Amazingly talented people walk among us often hidden and unheard….I’ve really learnt that a lot recently. Not all creatively talented people call themselves artists – they are ordinary people, in everyday jobs and yet, they have talents so unbelievably amazing at their fingertips.
And often no matter, how engaged you are in the cultural sector and how “aware” you think you are – I’m always surprised when there is someone, doing something so amazing and fantastic and I didn’t know about it!? Sounds ridiculous – but I prize myself in being in the know and the now – so when I stumble across someone new and exciting, I’m both blown away but a little bit cross at myself – how did I miss this!?
I first heard of Amy Lord, when a friend of a friend told me about this “project” in Newcastle taking over a townhouse and how they were exploring happiness and we had a mega long conversation about what exactly happiness is and how society has this version of happiness and zen……and I’m just over here, being ridiculous, not getting up at 5am and doing yoga and even when I’m happy, my world is chaotic.
So, this townhouse take over culmination was over Late Shows weekend – which is my busiest weekend – I never get to experience the Late Shows as an attendee – I work it and usually on the Gateshead side. So obviously, I missed Amy’s ‘Experiments in Happiness’ take over.
Fast forward a few months and I’m sat listening all about the progression of this year’s Juice Festival and Our Time – Helen who is programme director said the ultimate which immediately secured my project buy in…..
“Rachel – so there is Amy Lord, she’s this mint visual live artist….she’s doing this Art House piece and you’re going to love it, it’s all about the 90s”.
So being the creep, I am – ultimate stalker mode started and what I discovered was an artist that is creating and doing very interesting work in collaboration with some of my favourite people at the moment in the North East Cultural Sector.
I really like visual live art – it combines some of the elements I love most about sculpture but encourages an evolving engagement. Amy describes it as a “multi-textured and layered encounters and experiences” and I think it sums it perfectly. So many elements and things brought together – with a strong focus on visual……
As someone with a passion for events – I really like Amy’s work from an space curation and the facilitation and provocation of audience experience…… that really excites me and I’d love to work with her in the future.
So now over to Amy…….
Who are you?
Hello! My name’s Amy, I’m 31 and I’m from Northumberland! (In the style of Blind Date).
I’m an artist but I also run an events company on the side called Lemonade and Laughing Gas. I’m currently living in between London and Newcastle. I spend a lot of time on the Virgin Trains East Coast train route at the moment…
Tell me about your arts practice?
I make live art. For me, this means creating anything from an interactive installation, a game, a video, a crafting activity and a performance. I always want my work to be personal, political and to not shy away from difficult or challenging subjects. Sometimes my work can be more about the process than the end result. I love working with different groups of different ages to capture the full spectrum of human experience.
Tell me about a recent project?
My latest big project in the North East before my Our Time commission was Experiments in Happiness. I took over an empty townhouse on Grey street and filled it with installations and experiences exploring ideas around happiness and mood. 600 people turned up over 2 days – the interest in the project totally blew me away and has just made me want to do more stuff here.
Everyone has a super interesting story about becoming an artist – tell me about your journey into Arts?
I’ve always got a buzz out of making things from a young age, but I think my first step into the arts was Uni. I was lucky to get into LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) and studied Theatre and Performance Design. Although I loved the course, I knew I didn’t want to be a theatre designer at the end of it. A tutor there introduced me to live art and more experimental theatre in my final year, and I was hooked. My first solo project was a work in a derelict restaurant about the media and pressure on body image for women (2007).
Piece of advice for someone thinking about a career in the arts?
Try and build in time for ‘brain feeding’. It may feel indulgent but if you don’t keep seeing stuff, reading things and learning new skills, sometimes the inspiration well can start to dwindle!
Why did you apply to be a part of Our Time?
I liked the structure of the ‘mini commission’ – creating something quickly for one night only appealed to me, as well as the positive feelings about the area and the past Team Juice were wanting to emphasise.
Tell me about your commission?
Research is often at the core of the work I make, this commission is no exception! I spent 3 days rummaging around news archives and microfilm to find good news stories from the 90’s – specifically in Newcastle and the North East.
Then, we had a workshop with Team Juice to whittle these down and find out what was most interesting. We did some creative thinking and finally, shot some video on smartphones to make into a film that will be projected on a loop throughout the evening.
We’ve chosen to show the film in this bonkers tunnel in the museum, which we’ll be filling with 90’s music to help transport people back to that time!
What was the inspiration?
DIY culture/the contrast between technology in the 90’s and now.
The idea could have happened for any decade really, but I chose the 90’s because not only is it having another moment in the sun but it’s also the first decade I’ve felt properly nostalgic about, as I was 15 when the millennium arrived!
I used to think people obsessing about the 70’s and 80’s were just living in the past, but now I totally get it! Nostalgia and remembering those super important formative years can be totally delicious! As long as you balance it with living in the present too…I also can’t pretend I wasn’t influenced by watching Sing Street.
What do you want attendees to take away from your installation?
Fun. And maybe realising how many amazing things happened in the 90’s for our region.
Top 5 90s songs?
Wow, there are so many. Here’s some of the top of my head (that may have found their way onto the soundtrack!)
Dreams – Gabrielle
What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes
Another Night – Real McCoy
Sunshine After the Rain – Berri
The Whole of The Moon – The Waterboys
Favourite 90s moment?
When everyone thought the world was going to end once we got past midnight on New Year’s Eve 1999.
Have you seen the rest of the Our Time line up? What bits are you most excited for?
I’ve worked with Zoe Murtagh on my last project so obviously I’m a fan of her, and am looking forward to seeing what she’s created with ‘It Was Once A Dream Interactive Trail’. I also create a lot of multi-sensory work so I’m looking forward to getting in the Von Tuur Salon.
Also generally, we’ll be in a museum, at night, with a bar…absolutely winning!
Well, I’m just such a fan of so many things Amy said….. I’m all about trying to make time for “brain feeding” and the 90s is absolutely my jam……
Thank you Amy….. I’m super excited to see and experience your piece.
I will be at Our Time at Great North Museum on 21st October – you’ll probably find me lurking and obsessing over Amy’s 90s piece and involuntarily breaking out into song and dance when ‘SunShine After The Rain’ comes on…..
Culture Vultures – this is the ultimate Culture Vulture event….. don’t miss it or Amy’s lush installation.