Following the collaborative work of Red Note and Artlink with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their carers in the Cherry Road Centre (Bonnyrigg), Red Note was asked to participate in Human Threads, an Artlink exhibition hosted by Tramway in Glasgow.
Conceived as an accessible, creative experience informed by individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), this exhibition took the form of an interactive landscape inviting audiences on a journey of light, sound, touch and smell, from a huge silk sail which sways softly, to sculpture that translates audio into vibrating pulses, and a playful tower emitting light, smoke and bubbles.
Human Threads is the culmination of years of pioneering research by Artlink and the Cherry Road Learning Centre, through a process of mutual learning via collaborative play. Each artwork has been developed with and informed by individuals with PMLD. The works expand our perceptions of what an artwork might be and break down barriers of access to contemporary art. Throughout Human Threads the physical experience of the artwork becomes a shared, communal language through which to explore new possibilities of human perception.
Red Note took part in the exhibition with ‘Fair Play’ three improv sessions to further animate the exhibition with a playful, rich and diverse sound world, interacting with and dynamically informed by the audience.
The last session organised for the closing event included a soundscape specially created by Martina Corsini and commissioned by Red Note.
Back in 2019, Red Note was asked to devise an event for Artlink’s Altered States & Human Threads season at Tramway (Glasgow). These encounters focused on how the shared experience of art can honour the human threads that connect people with profound learning disabilities to the wider world and the wider world to them.
The result was SPIN, a playful, rich and diverse sound world, inspired by the immersive, intricate landscape of Nick Cave’s exhibition at Tramway ‘Until’, interacting with and dynamically informed by the audience.
Working to a soundscape by Malachy Harris specially commissioned for this event, musicians moved freely throughout the space. Like Cave’s glittering Kinetic Spinner Forest, sounds threaded, twined, phased and shifted as Red Note’s musicians spontaneously aligned and responded to both the art and the audience. The audience was invited to lie on mats provided, or recline, or wander, or do whatever they wanted as musicians played, creating a relaxed and equitable atmosphere to experience the music from a different, more dreamlike perspective.
“So good to have the opportunity to see and hear people respond. At times it was quite intense, but it didn’t seem that people were bothered, it seemed very gentle and sensitive overall. Challenging too in the intensity but I think that’s a good thing it was a very creative and human experience. It gave me headspace, but I was sharing the space with other people, and people who communicate different to me, maybe, and this was a privilege” – Participant on SPIN
“My friend is on the autism spectrum and he came to the event. He sat with the family of a boy with learning disabilities who was blind. The boy was leaning on him and rocking, reacting to the music, and my friend doesn’t normally like to be touched. But he loved it. He sat with the boy, talked to his parents, congratulated them on their son’s musical appreciation. He thanked me for sharing the experience with him. That was my favourite thing, seeing them together, enjoying the music”. – Participant on SPIN
Contact Louise for more information on any of our learning projects, Louise[at]rednoteensemble.com