Glasgow Open House
If you haven't heard already the Glasgow Open House Art Festival starts on the 2nd of May. Alistair Ogilvy gives us an insight into what this intriguing creative feast is all about!
Open House Festival is an exciting vision first conceived by GSA graduate Amalie Silvani-Jones in 2013 and is now in it's second year. The Festival is completely artist-led and non-profit showcasing emerging and established artists who enjoy the challenge to think outside the box when creating for Open House.
The idea of how space is used and perceived and how art fits in to a space out with a gallery is a definite theme, removing the art out of the splendor of the obvious spacious Merchant City architecture, contemporary galleries and the period featured west end. Part of Glasgow's charm is it's hidden spaces; tenements, disused buildings, and side streets. Open House festival is about opening these spaces up and providing the audience to experience art in a completely diverse way out with social norms.
There is a definite cross breed of public and environmental art with a strong emphasis on location and how the two mix. The term public art in Glasgow is almost null and void as art especially in Scotland is very much open to all but what Open House offers is a really interesting insight into a new experience for a lot of people and artists gaining new audiences.
I spoke to artist Christopher MacInnes about his involvement with Open House and his collaborative project entitled SIMSTIM. Alongside MacInnes, Sam Dransfield, Stephanie Mann and Aymeric Tarrade are creating an interactive installation situated within a stark white-cube space constructed in the bedroom of a disheveled flat in the west end.
The curation of the show will be governed by the anarchic and unpredictable forces of networked interaction via an online computer game, based upon the physical space. Visitors to the online game will be able to endlessly amend, tweak and alter the layout of the exhibition, posing the artists with the challenge of executing these changes in the real space.
The show aims to probe the ambiguous relationship that networked technology has with our physical lives. In one instance anonymity and immediacy enables chaos without empathy or threat of consequence. But no technology is inherently evil and the exhibition also attempts to explore how anonymity and fluidity of identity in virtual space can enable inclusion without prejudice, allowing us to reconfigure the structure of what exists around us and improve upon it.
"I think it’s brilliant, especially with how quickly it’s developed from last year. It’s great to see grassroots, artist-run festivals getting such interest. I can understand it might be a bit of a strange experience entering a stranger’s flat to see an exhibition but I think it’s a gesture of trust inviting people into your personal habitat and allowing visitors to experience your work in a flawed and personal setting. In some ways it feels like a more honest way of presenting contemporary art to the public as it exists outside the straight laced and often intimidating decorum of a conventional gallery space."
Open House is a vibrant entity, providing an exciting opportunity to view some interesting work from over 200 artists. Along with the really stylishly designed website, online map and the upcoming curated art walks during the festival I truly believe that Open House is a must see and it looks like it's set to be around for years to come in the Glasgow Art Festival fabric.
Article by Alistair Ogilvy