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Desire Lines

group show at Vane Gallery, Newcastle


Saturday 20 May 2023 6-10pm

Presented as part of The Late Shows

Curated by Eleanor Cully Boehringer and Craig Stewart Johnson

participating artists:

Craig Stewart Johnson,

David Howcroft,

Eleanor Cully Boehringer,

Graeme Hopper, Joe Murray,

Jorge Boehringer

Desire Lines was a group show that was curated by Eleanor Cully Boehringer and Craig Stewart Johnson but was arrived at through a very collaborative process, that focused on processes of making and presenting artworks, the process of putting a show together.

This was an important show for me and I was able to present several new works in this show. Furthermore, the process-based framework for our collaborative exhibition allowed me to experiment with the pieces as they were in the process of becoming...becoming public.

This is interesting as it creates a framing for the moment at which a piece leaves my personal studio-conceptual-creative practice and becomes more of a shared thing that we all experience out in the world.

Works I presented for this exhibition included

A prototype of my sculpture Bird on a Wires:

This piece, later included in my solo exhibition norths, sonifies the failings of model bird perched upon a compass sensor to locate north.

I also presented two stone carvings created previously from my previous project 'The Cup and Ring Marks of Rombalds Moor: A Conceptual Point of Intersection'. These works of experimental archeology where made my incising cup and ring marks into millstone grit. Millstone Grit is the rock naturally found around Ilkey Moor and environs where a lot of cup and ring marks where created back in the late neolithic or Bronze Age times. These carvings are arrived at through a very gradual iterative processes of pecking out and then gradually smoothing the stone with bits of bone antler and then bronze.

2 new paintings where created for this exhibition that came about as part of my conceptualisation of the gallery architecture. Drawings of the room where necessary for me to think out how the resonances would work in the sound performance I was creating for the opening - this is discussed more below- and in creating these paintings I simply let these drawings continue to evolve, responding to them as visual things, and simultaneously as ideas, sketches for sounding space. The results are the two paintings pictured in the selection of images below, I call them Room Network 1 and Room Network 2.

For the opening of the show we created overlapping performance-actions that we would each perform once or more times throughout the evening.

My performance, which was iterated six times thoughout the evening that is a version of 'Twice Stepped in Still Waters' (subtitled Vane Brains). For this version of this piece, I first appeared as an audience member in the space, except for that my canvas back was emiting some continuous but trembling sounds. Eventually, I unpacked a blue camping chair in the space and installed my computer on it so that my captured brain waves would be visible. I then slowled explored the space, largely with my eyes closed, using room resonances to navigate. Every so often I blew a long tone on a harmonica from a selection of harmonicas chosen in anticipation of exciting room resonances. I moved around slowly trying to hold onto a sense of internal stillness while concentrating on my respiration and playing long tones to explore the resonances of the exhibition space while the EEG brainwave sensitive headband collected data and this was sonified back into the space using a computer program I wrote. Although a rough first version of this approach, it successfully created the weird kind of feedback loop characteristic of this piece and this is something I continue to explore.

I am only documenting my pieces on this site, but this is was very much a group show and could not have happened without the input and work of all of us.

Therefore, although I am not documenting all the works in the show, I attach here the general info about the show and all our biographies to give some idea of the sorts of overlap involved.

In general:

‘DESIRE LINES’ is a group exhibition documenting the process of creating an exhibition as an artistic form. Drawing outwards from an initial meeting, artists record their experiences visiting Vane to capture, track and reflect upon this process. Trails of material emerge and dovetail, moving back and forth between Newcastle and Gateshead, and merge toward a collective assembly presented as part of The Late Shows on Saturday 20 May 2023.

NOTHING HERE NOW BUT THE SOUND(S) was a preparatory performance event that took place at Vane on 23 February 2023. Performances were captured by archivist David Howcroft, in addition to individual journeys to and from the gallery. The performance has been archived as part of ‘N-Aut’, in keeping with the process of the archival project. The journeys and a copy of the performance have been posted to musician Joe Murray to create a new sound work for ‘DESIRE LINES’ at The Late Shows.

The exhibition features connected and collaborative elements of sound installation and performance, accompanied by archival and visual works by Craig Stewart Johnson, David Howcroft, Eleanor Cully Boehringer, Graeme Hopper, Joe Murray and Jorge Boehringer. These artists are all active in the DIY experimental arts and music scene, occasionally referred to as the ‘no-audience underground’. This rhizomatic scene advocates improvisation, collaboration and an openness to experimental forms, characteristics which weave their way into the processes and work of ‘DESIRE LINES’.

Craig Stewart Johnson is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. His work revolves around experimental art forms and DIY underground cultures, threads which influence both his artistic and research output. He has recently shown work at Newcastle Arts Centre as part of the exhibition ‘Our Lives, Ephemera’. Craig runs the record label Invisible City Records and has released numerous records under the names Rovellasca and Liminal Haze. His audio and visual works are concerned with nuance and detail, often involving everyday textures and places, ultimately searching for beauty and catharsis in minimal, abstract forms.

David Howcroft is an archivist documenting the ‘no-audience underground’ scene in Newcastle and Gateshead through his label, N-Aut. The archive is in keeping with the DIY ethos that no-audience underground artists follow, with a desire to capture the improvisation, collaboration and openness of experimental forms. David has presented his work at the 2018 TUSK festival in an exhibition of Mail Art Action based on a recording of the band Nurse With Wound. He presented a performance for the 2019 TUSK fringe inspired by Cup and Ring marking in Northumberland. David continues his archival and creative practice as part of ‘DESIRE LINES’.

Eleanor Cully Boehringer is an artist and composer from Norwich, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She makes performances, compositions, installations and music. Eleanor has written for various artists and has had her own work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Resonance FM. She has worked collaboratively with choirs, ensembles, visual artists, community groups, young people, and galleries towards new installations and composition projects. Envisaging the relationship between her work and its surroundings, Eleanor often seeks ways of framing and enhancing the listening environment in iterations of her work.

Graeme Hopper is a Sunderland born artist and musician whose work focuses on exploring a slow reveal style through his photomontage practice. He has exhibited across the UK and Europe and has also been featured in several International publications. His work has been commissioned for album covers by acclaimed performers such as Moor Mother, Field Music and Alison Cotton. Hopper's audio work currently explores the acoustic properties of sound, using different methods of production to highlight certain tones and textures through performance and rhythm. Within this, layers are hidden with rhythmic expressions and melodies.

Joe Murray is a musician who plays under the name Posset. His work focuses on the inherent sound properties of cassette tape, dictaphones and language to create indistinct yet evocative soundscapes. Posset has released almost 100 tapes and CDs on numerous DIY labels over the last 20 years and is a frequent collaborator in one-off and longer-lasting collaborative projects (see Molar Crime and Papal Bull). Recently his work has explored ideas of accessibility, inclusion and privilege in the underground music scene.

Jorge Boehringer is a sound artist, noise fanatic, amp worshipper, music composer, environmental artist, (for installations and ensembles or soloists (with or without electronics [and/or computers]) and/or self as solo performer (viola, guitar, objects, percussion, voice, electronics)); writer, researcher, educator. Themes: {morphological: pattern formation & recognition (plant, animal, water, weather, mineral)}, {phenomenological: (visible & invisible, temporality, real and unreal situations and circumstances)}, {environments: (ecology, interactivity)}, {(pre-) history (& post-)}.

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