AirSpace Gallery is pleased to announce COLLECTIVE TERRITORIES the first of our new programme's projects, we are working with UK artist Danny Treacy on a residency and exhibition. A 2-part project exploring memory of space and the significance of space.
Part 2 of the residency is now in action. In part 1, Danny worked with a team of local people, acting as his research eyes and ears - relating information about specific sights and sounds of personally evocative city spaces to his studio base in London. Now physically on site in Stoke-on-Trent, Danny is visiting the sites , meeting with his research team, and starting the process of applying his honed processes and techniques - sculpture, photogrammetry and more - to these sites of special artistic interest.
Find out more in this interview with Danny, conducted at the start of Stage 2.
What makes a space special?
What makes a space personal?
What are the things that keep drawing us back to a space?
How do we see ourselves in a space?
And What do we feel there?
There is a plethora of variables which transform space into place, and for each of us the things that make particular spaces important to us, and transform the space into a place, your place, our place, will be different, singular, distinctive and personal to us. But what if the characteristics of a place includes an intangible other? An irresistible, invisible force, made up of millions of accumulated experiences? This is The Genius Loci, a reference back to Roman mythology and a sense that a place has a protective spirit.
For Danny Treacy, the interest in space lies in this idea of synergy; that a space is transformed into a place through accumulated and enduring latent experiences which elevate the space into something more special and important than its simple physical characteristics. His interests are in shared places and in particular, places that are not perceived to have a positive function, yet through inhabitation or human interaction and intervention, act as a collective for those who are dislocated or marginalised. Here memory of space is key, stemming from his own experiences of spending large amounts of time in such overlooked spaces, creating a lived formative experience.
The absence of social acknowledgment or reciprocation transforms an individual into a mere object, thereby reducing him to a state of invisibility…Socially invisible people are rejected beyond the collective space, confined to peripheral or liminal zones through complex and multifaceted power strategies.
The artistic apparatus chosen by Danny Treacy counters social invisibility by putting into the limelight our complicit reliance on norms and by initiating an ethical response…The artist is like an archaeologist, looking for remains of past lives, gathering scattered fragments to reconstitute a picture of our civilisation.1
1 Valérie Morisson, Them, Danny Treacy (Manchester, 1975-): Stitching Selflessness, Études britanniques contemporaines [En ligne], 53 | 2017, mis en ligne le 01 octobre 2017, consulté le 06 mai 2020. Source
Treacy's explorative and responsive practice encompasses a series of processes such as collecting, photographing, digitising, metal casting, and creating sculptural assemblages. The collection of the objects necessitates an intimate engagement with the space.
Made works become signs or emblems, them ‘Analogues of Place’ that counter social invisibility by highlighting a place’s functionality for those communities whose presence there is unseen, unconsidered or ignored. Looking at these acts as social rituals.
The result is an enquiry into the contemporary object as artefact, of shared experience, the recognition of those that exist on the peripheries of our collective vision and an acknowledgment of the value of the places that act as facilitators of marginalised communities.
CASTING NOS 1
CASTING NOS 2
Within this 2-part, 6-week residency, through a mix of invite and open call, Danny will at first work remotely with a community of individuals in Stoke-on-Trent, who also enjoy visiting and revisiting a space, a space that is elevated for them into a place, made special through familiarity. Due to lockdown restrictions, made necessary by the unprecedented conditions of the Covid-19 crisis, this group of individuals will act as Danny's on-site researchers, repeatedly visiting their own places, within their allowed daily exercise limits, and reporting their findings back to Danny. Together, they will explore;
• the significance of walking as a daily activity, defined by mindfulness, exercise, freedom, expression, exploration. • the significance of space. What makes a space special? What makes a space personal? What are the things that keep drawing us back to a space? How do we see ourselves in a space? And, what do we feel there?
Following this initial period of collaborative research, and when lockdown restrictions are eased, Danny will embark on the second residency stage; locating and visiting these spaces, responding in the methods employed in his practice; collecting various objects that signify the activities that take place there, responding to these artefacts, transforming them into emblems of community, emblems of place, emblems of resistance. The results of these combined stages will be presented to the public in a final presentation.
OPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
Within this 2-part, 6-week residency, through a mix of invite and open call, Danny is looking to work remotely with a group of individuals in Stoke-on-Trent. Due to lockdown restrictions, made necessary by the unprecedented conditions of the Covid-19 crisis, Danny is hoping this group of individuals will act as his on-site researchers, repeatedly visiting particular places with particular personal resonance, [operating safely within social distancing guidelines], and reporting their findings back to Danny. Together, they will explore;
– The act of walking as a daily activity, defined by mindfulness, exercise, freedom, expression, exploration. – The significance of space. What makes a space special? What makes a space personal? What are the things that keep drawing us back to a space? How do we see ourselves in a space? And, what do we feel there?
Danny Treacy is an artist based in London. His practice considers land use, shared experience and social invisibility. This is influenced by formative experiences; time spent in places where people gather because there is nowhere else to go. The nature of such spaces acts to facilitate the diverse activities carried out. The materials of his practice are gathered in these sites, where communities exist in a fragile state as a result of social exclusion. The works created are a response to these sites, imbued with a sense of ritual, artefact and social documentary. The result is a forensic aesthetic fused with an evocation of the Genius Loci or ‘spirit of place’.
Recent group exhibitions include: Paper Geographies (Manchester Central Library, 2020) Allhallowtide (Art Space Portsmouth, 2019) Archaeologies (Charlie Smith London, 2019). Treacy regularly lectures at University of the Arts London and is a visiting lecturer in photography at Manchester Metropolitan University.