MERGE festival is presenting the award winning artist James Capper who will be artist in residence in the Kirkaldy Testing Museum, developing ideas that will culminate in an exhibition and performances of his work.
MERGE is an annual arts, music and performance festival that draws on the rich heritage and contemporary culture of London’s Bankside, by staging exhibitions, performances, and events in disused office blocks, historic buildings, open spaces, and local businesses. It takes art and music directly into the heart of the community bringing together residents, workers and visitors, both as participants and audiences, whilst allowing artists and musicians to showcase and develop their work without commercial restraint. MERGE is created by Better Bankside, which promotes Bankside as a place to work, live and do business, and Bankside art production company, Illuminate Productions.
Merging art and engineering Capper will be working with an unique Victorian water powered Hydraulic Testing Machine to create new sculptures; by expanding various materials to test their stretching points. The experiments will become performance pieces and the finished sculptures will form an exhibition within the museum. James Capper makes mechanical sculptures based on industrial machinery, he invents new forms, functions and aesthetics for familiar machines.Capper will also be running workshops where the public can get involved making kinetic works of art.
In an area of Britain not normally renowned for its part in the Industrial Revolution, Kirkaldy Testing Museum puts Bankside firmly on the map as a historic and innovative location for innovative engineering. By highlighting the link between art and science MERGE hopes to introduce this forgotten part of local history to people who might not be aware that Bankside was a hive of industry in the 19th Century. James Capper and the Kirkaldy Testing Museum is presented by MERGE, the annual arts, music and performance festival that draws on the rich heritage and contemporary culture of London’s Bankside by staging exhibitions, performances, and events in vacant office blocks, historic buildings, open spaces, and local businesses.
Other events taking place at the Kirkaldy Testing Museum are The Crucible, Where Scientists meet artists, to share ideas, featuring a talk by James Capper and Music at Breaking Point by Oscillatorial Binnage in conjunction with Resonance FM, who will present a series of sonic live sound works exploring and utilising the test machines of the Kirkaldy Testing museum, as electro-acoustic instruments. Other artists featuring in this year’s festival, which takes place between 19 September and 20 October, include Candy Chang and Alex Chinneck.
Donald Hyslop, Chairman of Better Bankside and Head of Partnerships at Tate Galleries, says: “In the space of little over a decade Bankside has been transformed into one of the most amazing places in London, the UK and internationally, to live, work and visit, offering as it does a unique cultural, business, residential and visitor experience. “We are immensely proud that these artists are giving their time to help us celebrate that success through the MERGE festival.”
About Kirkaldy Testing Museum: In 1874 the distinctive Victorian building was specifically built around the Hydraulic Testing machine to become “Kirkaldy’s Testing and Experimenting Works”. Proudly declaring above the door “Facts not Opinions”, it was the place where the first experiments took place on iron and steel to determine their strength by finding their breaking points. Primarily using Kirkaldy’s own patented design of testing machine, this innovative engine pushed materials, through hydraulics, to their limits. Manufacturers sent materials from all over the world – including parts for James Eads 1867 St Louis Bridge over the Mississippi River and parts of the failed Tay Bridge in 1880. The Kirkaldy family ran the business for almost 100 years, the museum tells the wider history of materials testing. Following a period of uncertainty, the future of the Museum now seems assured. Major developments are planned over the next year to improve the displays and make the collection more accessible to the
James Capper at The Crucible: James Capper will also be taking part in THE CRUCIBLE, Where Scientists Meet Artists, being held at the Kirkaldy Testing Museum on 16th October. Hosted by the Dennis Rosen Trust and New Scientist magazine, in association with MERGE, it brings together people from the worlds of art and science for an evening of discussion, debate, idea-sharing and networking. Numbers are limited to 15from the arts and 15 from science. To reserve a place, please email: Julia@illuminateproductions.co.uk.
Music at Breaking Point by Oscillatorial Binnage: A series of sonic works exploring and utilising the very test machines of the Kirkaldy Testing museum, as electro-acoustic instruments. Piano strings will be stretched, wood blocks crushed, metal grilles vibrated and everyday materials placed under extreme stresses to draw out their unusual musical properties. Members of Oscillatorial Binnage will work from machine to machine forming the components of a mechanical synthesiser and creating an improvised composition in the process. The highlight of the performance will be the amplified action of the 100-ton Kirkaldy machine itself. Features Chris Weaver and Dan Wilson, and guest artists to be announced.
ABOUT BANKSIDE Situated on the south side of the River Thames in the London borough of Southwark, Bankside has been transformed, in a relatively short period of time, into one of the most popular cultural and business locations in the world. With a skyline dominated by the former Bankside Power Station, which now houses Tate Modern, the district has become a significant business and tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors throughout the year. Playing host to iconic international crowd-pullers such as Shakespeare’s Globe and Borough Market, Bankside’s great feat of planning has been to join up individual attractions to make one exciting coherent destination.
The public art project, called BANKSIDE TRANSFORMED, is part of MERGE Festival, the annual arts, music and performance festival that celebrates the unique culture and history of Bankside by staging exhibitions, performances, and events in historic buildings, open spaces, and local businesses. It takes place this year from 19 September to 20 October.
Candy Chang: For MERGE Chang, will create London’s first “Before I Die” interactive installation, in Flat Iron Square, where passer’s by will be encouraged to write their thoughts and ambitions on a giant blackboard.
Alex Chinneck: For MERGE Chinneck will create a large scale site-specific work for a site on Blackfriars Road which is due for demolition. The currently disused site will have its façade turned upside down, and will take into consideration and celebrate the history and life of the building.
Marcus Lyall and Mark Logue: Award winning artists Marcus Lyall and Mark Logue will collaborate to make a site-specific light installation for MERGE in and on a disused building on Borough High Street. Using the latest lighting and sound technologies they will create a interactive visceral experience for a wide passing audience.
BANKSIDE TRANSFORMED Locations and Artists
House of Pain, part of Bankside Transformed on Tuesday 24th September
James Capper and the Kirkaldy Testing Museum takes place at Kirkaldy Testing Museum, 99 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0JF from 10th to 20th October 2013 (Weds to Sun, 12.00 to 19.00). Performances at 14.00, Saturday 12th and 19th October
MERGE FESTIVAL Bankside Transformed Candy Chang, Alex Chinneck and Various Artists (MERGE Commission)
Address, including full postcode: Various
Phone number for publication: 020 7928 3998
Web address: www.mergefestival.co.uk
Nearest tube: Southwark/London Bridge
Date: 19th September onwards