Michaela Nettell & Tom Simmons
Installations exhibited in the Curfew Tower, Cushendall, Northern Ireland
These installations were the results of an eighteen-day period of developmental research, which we have completed during our recent residency in the Curfew Tower.
Though our stay in Cushendall has inspired the production and installation of these assemblages, the work forms part of an ongoing process of experimentation, which revolves in some way or other around our joint fascinations with musical instruments and memory.
Some of the materials from which the pieces are constructed were brought to Cushendall from London & Norwich (piano keys, strings and action, projector lenses, mechanisms and clear 16mm film). Other materials were found on beaches or in hardware or electrical stores in Cushendall, Glenariff, Ballymena and Belfast during our residency and include driftwood, shells and various fixtures.
The installations combine new materials with existing ones, namely explorations of the manipulation of light with pre-existing digitally generated still and moving images (which we have printed onto 16mm film for presentation in the installations in this instance).
The film project Threads, conceived in 2004, was designed to explore the threads of memory and histories contained within a grand piano that Michaela’s Czech grandfather owned during his pre-wartime life in Palestine. After 50 years in storage the piano was shipped to Britain, marking not only the return of a beloved instrument to its family but a revival of a history that for generations had been silenced. As the piano is played now, a thread is drawn to another time and place, to its former players in their former lifetimes.
Similarly, in 2002, Tom was asked to look after an upright piano that had belonged to his grandfather in Norfolk. When the instrument was moved, the removal company also delivered the piano stool, which contained a collection of sheet music, various pairs of broken spectacles and other miscellaneous items. Again, a set of threads was established between piano players past and present.
Our installations bring these ideas into a new context in the Curfew Tower.
Link to Michaela's website >>
Link to Curfew Tower website >>
Link to images of the exhibition >>