Artist of the Week - Inge Thomson

Monday 12 November 2018

Related artist: Inge Thomson

I grew up on the tiny island of Fair Isle surrounded by the North Sea. Fairies and otherworldly creatures (particularly Trows, Guid Fix and Selkies) have always been an elemental peculiarity in my life; so I was thrilled to be invited to join this project.

I arrived in Oxford for the first of our workshopping sessions with no clue what the other contributors were bringing to the table. As with all cross-discipline arts projects, the blank canvas stage of development felt full of uncharted promise and possibility.

The initial meetings and greetings are polite, good humoured and enthusiastic. It’s interesting but also slightly daunting not to have a specific remit, but this didn’t stop the flow of ideas about what shape these potential works could take, or indeed if any works materialise how to present them to an audience.

One of the primary explorations of this group is how to present and connect a modern audience with this material, it's a current and valid question for all workers in the creative arts, so I’m particularly interested to see what my fellow explorers offer and how I could apply it to my own tendering.

The small group sessions were full of intriguing discussion, music-making, sound creation, sketching and sharing of stories. These kind of exposed workshop environments can often make people feel self-conscious, but with a little communal belief, once that barrier has been pushed through a trust can develop that allows a certain free movement of ideas otherwise unattainable. This was certainly the case here, and soon, we practitioners who had not previously worked together found ideas were flying through the air like sparks. The following large discussion sessions with everyone present were equally inspiring.

In the last few weeks I have been absorbing and processing some of the works that have started appearing up in the ‘space between’. I have begun tinkering with ideas of time bending and pitch shifting to reflect the nature of time when a earthly being is transported to the underworld. I’ve begun developing several lyrical pieces and I’m working on a code-deciphering instrumental piece. I’m keen to see how others respond to these works.

As for my personal relationship with things hidden and extraordinary? When you spend much of your time out in the wild, guddling about in the rock pools, turning over stones to see what is crawling in the flattened mud maze, wowed by the fantastic beasts that occur in the natural world it’s not a ridiculous stretch of the imagination to count characters from the hidden flock as part of our nature. Nature in the broadest sense - maybe even a hark to our own personalities, characters and idiosyncrasies*. I like the notion of keeping an open portal between the natural and the ultra-natural world, the things that can’t quite be explained by science.

Magic is necessary and it’s everywhere. But mostly, why not?

*note to self, keep one cautious eye on the line between coming across as imaginative and coming across as a total biscuit.

Inge Thomson

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