INTERVIEW: Sian Hutchings | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Undertaking the graduate artist in residence position at Tyneside Cinema as part of the Projections programme, Newcastle-based artist Sian Hutchings’ work expands on the aural boundaries of painting. “It fascinates me that we think of painting as a static object in a space but like all things painting is not static and there is a whole micro world underneath the surface that we may not experience.”

She explains that her film acts as a guide to experiencing the sound of painting. Rather than considering how the paintings she creates merely look, she sets up microphones around the work and considers how they will sound or be performed with. “Canvas over-stretchers are basically drums so there is an inherent percussive quality to making paintings that often goes unnoticed. Dance is a key feature in the film and the dancers are wearing costumes made from canvas and gesso, so in a way they are using their bodies to perform the paintings which is another way of accentuating the aural qualities. I am not creating a soundscape for the painting but instead accentuating the voice that is already there.”

The materials she uses are equally important, specifically the traditional gesso which is made from rabbit skin glue and chalk powder. “I have been interested for a while about how these two materials come together to form a symbiotic relationship that embodies the earth and the body. The dance sections of the film register this relationship and each performer represents these two characters within painting.”

While the concept of a film about listening to painting may seem about as interesting as…well…watching it dry, Sian insistent that the audience will take something more intrinsic away from her film. “Sandwiched in between the volume driven trailers and feature there is a space to remind the audience where they are.” She says. “A good film draws attention from all the senses and this is something I wanted to experiment within my work. I am aiming to generate a film that is grateful of an audience’s ability to listen by using film as a way that doesn’t over-stimulate the eyes and ears but carefully directs attention towards listening.”

Sian’s film will be screened as part of Rough Cuts at Tyneside Cinema on Wednesday 20th November, with a full launch in February. Rough Cuts is also open to submissions.


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