James Houston - Cryptic Nights
The art of parties
Ahead of a new regular multimedia and performance night in Glasgow, Kirstin Innes talks to Radiohead remixer and Youtube sensation James Houston
What happens to your average art school student in the six months after they graduate? A spell travelling? A job waiting tables to finance their next project? Probably not a flurry of media attention, more job offers than they know what to do with, collaborations with high profile artists and text messages from Radiohead. James Houston, it’s fair to say, is not your average art school graduate. Since ‘Big Ideas (Don’t Get Any)’, his short, beautiful remix of Radiohead’s ‘Nude’ played by wobbly, obsolete computer technology, became what is known these days as a ‘YouTube sensation’, the 22 year old artist and filmmaker’s life has changed beyond recognition.
‘Yeah, I’m still a bit stunned,’ he says. ‘I had no idea how big this whole Radiohead thing was going to get – I opened up my inbox one morning to see I’d received over a thousand emails in one day! From strangers! It’s been a lot to take in, and I went through a few different stages trying to cope with it. However, I’ve now decided just to ride it out, and milk my 15 minutes for all they’re worth! Shamelessly!’
Houston’s progress as an artist is the focus of the first Cryptic Nights event, happening in the CCA on Thursday 5 February. Cryptic Nights are the brainchild of Theatre Cryptic’s Cathie Boyd, who wanted to create a regular evening in the CCA, aimed at younger audiences, to encourage people to fully appreciate the possibilities of arguably Glasgow’s most beautiful arts venue.
‘I wanted to create a community of people who will come back to CCA on a regular basis,’ says Boyd. ‘Cryptic Nights will be on the first Thursday of every month, and I want people to know that there will always be something interesting happening on that day. We’ve worked with CCA to sort out a meal deal, – main courses will be £5, as will the tickets – there will be a performance or screening, and then live music from an upcoming band afterwards. It’s such a fantastic building. I want to give people reasons to linger there.’
Houston’s contribution to Cryptic Nights will be a talk and video screening, following his work from first year of art school, ‘right up to last week, actually – I’ve just completed a title sequence for the BBC’. However, this is not going to become the Cryptic Nights template: future evenings include a performance of Bare Wires’ skewed reinterpretations of classical music and a showcase of young UK animators, and will utilise the whole building, even the staircases …
Cryptic Nights, Thu 5 Feb, CCA, Glasgow £5. www.crypticnights.org.uk