Radius & Atypical Root: A Skinny Guide

Radius and Atypical Root are two twinned but separate projects united by a desire to provide unusual perspectives on Glasgow and its art in April 2010, alongside Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. The Skinny worked with them to create a guide to distribute around the city of Glasgow during the festival

Feature by Rosamund West | 30 Apr 2010
  • Radius & Atypical Root map

Radius and Atypical Root both come from the heart of the local art scene, from the unfunded and grassroots endeavour that is at the core of the city’s notoriety as an artistic hub. They’re both innovative, inclusive, concerned with emergent art and with realising random dreams. Between them, they have dozens of events happening across the city in and outside venues.

We heard about the projects through Central Station, who had seen whisperings of the plans on their message boards and blogs, and wanted to do what they could to support them. We liked what we saw, and so support came in the form of a guide, distributed across the city and providing details of the happenings alongside a map to tell you where. Thanks to Radius and Atypical Root, April includes – amongst much else – guerilla gardeners improving the urban landscape; the sound of a dying star playing in a Clydeside pedestrian tunnel; designer-makers displaying their wares in the Lighthouse; and plenty of riverside parties. Much to enjoy, no?

To introduce the guide, we asked some of those involved to tell us how they got involved, and what they hope to achieve.

www.thisiscentralstation.com

Who are you, what do you do?

Central Station is a creative social network, made in Glasgow, used by the world. We're a community, a place to browse creative opportunities, somewhere to find creative talent, a destination where you can satisfy your cultural and creative cravings.

How did it come about?

Central Station went live in September 2009. It's made by ISO and funded by Channel 4, Scottish Screen & the Scottish Arts Council. We’re an open space where creatives from a broad spectrum of disciplines can meet and talk to one another, collaborate, showcase themselves and – importantly – take risks. We’re also a destination for people with an interest in creative work. Drop by and browse myriad members, their work, join in debates, build your own gallery of things you like, commission something…

What's happening in April?

In April we’re partnering with GI and a number of artists to co-produce a broad spectrum of GI offerings. This little booklet is the result of our work with two great projects. There’s Radius, a grassroots project celebrating everything creative about Glasgow that found its feet and home in the Central Station community. Fingers crossed this is the first of many Radii to come. And Atypical Root, a wonderfully ambitious public art extravaganza that aims to bring creativity to the places you’d perhaps least expect to find it.

We’re also making a crowd-sourced film of the NVA White Bike ride-out (please help us), asking Phil Kay what he thinks of contemporary art (ask him a question via twitter), and hosting an online cultural exchange between Rennes & Glasgow as part of Social Landscape. Find out more at www.thisiscentralstation.com.

What do you hope the audience will experience?

New, innovative, exciting work they can engage with. That's important. We're also interested in the idea of an audience. For us it's not just the people on the ground, there in real life. We're wanting to extend experiences, and give virtual audiences as well as real audiences the chance to experience some of what a contemporary art festival like GI has to offer. No matter who or where they are.

Join us at www.thisiscentralstation.com.
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/censta.
Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/censta.

STEPHANIE SPINDLER, RADIUS

Who are you and what do you do?

I have an art practice in Glasgow and I organise exhibitions through my company, Ugly Duckling Exhibitions. The goal of Radius is to reach out to all those that didn’t have a voice in GI, to connect these individual events and give them a relationship to an audience and to each other to help them find that voice.

What are you most looking forward to in April?

The entire festival! My project extends into making a new journey every day during the festival, blogging about my discoveries and publishing the route that I took online for others to be inspired. Find out more at http://bit.ly/radiusblog
My goal is to hit each GI, Atypical Root and Radius site within all my trekking itineraries.

How did the project come about?

Last year I was invited to submit to the GI festival as a director but my submission was not accepted. I was frustrated that I had an exhibition planned and it was in between things that were included in the GI. I had recently joined Central Station so I started a blog and a project page looking for other things that might be mapped into a guide for people during the festival. Central Station supported the project Radius as a liaison connecting artists, performers and organisations. It’s been an excellent creative, collaborative experience.

What do you hope the audience will experience?

When I’m trawling a new city I hope to find the coolest venues, the cracks and crevices where things are happening – sometimes it’s a more intimate experience than going to a museum or gallery. All contexts are important to an experience of a place. Glasgow is heaving with genuine sentiment, grit and substance. Radius is another current of activity to emerge from the community of aspiring artist voices in the city. I hope that Radius adds to visitors’, residents’ and artists’ knowledge and feeling of inclusion.

NATALIE LAMBERT, CURATOR AND PROJECT-LEAD FOR ATYPICAL ROOT

Who are you and what do you do?

We are an emerging not-for-profit, artist-led initiative, an official, but unfunded, event for Glasgow International. Atypical Root is a curated public art trail (with new site-specific artworks), and an expanding network of artists and new galleries, dotted through the regenerating/degenerating areas along the Clyde Riverside.

Where did the project come from?

In summer 2009 I walked from the Modern Institute to the White House Gallery and was intrigued by the amount of disused space in the financial district and Glasgow City Centre. It was an opportunity waiting to happen: to unite both international and local galleries through public artworks, exhibitions, interventions and events. Atypical Root wants to blur the boundaries between high-brow and low-brow art, to mix established and emerging artists, and provide the public with a snapshot of GI, without even having to step into a gallery.

What's happening in April?

Everything. We have three diverse and fantastic events, one on each Sunday of the festival, to mark each end and the middle of our huge trail (which spans five miles). The trail will spring up in a week, and morph and change throughout the three week festival. More than 30 artists will be exhibiting. The trail does not require opening hours, and galleries will be accessible throughout the festival. Interventions may be short-term or evolving in select spaces. It will be so rewarding to finally see the artworks on site – we are lucky to have an incredible selection of artists exhibiting for Atypical Root.

Finally, why do you feel the project is important?

Firstly, this project shows that a lot can be done with very little. Secondly, never underestimate the power of ideas… Since the inception of Atypical Root, we have achieved so much more than we ever imagined. This project is important because it introduces Glasgow International to new demographics, and links up major visitor attractions to each other via alternative walking routes. I am looking forward to utilising this trail as a model for a bigger, better (and funded) Atypical Root in Glasgow International 2012 (if GI will have me back!), and working with regeneration and development organisations to bring contemporary visual art to our everyday – the public realm.

Go to www.atypicalroot.com to tap into all the action