FEATURE: The Auxiliary Project | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image from One Night Stand Event 

The Auxiliary are having a BYOB event this month in Stockton; you know, ‘Bring Your Own Beamer’? OK, so ‘beamer’ probably wasn’t the B you were expecting, let’s explain: in the words of The Auxiliary’s creative director Liam Slevin: “It’s all very simple; invite artists to a space and get them to project their work for one night. BYOB is an international series of exhibitions which are a great way to encourage artists to try new ideas out and create grass-root art movements. It’s just very open and people respond very well – I also dig the punk DIY aesthetic of the whole thing.” Of course spectators are welcome, (as is the other B, booze), and there will be spare projectors for those who don’t have their own, but have work to show.

This idea of engagement and a chance to experiment seems to lie at the root of The Auxiliary, a new artist-led space based in Stockton, born in part out of Liam and his partner’s time spent in Berlin, a mecca for the more experimental side of contemporary culture. “Myself and my partner had been living in Berlin for about four years, organising different events – mainly experimental music and sound nights and visual art exhibitions, basically I have always been involved in some shape or form with a space. I really wanted to set one up in Berlin but financially it was just getting tighter and tighter with rents almost rising by the day.”

Time and space are the most basic nutrient requirements for a healthy artist and Stockton provides them in abundance

Berlin to Stockton seems like an unconventional shift, but Liam explains that in many ways, it was a logical step. “My partner Anna has some family here in Stockton and they suggested it might be an interesting place – we were hesitant at the start, but we made a trip here last September and really liked it. There’s no shortage of social problems in Stockton but the place has charm and folks are friendly. Working outside of a cultural hotspot obviously has its drawbacks, but all of our contacts are just as viable here as they would be in New York, Berlin or where ever. Time and space are the most basic nutrient requirements for a healthy artist and Stockton provides them in abundance.”

After getting set up, Liam and Anna are now keen to get more engaged with the local arts community, already working with local artist Thomas Tyler, setting up more experimental sound and music nights (under the moniker FEED) and through The Auxiliary A.I.R. Programme. “The focus of the A.I.R programme is to work with artists engaging with sound, particularly international artists, but locally we are open to artists from other disciplines too.” says Liam. “Some of our visiting artists will be guests at Teesside University’s visiting lecture programme, we’ll be rolling out a series of workshops, there’s even a lovely community garden at the front of the house!”

For lovers of more experimental arts and music, it’s starting to sound like The Auxiliary could well become your new favourite home. So grab a beamer, or a beer, and go say hello.

The Auxiliary’s BYOB event takes place at their venue on Shaftesbury Street, Stockton on Friday 19th August.

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