Glasgow International appoints new Festival Director
by Glasgow International, December 8, 2022
Job: Glasgow International Festival Director
by Glasgow International, July 15, 2022
An update on Glasgow International
by Glasgow International, July 14, 2022
Richard Parry set to leave GI having overseen two festivals and navigating pandemic postponement
by Glasgow International, September 30, 2021
Performance Research Network: watch 3 roundtable discussions now
by Glasgow International, September 20, 2021
Unpacking the work: Femininities in Sikhism through the work of Nirbhai ‘Nep’ Singh Sidhu
by Glasgow International, September 6, 2021
France-Lise McGurn meets Nova Scotia the Truth
by Glasgow International, July 20, 2021
14 exhibitions you can still visit in person
by Glasgow International, July 16, 2021
Callout for creatives of South Asian heritage
by Glasgow International, July 15, 2021
Take the Glasgow International 2021 survey and enter our £50 gift voucher draw
by Glasgow International, June 28, 2021
Sekai Machache meets Nova Scotia the Truth
by Glasgow International, June 28, 2021
Glasgow International & ArtReview Writer in Residence 2021: Rachel Willcocks
by Glasgow International, June 21, 2021
GI Radio = Clyde Built Radio x Glasgow International
by Glasgow International, June 18, 2021
Focus your ‘Attention’
by Glasgow International, June 14, 2021
Welcome to GI2021
by Glasgow International, June 12, 2021
From Sammy Baloji to Carol Rhodes: previewing Glasgow International 2021
by Glasgow International, June 9, 2021
Glasgow International New Writers Programme
by Glasgow International, June 4, 2021
Call for Writers! Glasgow International & ArtReview Writer Residency
by Glasgow International, May 14, 2021
Shifting ‘attention’: Glasgow International Director Richard Parry reflects on the theme for GI2021
by Glasgow International, April 30, 2021
Glasgow International 2021 programme revealed
by Glasgow International, April 30, 2021
Recruiting volunteers for Gi2021
by Glasgow International, March 24, 2021
40% Artists’ Editions Flash Sale
by Glasgow International, November 26, 2020
GI2021 New June Dates
by Glasgow International, November 25, 2020
Gi Digital Programme
by Glasgow International, April 20, 2020
Postponed – Glasgow International
by Glasgow International, March 17, 2020
Attention to What? | Public Lecture with Art Historian TJ Clark | Fri 6 March
by Glasgow International, February 13, 2020
Gi Preview days: 23, 24, 25 April
by Glasgow International, January 31, 2020
Full Programme Now Available
by Glasgow International, January 30, 2020
Introducing the Advisory Board with Leonie Bell
by Glasgow International, December 10, 2019
Across the City in Gi
by Richard Parry, September 20, 2019
Glasgow International Announces Programme
by Richard Parry, September 20, 2019
Gi Selection Panel Announced
by Richard Parry, June 10, 2019
by Richard Parry, March 18, 2019
Looking Back on Mick Peter’s ‘The Regenerators’
by Laura Williams, May 7, 2018
Supporter Interview: Sigrid Kirk, Co-founder of ARTimbarc
by Eilidh McCabe, May 6, 2018
Artist Interview: Michelle Emery-Barker, ‘Sculpture Showroom’
by Carmel Wilkinson-Ayre, May 5, 2018
Artist Interview: Geneva Sills, ‘Against Time’
by Becki Crossley, May 4, 2018
The Changing Face of GI
by Carmel Wilkinson-Ayre, May 3, 2018
Treasure Hunting with the Artists Behind ‘Say What I Am Called’
by Imogen Harland, May 2, 2018
Artist Interview: Ric Warren, ‘Site Acquired’
by Becki Crossley, May 1, 2018
Accessibility at the Festival
by Eilidh McCabe, April 30, 2018
GI 2018 in One Day
by Hyemin Kim, April 28, 2018
Lynn Hershman Leeson, E. Jane, and Haraway’s Cyborg
by Imogen Harland, April 27, 2018
GI 2018 for Families
by Eilidh McCabe, April 27, 2018
Artist Interview: James Pfaff, ‘Alex & Me’
by Erifili Gounari, April 24, 2018

Focus your ‘Attention’

by Glasgow International, June 14, 2021

Writer Amah-Rose Abrams explores how three Gi2021 works intersect with one another and the theme of 'Attention'

This edition of Glasgow International is presented with the theme ‘Attention’, a visceral word with a broad spectrum of meanings. The works presented reflect these myriad meanings resulting in a varied and thoughtful programme which boasts a diverse range of artists, exhibitions and projects including Eva Rothschild, Martine Syms, Paul Kindersley and Nina Beier. The aftermath of the pandemic has meant our attention has been guzzled, grabbed, diverted, consumed and shattered so as we begin to emerge into a new landscape how does this potency translate into the realised projects of the participating artists.

Issues of work and labour have dominated life in recent times and this is explored in the group exhibition Songs For Work at the Glasgow Project Space. Aideen Doran, Beth Dynowski and Susannah Stark explore our relationship with work in this project which was started prior to but realised through the pandemic.

“Over the past year, from what I’ve seen from my own working life and the working lives of people around me, those of us still lucky enough to be in employment, have seen an intense sort of overspill of their work into their life,” says Beth Dynowski whose work comprises poetry and performance.

Inspired by the plight of the performer in current times Dynowski has, alongside the publication of Songs For Work, employed actor Christopher Scanlan to rest in the space as part of his performance. Stark’s sculptural work uses elements of mechanics and sound in response to deep psychological experiences she had due to illness but also through mindfulness.

“It is partly to do with meditation, which I took up more during the lockdown, and also about experiences of illness, of out of body experiences, being outside of my own body, then coming back into it and starting to visualise interior parts of the body in different ways,” says Stark.

Doran has created a sound work in response to feminist poet and thinker Karen Brodine’s (pictured top, courtesy of Red Letter Press) collection of poems Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking published posthumously in 1990.

“There is this spectrum between attention and presence that’s interesting, explored in different ways in this presentation,” says Doran. “There’s so much in Brodine’s poems, which talk about how the kinds of labour that she’s been that she’s involved with demand so much of her and her body and this basic kind of attention but she also carves out a space to let her mind wander.”

Stacks of television screens showing the same image in a dark room
Gretchen Bender, Total Recall (1987), photo Tate.

On view at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is Gretchen Bender’s seminal work Total Recall, 1987. Widely considered to have been recognised late, Bender’s work is an integral protagonist of the first wave of media art. Total Recall comprises eight channels of film across twenty-four televisions stacked in formation, with three projections choreographed to the beat of a single soundtrack by her oft-collaborator Stuart Argabright. At a time when those of us locked down at home have had our attention focused, almost as one mind, on television as entertainment, this work and its challenging of the power of television media has particular resonance.

Bender described this huge scale and immersive work as electronic theatre and uses animation, news, advertising and film to explore and focus attention on the manipulative power of visual media. While Bender was a key member of the New York art scene in the 1980s her legacy is only just being assessed alongside her peers such as Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer. This is a fantastic opportunity to see an important, lesser seen work.

While there has a been a welcome focus on art made in the African continent and its diaspora of late the focus has been on predominantly male painters; this show takes that re-balancing focus on contemporary African art and shift it onto the feminine and the queer.

Body of Land which is installed at Street Level Photoworks is a joint exhibition of work by Nairobi based and Glasgow based Awuor Onyango and Sekai Machache as part of the British Council’s East Africa Arts programme, produced by Fòcas Scotland with the support of their hosting gallery. Focusing on the feminine, queer, subconscious and the spiritual both artists use photography and film but have produced separate bodies of work for this shared exhibition.

“The two of us basically spent the whole year talking online and listening to those meetings, I then went to Kenya for a month and Awour came over here in September, in that same year, 2018,” says Machache. “The project hasn’t been collaborative in the sense of us physically making work together, but it’s been collaborative in terms of the generative process of making the project between the two of us and how we’ve engaged like over that time.”

Across Glasgow International artists are addressing our changing socio-political landscape. Realised through the pandemic Body of Land and Song of Work are part of the physical and online programmes tackling issues such as body capital, employment, race gender and sexuality. These exhibitions sit in dialogue with Bender’s Total Recall which serves as a reminder to question and respond as we move into an active rebuilding of our lives.

Words: Amah-Rose Abrams, June 2021