ECA Degree Show 2016: Intermedia

From sci-fi to retail via extreme music, the wide range of disciplines on display in Intermedia gives us cause to consider an even broader base of ideas and concepts

Feature by Julia Barbour | 17 May 2016

This year’s Intermedia degree show at Edinburgh College of Art marks the end of four years of study for a 20-strong group of artists making work in a diverse range of media. Intermedia encourages students to think in tangents, and this year’s graduating cohort will exhibit everything from paintings to musical homages to black metal.

A series of projected videos and plastic works by Steph Wilson occupy an entire room, immersing the spectator in a piece that seeks to question bodily relationships to technology. Seeking to draw attention to the wastefulness of technology and the industry’s pursuit of the untouchable, Wilson's video work exploits green screen technology to superimpose images of the human into digital landscapes. These moving images, recorded in crisp high-definition, are accompanied by sheets of industrial plastics that reference the sleek aesthetic of the screen and the barrier it puts up to perception.

Anna Danielewicz’s work also exploits prefabricated and industrial materials; she describes her practice as being largely conceptual. Scaffolding and a large fish tank, housing a viciously territorial species of fish, will become the stage set for a science fiction play for four actors. Danielewicz’s writing confronts alienation and oppression in a dystopian society, not so far removed from our own, that is hyper-focused on productivity and regimentation of lifestyle. 

An installation by Gemma Crook uses a meticulously-catalogued collection of polystyrene offcuts, collected from a factory, to build new structures that will change throughout the run of the show. These offcuts have all been numbered and named, like characters in a heist movie. When the pieces are combined, the pairing of their names creates a new language of building that brings a sense of the poetic to the structural.

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More on ECA's 2016 degree shows:

 Graphic Design and Illustration

 Design, Film and TV & Animation

A series of neon-bright paintings by Hugo Ross explores cultural product, layering the stock phrases of discount retailers over bright-eyed cartoon characters and simple shapes. These paintings, made on paper, have a sense of temporality. Temporal states are also explored in the work of Healey Blair, whose pieces capture fleeting moments; recordings of breath clouding on cold windows, or drawings only visible in sunlight.

Collections of photographs and printed fabrics by Alice Meikle look at the world that revolves around the fashion industry and the bystanders that surround it. Meikle spent this year’s London Fashion Week photographing scenes outside the main shows, including shooting portraits of other photographers, and her desire to document fashion is driven by her own engagement with the industry and love for clothing. Similarly, Calum Brittain’s love for Norwegian black metal has fuelled a music piece that seeks to bring emotion and expression back into the white space of the gallery, which can cast feeling aside in favour of empty concept. He describes black metal as being a primal genre of music that can bring the listener into a trance-like state, and his own exploration of metal as being a way to find calm in cacophony.

Intermedia’s aim as a subject area at ECA is to let artists work across all media, and to think divergently; the 2016 degree show will undoubtedly display that.

Go with the Glow – Wanshu Li

Want to know more about this year’s ECA degree shows? Read our guide:

ECA Intermedia Degree Show 2016, Main Building, Lauriston Campus, 28 May-5 Jun