Humans have always liked climbing to high vantage points in the landscape to see the view. We can’t help it, spectacular vistas have an emotional impact beyond our control. There’s nothing like an awesome view to make us aware of our relative vulnerability in the grand scheme of things. The situation is changing though, technology now lets us see other views – it emboldens us. For the first time, we are squaring up to the universe.
The first five Site Sessions of 2018 will look at some of these ‘landscapes’ – the sensory, symbolic and psychological spectacles which change our sense of perspective, and perhaps even take our breath away.
1. Thursday 15 February: Invisible Landscapes
2. Thursday 29 March: The Sea and The Sky
3. Thursday 26 April: The City and The Country
4. Thursday 31 May: Lightscapes and Soundscapes
5. Landscapes of Play
Speakers: Holly Gramazio from Matheson Marcault and Emma Cooper
This will be the final Site Sessions for a few months as we prepare Site Gallery for reopening, so don’t miss it!
Date and Time: Thursday 28 June, 7pm
Venue: New Industry, 121 Eyre St
Price: £6/£4 conc.
The landscape of play is ever-changing. Trends in games and play come and go, and the advent of digital technology at least appears to take the magic to a new level. But have digital developments been a positive influence on the imagination? Will technology get people outside playing in the streets and parks again, and does it matter? To explore the great variety of playfulness on offer, and put the current picture in the context of both the past and the future, we welcome two experts from this sparkling corner of culture – Holly Gramazio of London-based games consultancy Matheson Marcault, and Sheffield’s own digital maven, Emma Cooper.
Matheson Marcault work with play, culture, history and physical space. They use game design to engage people with places and ideas, creating interactive experiences that fit in museums, public squares, arts festivals, and online. They also run Now Play This, an annual festival of experimental game design at Somerset House.
Emma Cooper has been working in digital media for a long time, in many different roles, notably producing a BAFTA winning game. Focusing on how much fun humans have when they interact with technology. Emma is keen to use play to help welcome new types of people into the creative digital industries and is part of the team bringing ‘Playground’ an interactive art exhibition for kids to Sheffield.
1. Invisible Landscapes
Speakers: Nikki Pugh and Ben Carlin
Date and Time: Thursday 15 February, 5.30 – 7.30pm
Venue: The Workstation, Paternoster Row
Price: Free first session
Join us for a beer at Platform as we embark together on a journey across real and virtual landscapes.
For this first event of the series we’ll be hearing from Nikki Pugh and Ben Carlin, two creatives with very different, but complimentary, approaches to their surroundings.
This first event is a collaboration with Platform, the Workstation and the Sheffield Technology Parks.
Exploring questions relating to how we perceive, move through and interact with our surroundings, Nikki Pugh employs tools and techniques adopted from walking-based practices, physical computing, locative media and pervasive gaming. Areas of interest include the use of making, prototyping and participatory playtesting as tools for—and sites of—knowledge
The Creative Director, Epiphany VR, Ben is a professional 360 interactive filmmaker; associate member of the BAFTA VR advisory committee and guest lecturer in Digital Media Production at Sheffield Hallam University. He is interested in exploring the crossover between immersive theatre, film and gaming. Recent work includes an AR app for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, an interactive 360 VR app for Plymouth College of Art and an AR poetry app for Now Then magazine
2. The Sea and The Sky
There was a time when the term ‘landscape art’ meant art about the landscape, not in it or indeed out of it. Artists like Lise Autogena think big – big skies, vast oceans, expansive timelines going back millennia, and particularly, huge human potential. As well as hearing about her work, this event will be an opportunity to explore Lise’s ingenious use of digital, and commitment to working with communities.
Speaker: Lise Autogena
Date and Time: Thursday 29 March, 6.30pm
Price: £6/£4 conc.
Danish artist Lise Autogena creates ambitious works that often incorporate landscapes and their communities. In Black Shoals (2015), Lise and her partner Joshua Portway turned stock market data into an ever-changing starscape, ‘Black Shoals’. The work was installed at the Tate Modern. Foghorn Requiem mobilised a seafaring community and local brass bands to create a heartbreaking one-time-only performance that culminated in the final blast of the horn at Souter Lighthouse. Lise says: “From the outset, I am often not sure whether it will be possible to realise my rather Utopian projects. I nevertheless commit years of research and development. Risk is an important part of my work.”
3. The City and The Country
Through creativity and resourcefulness, art can show us how to live. Nothing and nowhere is off-limits to artist team Glen and Anna, who literally walk the walk of their practice, drawing from the ancient and modern, the intellect and physical grit. Join us for an informal opportunity to discuss this extraordinarily original practice and its influences, and survival tips as you’ve never heard them before.
Speakers: Glen Stoker and Anna Chrystal Stephens
Date and Time: Thursday 26 April, 6:30pm
Venue: Cantor 9003
Price: £6/£4 conc.
Glen is a visual artist working in photography, film, installation, assemblage, performance and text. His site and location specific practice is centred on acts of walk and response, and carried out largely in the public realm. Within his practice, he is also a director of AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.
Anna Chrystal Stephens
Anna works with photography, sculpture and action to explore living strategies, sustainability and societies’ changing relationship to the natural environment. She is interested in prehistoric archaeology, communities and collaboration. Her practice includes the gathering and dispersal of survival skills and craft processes through walks, discussions and workshops.
Glen and Anna took part in Site Gallery’s Platform Residency Programme in 2016 with their project, There Are No Firm Rules.
4. Lightscapes and Soundscapes
Speaker: Anthony Rowe of Squidsoup and Heather Fenoughty
Date and Time: Thursday 31 May, 6:30pm
Venue: Channing Hall
Price: £6/£4 conc.
Today’s landscape art can embrace all the senses, and have a real physical impact on a personal level. This discussion will look at two aspects of landscape with a hotline to our bodies and emotions. From their quite different perspectives, Heather and Anthony will be discussing the process of creating truly immersive, emotional experiences for audiences through a combination of technology, artistry and live audience feedback. We will hear about their approach to equipment which ranges from Kinect and LED strings to synths and sound props, and learn how the public receive and respond to their interventions. This is a unique opportunity to meet and learn from two leading creatives from the world of light and sound.
Anthony is an artist, designer and researcher. He founded digital arts group Squidsoup in 1997 to create immersive, intuitive experiences that merge physical and virtual. Squidsoup’s work has been experienced by millions, on five continents. He has also worked as an illustrator, photographer and sailor, crossing the Atlantic solo in 1988.
Heather is an award-winning composer for film, TV, theatre, games and more. Her credits include BBC and ITV, Nissan and Land Rover, and even The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Heather’s award-winning have played in the West End, off Broadway and at international arts festivals around the world.