Two people from our year have been offered an opportunity to work at the Venice Biennalle for a month in 2017. This involves working alongside the prestigious Scottish artist Rachel McLean. My application:
I first encountered Rachel MacLean last year and I, endearingly, described her videos and photography as garish, almost manic. Her work is purposefully discomforting: bizarre yet gripping situations are created through a fusion of recognisable dialogue, taken from popular culture; which is inside a curious and whimsical environment. I quickly became charmed by the erratic-ness of MacLean’s scenarios in her fantasy worlds, and the comedic quality she kneads into more brooding concepts such as politics, society and identity.
Stumbling across MacLean’s art was, of course, in the everlasting endeavour to find myself as an artist. Although a competent musician, I was eager to become equally confident as a visual artist. Inspired by MacLean’s eye-catching stills, I created similarly stunning visuals which were used as “band art” (left) and for University coursework. I, in time, produced a series of portraits of recognised musicians in the Dundee music scene (bottom right) which I noted was predominately male. When I researched the world of female artists, I became aware that women in the media are pressurised to be portrayed in a certain way. My practice, therefore, revolves around females in the music industry, more specifically, the Dundee music scene. I have interviewed several female musicians from Dundee and Angus which has given me a deeper insight into the women’s lives and how living and playing in Dundee has affected them. I plan to produce a three-minute video which films the performance by a group of female musicians based in and around Dundee. The video is energised by music from an all-female band from Dundee called Adam 812, therefore I am writing a musical response to the high-energy song, with an uplifting melody and lyrics that express my own enthusiasm towards all women in the music industry. On a microscale, the work will celebrate and glorify women from the Dundee music scene; and on a macroscale, highlight the issue of the lack of women in the music industry, and their inaccurate representation in media.
It is therefore extremely fitting that the opportunity to meet and work beside MacLean and other wonderful contemporary artists has arisen. I would love to use this chance to broaden my artistic experience through meeting as many people as possible and using my prior and consequent knowledge to make others in the community feel the same level of involvement as me. On an even more personal level, this experience will undoubtedly enhance my own practice, in which I have recently, and relevantly, veered toward filmmaking.
Throughout my time as a sales assistant for the Danish company, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, I have heightened my competence in skills that are vital to work at the Venice Biennale. With an enthusiastic and practical outlook, I enjoy working as part of the Flying Tiger team, but am also able to take on my duties independently: duties such as cash handling, merchandising products, ensuring the store is immaculately presented, serving customers at the till point and enriching a friendly and approachable environment in the store. The start of the festive season means I must work in a fast-paced environment, and thus must be self-motivated and good at multitasking. The company has also known to collaborate with well known, international artists such as David Shrigley and Misaki Kawai; I am lucky to be one of the first exposed to the talent of such artists, expanding my knowledge of the art world through such a routine yet peculiar method.
My vast experience as a drummer and percussionist has granted me the confidence that is paramount for accepting the challenges that such a community-based experience will offer. I have played live in front of large crowds in a variety of genres, from swing dance nights and rock gigs, to an orchestrated Catholic Mass; and have contributed both vocals and percussion towards songs on records released locally. The band, The Wah Wah’s, is currently recording an album with prestigious producer Jud Mahoney, thus providing me with great experience in audio recording and mixing as well as knowledge on publicising inside the music industry.
I would welcome the offer to work at the Venice Biennale with open arms, and fully embrace the commitment this position would require of me. The potential that comes with this opportunity is beyond my imagination: exciting and ambitious.