Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Robbie Thompson, Jack Wrigley and Sarah Milne

This May, at Cryptic Nights in the CCA, Robbie Thompson, Jack Wrigley and Sarah Milne will be showing their new work Inducer. Mixing their individual practices together, they aim to “create immersive experiences that engage the audience on a number of levels” to create a multi-sensory event. Artist Robbie Thompson spoke to me about the development of Inducer:

How does Inducer develop from your previous work and in what ways does it depart from it?

Inducer follows on from the work Jack, Sarah and I made for the ICA. We’re expanding our kinetic orchestra to include a range of new instrumentation – cello, violins, tape loops, pin barrel organ, etc. and reworking older ideas such as Jack’s ‘Glass Armonium’. Sarah is using her textile and costume work in a more sculptural way to create figurative elements within the piece.

Inducer is inspired by the psychological phenomenon of folie a deux, or shared delusion, how does Inducer convey this eerie partnership?

We’re interested in the way that altered states can be induced by sound and visual stimulus and the way that this has been explored and exploited throughout history. From cave paintings, mantras and shadow play that are believed to be used by early human cultures to create mythologies to pseudo-scientific machines designed to invoke hallucinogenic states there is a rich tradition of people experimenting with ways to delude and heighten the senses. The ‘Glass Armonica’ – glass playing instrument – that Jack has built is closely related to this tradition. 

In its Victorian heyday the high frequencies and harmonics created by the Armonium had a mesmeric effect that would captivate the audience and was considered dangerous, due to reports of famous players going mad. Though this was later attributed to lead poisoning from the glasses used, the sonic qualities of the Armonium created an enduring perception of its maddening effect! Folie a deux is a psychological phenomenon that provides a fitting metaphor for conveying hypnotic and surrealistic imagery and describing the relationship between the audience and the artwork.

And, finally, what are your plans for the future, and will we be seeing you again at Cryptic Nights?

We’ll be busy this summer with 85A finishing off our self-produced film Chernozem (written by Judd Brucke) - it’s an industrial horror-fantasy that follows the story of a chain-gang escapee with a factory for a head! It will premiere at a specially constructed cinema at the Glue Factory in autumn.

Thu 5 – Sat 7 May, 8pm
CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

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