a lot of experience and enthusiasm to the role.
Visit Audrey’s website to take a look at her previous work:
This new role will expand the team of artists working with Room 13 in Lochaber and creates new opportunities for us to promote engagement and understanding of contemporary arts practice among the community and reach out to groups already keen to work with Room 13.
With Audrey on board, we will have greater capacity enthuse, involve and mentor a core of young people as collaborators in visual art projects in and out of school.
This new residency opportunity has been created as part of our delivery as a partner in the Highland Youth Arts Hub and is supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine Fund.
Our thanks to the interview panel including HYAH representative and youth volunteer who gave up their time to help us in the selection process.
Room13 is delighted to be taking part in the delivery of an exciting new Youth Arts Hub for the Highlands. The Highland Youth Arts Hub is one of nine hubs being set up across the country as part of the National Youth Arts Strategy, Time to Shine.
The Highland Youth Arts Hub is working to the ambitious National Youth Arts Strategy which centres around three key themes:
In the Highlands, 12 youth and arts organisations are working in partnership to develop this exciting new initiative. The partners are:
Aros / Skye Dance, Eden Court, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Fèis Rois, Highland Council, Highland Print Studio, High Life Highland, Moniack Mhòr, Plan B, Room 13, University of the Highlands & Islands and Youth Highland.
As the Hub develops, we look forward to engaging many more partners throughout the Highlands.
The Highland Youth Arts Hub aims to increase access to youth arts activities across the region and across a range of art forms including dance, digital art, drama, film, literature, music and visual art. We will be working together to offer more cross art form activities and to address issues like accessibility and participation.
The Hub will nurture and celebrate ambition, enthusiasm and talent in young people by improving the regional infrastructure and developing a new youth arts strategy for the area called Highland’s Time to Shine. Young people will be central to the development of the Hub. They will steer the direction of the work and make key decisions as the project will be led by a new Highland Youth Arts Forum.
The Hub is currently planning creative projects that will kick off in January 2015 whilst a new Creative Careers weekend and Annual Youth Arts Festival are in the pipeline for later next year – stay tuned and keep an ear out for what’s going on in your area!
Keep up to date with the National Time to Shine programme by following @TTSYoutharts on Twitter.
If you would like more information on the Hub please contact Lara Van de Peer on firstname.lastname@example.org, the Highland Youth Arts Hub CoOrdinator for Room13.
If you are interested in becoming involved with the Hub or any of its projects, or would simply like to express a want and/or need for creative provision in your area, again, please contact Lara on the e-mail above. If, however, you’d feel more comfortable speaking with one of the Youth Arts Forum representatives please ask for contact details.