Featuring Glasgow-based artist Kin's Watchtower and audiovisual project Silent Chaos' Origins
Since 2009, Cryptic Nights have championed the experimental and the emergent, supporting artists who don't easily fit into a single genre: from Rachel Maclean, who has become one of the most internationally respected Scottish contemporary artists, to Raydale Dower, who indulged his fascination with musique concrete in a side-project from his regular visual art projects by touring with Glasgow's genre busting Tut Vu Vu. Cryptic Nights present works that combine visual, sound and performance arts in ways that challenge conventions and, in the words of the company, 'inspire, invigorate and excite audiences across the UK'.
For their March programme, Cryptic Nights offers Watchtower and Origins, two very different works that nevertheless follow the event's desire to 'ravish the senses'. With a shared theme of taking back agency from an automated world, the double-bill ranges from the beginning of the world through to the thorough contemporary surveillance culture.
Of Origins, creators Silent Chaos explain: 'The inspiration came from far away in time: we are always searching for a sound, a primeval sound that can resonate in each of us, so since Silent Chaos has been born, we explored the ability of electronic instruments to recreate that sound, in many different ways. Origins is the last attempt of doing so, and the more we go forward, the more we get closer to that primeval sound.'
Glasgow-based artist Kin observes a different origin for Watchtower. 'It fits more broadly in terms of my ongoing interest in combining aesthetics commonly associated with "nature" and "technology" to create a more complex, more intertwined reading. I find endless inspiration in the critical theory of the mid-20th Century, and more recent journals on neuroscience, psychology, media theory.'
What is important, however, in both pieces, is the aesthetic combination of the visual and the audio, the desire to make work that refuses the limitations of boundaries and aims towards an immersive and visceral experience, that is emotive and cerebral, mashing together beautiful imagery and provocative ideas. For Kin, the support of Cryptic enabled her to follow her aesthetic: 'Even before I'd moved to Scotland, I knew Cryptic for their relentless pursuit of innovation in sound art. They shared my vision that "nature" and "technology" aren't two opposing constructs, and that there could be this fluid exploration that used the tools of technology to create understandings of the environment.' Silent Chaos, meanwhile, recognise their kindred vision: 'We have always worked by ourselves because we don't like to be constricted in genres boundaries. That is exactly what Cryptic does. We love their freedom and forward thinking, the way they work to push any kind of boundaries, the total commitment to art in every form as an expression of the human spirit.'
Combining surround sound, moving image and projection, Watchtower takes the symbol of a lighthouse to explore the shifting gaze of modern-day surveillance. Using ocean rhythms to symbolise this ever-present unpredictability and light as a tool of control, Kin highlights efforts to manipulate our behaviour and encourage…