DIFFUSION FESTIVAL 2019 / SHIFT GALLERY

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THE COAL FACE BY RICHARD JONES

The Coal Face is a study of the Welsh coal industry seen through the physiognomies of the workforce. Wales was once a world leader in coal production with over 600 collieries in South Wales alone. Today, all but a few traces of our recent history have been wiped away. The coal dust is gone. The mines demolished. Liquorice rivers run clear and the valleys are green. Scattered throughout the valley towns the workforce are in the shadows; older, wiser and growing infirm. The faces of these men are the key to our industrial past. Colliers from the Rhondda, The Rymney, The Taff and the Ebbw sat for the intense studio sessions required to create the full 3-d portraits, which are accompanied by composer John Rea’s soundscape featuring Jones’ recordings of the miners’ voices and sounds of the region.

X-RAY AUDIO BY THE BUREAU OF LOST CULTURE

X-Ray Audio is an installation by The Bureau of Lost Culture. It tells a story of cold war culture, bootleg technology, music as resistance and human endeavour. In the Soviet Union during the cold war era, the music people could listen to was ruthlessly controlled by the State. A huge amount of songs, both Western and Russian became banned for ideological reasons but a daring underground community of bootleggers found an extraordinary and risky means to defy the censor by copying and distributing the forbidden jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and Russian music they loved – they built their own recording machines and cut their own records with used x-ray film.

NOTTING HILL SOUND SYSTEMS BY BRIAN DAVID STEVENS

Stevens paid for university by working as a roadie in the West Midlands, and ended up with a love for speaker stacks. The ones you see at the carnival are hand built, beautiful looking systems. By shooting very early Stevens removes the context of the sound system and sees them as sculptural forms in their own right, imposing in the empty streets, alien and sometimes threatening, but always interesting. Modern monoliths, new henges, places of worship. They are the building blocks on which the Carnival is constructed.

CHILDREN OF VISION BY ALINA KISINA

Children of Vision is an ongoing project based on the artist’s long-standing relationship with the Kiev Special School of Art N11 for Children with Impaired Vision and Other Disabilities. This institution is exemplary in its approach to creativity and disability; it allows children to overcome their disabilities and social backgrounds to become independent professionals, including successful artists, musicians, designers, landscape architects and teachers. Using photography, Alina connects to the individuals and what makes them human, capturing the children’s gaze, neither focusing on, nor avoiding their unique challenges. While doing this she is also consciously looking beyond the stereotypical representations of Eastern Europe.

ATGYFODI BY JOHN REA

Atgyfodi introduces the lost voices and recordings from the sound archives of The National Museum of History: St Fagans in the form of an immersive surround-sound installation with found and specially filmed images. These are interwoven complemented by a contemporary musical composition, returning them, and what they represent, into our collective memory. The songs and stories are ‘collaged’ with original field recordings made in the original locations of the historic buildings of the Museum, also places and people of iconic or symbolic importance such as Tower Colliery’s Tyrone O’Sullivan, and farmer Arthur Morris Roberts who witnessed the drowning of Capel Celyn as a young boy.

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