A Wee Tasty Experiment

One weekend in April sees two unique events presenting alternative approaches to exhibiting art on consecutive nights in the good city of Glasgow. Rosamund West met up with the relevant masterminds to find out what to expect.

Feature by Rosamund West | 01 Apr 2009

There are plenty of nights about that claim to bring together art and music. All too frequently this means projecting some videos behind the bands in an otherwise traditional gig, or having someone DJ in the middle of an art gallery. The worlds of art and music are so intertwined, it’s always seemed a shame that there aren’t more attempts being made to represent that synergy in physical form. A Wee Tasty’s Ryan Hays and Ross Hamilton Frew have given the matter some serious thought, and come up with a one-night-only event in Glasgow’s Stereo that promises to present a never-before-seen melange of art, performance, music and dancing. That’s the plan, anyway.

How did A Wee Tasty come about?

Ryan Hays: We wanted to do a show, but were sick of the hoops you have to jump through to get a space and so on. And we had this feeling that when you have an opening, it’s just one night, lots of people will turn up for that then hardly anyone comes during the actual run. Ross works at the Market Gallery, so he’s been observing.
Ross Hamilton Frew: The openings are busy, but getting people in the door for the two weeks after that’s really tough.
RH: So we decided to focus on doing an exhibition that was based around one night, and putting all our money and effort and resources into making that one night something exciting. It’s not a brand new idea. We’ve been to nights in London, and we’ve thought "Why isn’t that happening in Glasgow?" There’s enough talented people and there’s enough great musicians. We’re hoping to make it an umbrella term for lots of different artists and performers to congregate. If it continues on to be a regular event we can take it on to different venues, different projects. We look at things like Instal and Kill Your Timid Notion, obviously they’re on a different scale. But we’d like to do something similar to that.

How does it work?

RH: It’s from 8pm 'til 3am. We want it to be a night where the audience is directed around the space.
RHF: We’re not going to have the bands on stage, we’re going to have them scattered around to give a level playing field.
RH: It’s going to develop and change throughout the night. One of the artists, Rachel Tweedy, a textiles sculptor from Edinburgh, has been one of the first people to get to use this kind of phosphorescent thread. She’d been building these huge 3 metre long sculptures that resemble a jelly fish or fire or something. They change colour gradually by themselves throughout the night. When you first come in you won’t be able to see them, but as the lights come down they’ll start to appear.
Some of the video artists are working in conjunction with the musicians. For example, there’s an improvisation act called Sexy Entourage, they’re used to improvising amongst themselves, but we’re throwing a video artist into the mix with them so they’ll be responding to the visuals that are projected onto them. They’ll be trying their best to keep in time while the artist messes with their heads. We’ve got Wounded Knee too, he’s going to be playing in a long thin corridor downstairs, so everyone will have to cram in. He wanted to play because of the space actually, because of its acoustic value.
The sort of headline is John Knox Sex Club. They’re the most band-y act we’ve got. The lead singer’s almost like a preacher, marches up and down the stage mopping his face with a rag. Really loud and really good. They’re writing a special set based around the book Lanark. So we’ll see how that turns out! Sean’s a bit of a lyrical genius. We’re going to have images of Alasdair Gray’s work projected over them.

And will there be dancing?

RH: There will be dancing. We’ve got a Frightened Rabbit - Andy Monaghan - DJing. Everyone knows Andy. He gets about. We’re hoping he’s going to be directing the different phases throughout the night. So it’ll start off fairly atmospheric and chilled, and by the end it’ll be fairly dirty and hardcore.

The event begins at 8pm on the Thursday 9 April at Glasgow's Stereo Venue