Essays

7th October 2023

Frances Lightbound’s
TECTONICS
by
Pia Singh

'Things in process ... objects out of place and time.' Frances Lightbound's exhibition Tectonics at the John David Mooney Foundation in Chicago, reconfigures and re-enacts the languages of architectonics and manages to refuse the colonial configurations of power and brute strength in structural materials and components. Pia Singh reviews and finds a striking refinement in these rare and enigmatic arrangements.
29th September 2023

PULLED BACK, MOVING FORWARD:
on Kim Moore’s ‘A Song We Destroy To Spin Again’
GREG THOMAS

For Greg Thomas, the music in Kim Moore's new release with Blackford Hill is at once a physical thing which moves, an image, and a word provoking profound affect. There is something 'urgent' here, he writes.
29th September 2023

SINGING FROM THE SAME HYMNBOOK by Louise Rodgers

Music to galvanise and control: a sonic authoritarianism? Louise Rodgers examines how powerful groups, institutions and individuals throughout history have hitched music to their social programmes.
29th July 2023

TRANSMISSIONS FOR UKRAINE
by
Michail Mersinis

What can an artist do when faced with another war? Engage as a war artist ... that is, stand by and reveal the horror? But surely, art always challenges the neutral? Artists make things that engage with ideas and situations. Michail Mersinis proposes a repurposing of the instruments of war to make sensitive participatory gestures that constitute a respite from the language of war and hate. The tragedy is happening in Ukraine now -but is it even possible to act innocently?
9th July 2023

HOWSON’S INFERNO
by
GREG THOMAS

What cast of work is this, we might say of Peter Howson's new show at Edinburgh City Art Centre. He gives us a lot of matter to grapple with and a lot of things to ponder over. This is the first major retrospective of Howson's work with over 100 paintings over four floors. Arresting and compelling says Greg Thomas in review, and also grim and dark. Get along and make your own mind up is best.
2nd July 2023

FRAGMENTS OF OSSIAN
recast by
Murdo Macdonald

Everyone, like Samuel Johnson, has an opinion on Macpherson's Ossian, but few of us ever manage to get a hand on an actual copy of the works. Fortunately, Murdo Macdonald does the bibliographic work for us, and details the doggedness of his desultory browsings and subsequent musings which led to the composition of his own versions. (is there ever anything but versions to work through here?) So, this is the big chance to find out what it was about the versions of this poetry that set Europe aflame with romantic passion and melancholy, and, as Napoleon himself put it, 'Devour Ossian!'
14th June 2023

BIT PARTS by Elke Finkenauer

People get nervous about the very notion of data; some assume it can only be used in scientific, and business applications – is that at all a sustainable view in the digital age and the new world of AI? In her project ‘Bit Parts’, Elke Finkenauer shows us how data is the artist’s necessary friend, the work ‘focusses on human and creative, rather than technical, challenges to data: acknowledging subjectivity, working with idiosyncrasy, and keeping questions of means, as well as ends, alive.’
14th June 2023

MAKING HOME : The Fight to Save the Wyndford (ArchiFringe 23)
Kelly Rappleye

What is going on in Wyndford ? Barnabas Calder (in his book reviewed by Florian Urban in The Drouth August 21) tells us that Architecture, and especially the production of its materials, steel and cement, is the worst of climate change culprits, yet in Glasgow a whole estate is about to be pulled down and rebuilt. We are supposed to be on the brink of some massive changes in our way of living -but not just yet! Kelly Rappleye has organised an event which might enshrine Wyndford not so much as a cause célèbre as a cause désastre.
9th May 2023

JOCKLAND RESULTS
An ODE as from 3000AD
by
Owen Dudley Edwards

Scotland's foremost Irish historian and Ireland's finest Jockstorian, Owen Dudley Edwards, finds a textless chronicle of the farcical and chaotic politics of Jockland in the 2020s. It's to be sung swiftly, though it's no song of Solomon. The rulers from Laputa assume they have (in the jargon of the period) 'taken back control', but none of them can actually determine where Jockland is, or if it even exists ...