Una Hamilton Helle
I'm just back from the Netherlands where I was commissioned by Baracca to create a piece for The Hague's monthly arts tour programme. Baracca is a roaming gallery space, with their current setup being a moveable 'lunch wagon'. The result was Heksenkeet, a voice-based sound installation which invoked the figure of the crone, the hag and the witch when a figure of fear. The voices were recorded during an improvised ritual I performed in a remote cabin under a full moon last winter. The garbled spells, glossolalia and cackling incantations could only be heard from outside of the wagon and provided both an absurd and creepy component in the middle of the city.
Next weekend it is back to Margate for the last time as Gut Feelings, the Open School East end of year show will be taking place. I will be exhibiting an installation room and guided meditation in which you can temporarily align your consciousness with a cephalopod. For details see the OSE website.
Today I was a guest on A Moment in Eternal Noise, a radio show run by artist Richard Evans, where Verity Birt and I spoke about the Waking the Witch exhibition, as well as the wider topics of witchcraft, feminism and art. The show will be aired on Resonance FM on 16th November, 8-9pm. On a similar note, the first podcast by Blue Firth, which is one of the Waking the Witch commissions, is now live - more info & streaming on the Waking the Witch website.
I'm just back from running Katabasis at Grenselandet LARP Festival in Oslo and its turning out to be a gaming-themed month. Tomorrow is the last workshop in a series of events on game design I've organised at Open School East, this one being about puzzle solving and Escape Room techniques. I've also started publishing a blog on the a-n website for my artist bursary project, in which I'll be learning how to make a virtual Dungeon Crawl. The first blog post is about my research into gaming and the subterranean can be read here.
The last few months I have been busy organising Waking the Witch, a touring exhibition I have curated with Matthew Hughes as Legion Projects. The exhibition opened at Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown, Wales on the 15th Sep and features work and commissions by sixteen brilliant artists as well as loans from the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic, the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury and more. The exhibition will be touring to 3 other UK venues over the next year and a half and we'll be launching a catalogue in due course too. The exhibition's website is a beautifully hand drawn map commissioned by Ben Jeans Houghton, which will chart histories relating to witchcraft in the UK as the exhibition grows. You can visit the map and exhibition website here.
Last weekend also saw the event Earthly Delights happen, a two-day symposium dedicated to nature-related topics, which I organised with fellow Open School East Associates in the tranquil surroundings of the Garden Gate Project in Margate. I was excited to welcome curator Gina Buenfeld to hold a talk about her field research into animist cosmologies in the Amazon, with a following guided plant meditation. The third and final Earthly Delights date will be held on the 26th October, more info on the OSE website to come.
Looking forward to taking part in Expand and Contract: Navigating Undergrounds, a conference organised by artist Flora Parrott and geographer Harriet Hawkins, which will bring together geographers, artists and sound practitioners next Tuesday. I will be speaking about underground environments in gaming, and playing through sections of Katabasis, a Larp I co-created with Susan Ploetz & Francis Patrick Brady about two groups inhabiting an underground cave.
George Harding and I have started Margate Larp Sessions, an informal, monthly meet-up for play testing and discussing ideas centred around the tradition of Nordic Larp. Today, for our second session, we will have Nina Runa Essendrop visiting and we will play her larp Strangers - follow the facebook group for more info.
April saw the culmination of the first Open School East term, led by guest artist Marguerite Humeau. It saw us develop Strong Currents, a sound walk and sculpture trail along Botany Bay in Kent, images of which you can find here. Next week I'm doing a mini-residency at Limbo in Margate with fellow associates Tom Verity & Ian Bride, where it looks like I'll be testing out some of those Dungeon Crawl skills! Opening on the 11th May, more info here.
Excited to share that I have received an artist bursary from a-n which will go towards creating a virtual Dungeon Crawl installation. Hit me up if you know a computer programmer that might be able to help with old school game design software!
Becoming the Forest #3 is happening! Thanks to the Norwegian Arts Council, Lotte Brown and I have received funding to edit another issue about spruce trees, plant consciousness and notions around belonging – using black metal and the influence of place on music as a backbone to talk about it all. Watch this space for updates…we will be working in tree time.
On 6th May Susan Ploetz, Francis Patrick Brady and I will be running a version of Katabasis; our LARP about descents and origin myths. This will be running at Space Studios in London to coincide with Adam James’ solo exhibition there. Tickets available from their website.
Excited to be joining Open School East as an Associate Artist this year. OSE is a collaborative and experimental platform and studio for artistic making based in Margate, UK.