Over the next two months, a series of public art projects will be happening across Govan, Glasgow, as part of Fablevision’s role in Memory of Water. These six productions will be designed by an artist in Scotland and five European artists remotely. The projects will include a music production, mural painting, printed work, stencilling, performance, and filming.
All artists spent a full week in September 2019 immersing themselves in the culture, history and realities of Govan, including meeting with dozens of local people, community organisations, activists and local artists. The June production residency will now be delivered remotely by the artists, with the physical production being carried out by a collaboration of Fablevision staff, local stakeholders, and local community groups. The exception to this is the Fablevision lead artist, t s Beall, who resides in Scotland and can carry out her project herself.
The Memory of Water artists are developing their individual responses to the constraints brought on by COVID-19, and have proposed local delivery in Govan as follows:
Mary Conroy has created a series of drawings based on selected artworks, maps, architecture and stones in and around the historic Govan Old Church, which holds the oldest and most extensive collection of Viking hogback stones in Europe. Mary’s drawings will be produced in Limerick, digitised and sent to a local traditional printing press in Govan to produce a set of unique high quality prints and other products which will be sold to help raise funds for the ongoing research work of the Govan Stones (an independent Trust linked to the Church). The form and content of the printed material is being produced in collaboration with Govan Stones staff and volunteers.
To complement this project, a life-sized stencil of Hogback Stone #12 will be handmade in Limerick by Mary and posted to Govan, where local artists and volunteers will install it in a public location to promote the project and generate further interest in these mysterious objects.
Siegfried Vynck worked on a simplified mural design to be painted on a prominent wall in Govan. The location is particularly significant as it is located at one of the historical centres of shipbuilding in Scotland and can be seen easily from a main road. The reason for Siegfried’s simplification of his original mural design is that this project will be developed so that local people can paint his design without prior training and without his physical help. Fablevision staff will be present, and Siegfried will support by live video conferencing to answer questions and give advice.
Iwona Zajac is working with heritage archives and former shipyard workers from Govan. She will print shipyard workers’ memorable sentences on a structure at the historic Govan Dry Docks which will be visible to the public. As with Mary Conroy’s work, there will be cooperation here with a local printing press, as the font used must be the most appropriate historically to that time and space. Iwona will work with a Polish typography artist, Eugenia Tynna, to draw and cut stencils that will be sent to Govan, and painted by a local artist. This is related to Iwona’s work entitled "Shipyard" from 2004 that you can view here.
t s Beall’s project, Through the Wringer, will be a series of mobile washing events in Govan – each including stories, songs, and people doin’ the washin’. Inspiration will come from the history of Glasgow’s steamies (or wash houses), although the stories themselves will be gathered from interviews conducted by the artist – primarily with health care workers and women whose care burdens have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to Beall’s work in Levadia, Greece for Memory of Water, portions of the spoken word and stories for the event will be written on cloth which will be washed and hung to dry.
Urban Kelpies: Awakening the River is the title of Ira Brami’s project taking place in Levadia, Greece and Govan, Scotland in collaboration with STAGE (Scottish Talent Across Generations Events), local musicians and performers. Ira will produce a video art in Levadia, projecting her idea and feeling of the River Clyde from when she was in Govan in September last year. In Govan, a film will be produced with bands playing and spoken poetry with the River Clyde painted on the background. The two films will be launched digitally accompanied by an online conversation about the project. There is an urge to re-awakening the river Clyde, creating new memories and with an effort to surpass the difficult times we’re facing.
Instead of Jonas Mystrand travelling to Govan to take footage of the activities, a local filmmaker will film each of the productions with instructions from the artist. Jonas will have continuous contact with the filmmaker and work-in-progress, completing the final edit to create the Govan production film and to finish the main documentary. He will conduct interviews with each artist remotely. We know this process of ‘remote filming’ can work, as Fablevision used similar processes in our 2017 collaboration with Gdansk, ‘Riverside Solidarity’ that you can watch here.