- AN INVESTIGATION INTO FLOW
CURRENT SHOW: Llif: Labordy Môn @ M-Sparc Science Park, Gaerwen, Anglesey. Pop in anytime during opening hours: It's in the lovely cafe, with views across Y Fenai to the Eryri mountains.
Constructal/Llif started out in 2015 as a response to Gwyl Afon Ogwen River Festival, in collaboration with Lisa Hudson. A development of our childhood fascination with constructing marble runs out of found objects, we developed "Cwrs Carlam Mewn Cyfraith Constructal", "A Crash Course in Constructal Law": Two giant outdoor marble run experiments - covering about 100ft - constructed from from branches, slate, bark and things we've found around the river (tubes, cans etc). Complete with resident scientist (me) and technician (Lisa), and little cigarette card-sized summaries of the various 'laws' we were exploring, the experiment proved a huge success, engaging people of all ages, including an impromptu performance by Rhys Trimble and the Marmaladies (Sioned Eleri Roberts and Katherine Betteridge).
Over the last two years, Lisa and I have been futher exploring the potential of marble runs as an artistic medium, using the creative (and compulsive) nature of construction and play to generate collaborative inquiry, reflection and connection at a deeper level. We have so much further to go in understanding the full potential of marble runs, but we know so far that they are:
- site specific, made using and in response to the site. We often use found and donated materials found within the ‘catchment’ of the site, encouraging exploration of the past and present of the site, the activities, culture, materials, sounds and landscape
- collaborative, created with people with different skills, backgrounds and interests, in the research, construction and'performing' (show") stages of the project. Our regular collaborators include: Dr Jonathan Malarkey (oceanographer), Rhys Trimble (poet), Katherine Betteridge (musician), Sioned Eleri Roberts (musician), David Hopewell (sound) and Iolo Price (marble maker).
- participation centred, designed to create an immersive, multi-sensory experience that goes far beyond ‘look and watch’ to engage participants in creative explorations. Participants - of all ages and backgrounds - at the heart of the show
- evolving and unpredictable, affected by interactions, changes in the environment, the unpredictable behaviour of marbles and materials, and encouraging playful reflection on unintended consequences and the nature of success and failure
- multi purpose, each run able to adapt to different purposes frominstallation in an art gallery context to landscape scale interpretation, from music making to scientific experiment to drawing machines.
You can read Lisa's Marblism Manifesto here.
Here are details of our previous shows (in reverse chronological order)
Llif @ Pontio, September 2017 - January 2018
Installation and video on lefel 2.
Llif @ Troelli, yr 'Steddfod, Bodedern, Ynys Mon. 5 - 13 August 2017
Our piece for Troelli, the special exhibition at Lle Celf, was curated by Manon Awst as part of the National Eisteddfod. We worked with oceanographer, Dr Jonathan Malarkey to create a 3-D installation exploring flow around the shores of Anglesey, as well as flow in adits in Mynydd Parys with advice from Dave Johnston and Professor Paul Younger. Llif: Labordy Môn was again an interactive piece, but slow, considered and self contained, with a focus on the emotive, visual and sonic qualities of materials. Thousands of people interacted with the tower over the 10 day installation, and invigilators described the piece as the most popular in the show. There were ripples cast in plaster and copper mesh, long adit runs and specially made Parys marbles by Iolo Price. We put on a performance lecture on 10th August 1 - 3pm, with Rhys Trimble, Cai Ladd, Katherine Betteridge and Sioned Eleri Roberts. See The Strange Case of Afon Goch y Gogledd for the story of the research we did with Mynydd Parys.
Here's my video that played alongside the installation.
Here are some links to articles and films about the show at y 'Steddfod:
The Train Line Dot Com @ TOGYG, September 2016.
Train track-inspired marble run (location, materials, sounds) - as visiting artist at the The Old Goods Yard open studios in Bangor. In this installation, Lisa and I wanted to provide the opportunity for participants to add on their own lines to the network, and and to try their hand on the marble run drawing machines inside Lisa's studio.
Gwyl Afon Ogwen River Festival @ Bethesda, October 2016. We went back to our roots over the first weekend of October, to create a giant marble run of the Afon Ogwen River Catchment... This one was built on the day, despite the pouring rain, by those that turned up, utilising our 'builders yard' of found materials.
Here's a lovely blog about it - 'long live marblism' by Jo Hinchcliffe.
Llif/Flow was held at Pontio, Bangor's huge new arts/innovation centre on 3rd July 2016, one of the two winning teams for Pontio's Synthesis project, supporting innovative collaborations between artists and scientists. Lisa Hudson and I spent 3 months working with Dr Jonathan Malarkey from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, and Katherine Betteridge, Rhys Trimble, Dave Hopewell and Sioned Eleri Roberts to develop an immersive marble run experience, involving interactive marble runs inside and outside the building, experimental music, performance and video. Between 2 and 6pm on 3rd July, we shared our 'work in progress', with performances at 2.30 and 4.30pm. We had around 500 participants, many of whom stayed for 4 hours.
Here's a video of the afternoon, including sounds from the performances:
Cynnydd Sheela (Sheela's Progress) was held at Artfield 2016, from March - September 2016 at Caem, near Penmon, Ynysmon (Anglesey).
Made in collaboration with Lisa Hudson, this outdoor interactive marble run is suitable for all ages, and made in response to the Celtic, Romano-British and industrial archaeology in Caim, Anglesey. Artfield also includes works by many other local artists, and there are often wood-working workshops on at the same time. As the show was on for so long, the pieces and site evolved together: Cynydd Sheela became hidden in the foliage, looking like a site of industrial archaology.
Dr BethPeris' Marbleous Medicines, Betws-y-Coed, December 2015.
An installation as part of Theatr-Dan-Y-Coed's Christmas show, this marble run made medieval predictions 'to cure all ills', based on the outcome of your marble.
Cwrs Carlam Mewn Cyfraith Constructal, Bethesda, October 2015
"Cwrs Carlam Mewn Cyfraith Constructal", "A Crash Course in Constructal Law" was our first marble-run installation. Two giant outdoor marble run experiments - covering about 100ft - constructed from from branches, slate, bark and things we've found around the river (tubes, cans etc). Complete with resident scientist (me) and technician (Lisa), and little cigarette card-sized summaries of the various 'laws' we were exploring, the experiment proved a huge success, engaging people of all ages, including an impromptu performance by Rhys Trimble and the Marmaladies.
Marble run drawing machines. Click here to see stop motion of a slate run marble drawing machine in action, together with some sounds from the runs. We have started using live marble drawings as part of our performances, with Sioned Eleri Roberts and Katherine Betteridge playing the drawings as musical scores.
We have also been using marble run construction as part of the Lead Creative Schools scheme, exploring patterns in nature (The Pattern Detectives), building skills such as persistence, collaboration, maths and engineering.