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 were 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’ -in which the event took place-, 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.
Red Note and Artlink are currently discussing how to further develop the ideas behind SPIN in future projects.
“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
“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.
Red Note performers
Lee Holland flute
Mark O’Keeffe trumpet
Rachel Spencer violin
Eilidh Martin cello
Composer: Malachy Harris
Funded by Creative Scotland
Photography by Albie Clark
Feedback images facilitated by Greer Pester and Sally Hackett
Contact Louise for more information on any of our learning projects, Louise[at]rednoteensemble.com