New Work New Worlds
The New Writing New Worlds festival at the Arches has become something of a fixture on the Scottish arts scene over the past few years. This year there’s a subtle but important title change to this rough-hewn showcase for developing work.
‘New Writing New Worlds was focused very much on literary developments,’ says curator Suzi Simpson. ‘Basically we’re presenting work of all kinds, live art, visual art, poetry and music, as well as writing.’ There’s also a change in the artists’ remit to a more explicitly political focus. ‘We’ve encouraged artists to engage with the wider political and global contexts in this festival: commercialism, climate change, ecological crisis, international conflicts – I’m kind of asking these artists to say where they stand in relation to these things and what they think. I’m also asking what kind of role art has to play in all this.’
The variety of work is too great to go into here, but there are two notable experienced hands present in the form of guerrilla theatre legend Tam Dean Burn and live art guru Richard Dedomenici. Burn will bring back his Tron hit The Year of the Horse, a thrilling engagement with the brief career of political cartoonist Harry Horse. He’s adding a piece of new work in Gorbals Turncoat, which draws a line straight from the life of Gorbals-born private detective Allan Pinkerton, whose private army in the US caused an act of congress to be passed against him in 1893, to the modern, unchecked form of mercenary armies we’ve seen more recently in places such as Iraq. Dedomenici’s Plane Food Café recreates an in-flight meal (which the audience will be served) as a reflection on irresponsible uses of airline travel.
Younger, emerging artists include Kieran Hurley, whose Hitch features a pre-made installation, which will be added to daily to reflect Hurley’s personal journey to the G8 summit in Italy, and Philip Spencer, whose Cardboard Castle, directed by Neil Docherty, is a piece of new writing, reflecting our loneliness and isolation in contemporary society.