CCA Highlights – September/October

Glasgow's CCA isn't short on events for your cultural calendar in September and October 2015 – Sonica Festival, Take One Action and Lonelady feature in our picks

Feature by Kate Pasola | 01 Sep 2015
  • Allison Gibbs, Our Extra Sensory Selves

September is upon us; the festival season has ended and lo, like a knackered runaway train which has managed to regain control at the very last moment before everything goes to shit, we screech into Back-to-Reality Station. It’s only three stops away from How The Hell Is It Already Christmas station, so you should probably make good use of your remaining time and money by getting yourself collarbone-deep in the arts while you can. And, in the same passive way that the festivals allowed you to step into a coffee shop and be immediately subjected to some sort of funky one-man band or sketch show, we’re going to make things easy for you too. We’ve taken CCA’s new programme of arts events and picked out our favourite bits over the coming months, laying them out neatly for your delectation.

First things first, have you had a wander round the fugue states exhibition yet? We basically implored you to take a look at it in our July round-up. If you haven’t, it’s time to stop being stubborn and check out this elegant examination of states, senses and connectedness (until 6 Sep). You can read our reviewer's thoughts on it on p57. 

After that, you’ll probably be ready to put your refined understanding of the human sensory experience to the test. Luckily, Sonica Festival is coming back to Glasgow this autumn, and will be giving you an opportunity to get your teeth stuck into a brand new sensory experience altogether – sonic art. No, that’s not a fancy word for ‘music’. No longer satisfied with sound being regarded a mere accompaniment to film, a lowly channel for harmony and melody or an adjunct to the rest of art, sonic art is the art of sound. From Thu 29 Oct-Sun 8 Nov, Sonica will bring an eleven day festival of sound-based exhibitions, installations, performances and screenings. Get ready to be grabbed by the lugs and shaken into noisy euphoria.

If you’d rather be challenged by the content than the form, get yourself along to Take One Action, a film festival which brings mind-changing movies about global social change to Glasgow (and Edinburgh). You’ll be able to catch The NEST Art Collective’s challenging coverage of Kenyan LGBTQ experience in Stories of Our Lives. Another one to look out for is We Are The Giant, Greg Barker’s devastating and intimate portrayal of morally torn individuals on the front lines of the Arab Spring (19-23 Sep). Chew that lot over for a month, and when your filmic appetite returns, you can do it all over again at Africa in Motion film festival (24-25 Oct and 1 Nov). The festival is now in its tenth year of bringing African cinema to Scottish audiences, probably just one of many reasons why this year’s theme is ‘connections’. A self-referential theme indeed, the 2015 AiM will be tightening its focus on spiritual, physical, social, cultural and geographical bonds with Africa through film.

Bringing things a little closer to home, there's The Shock of Victory (19 Sep-1 Nov, preview 18 Sep). If those dates feel a little familiar, that’s because the event is taking place exactly one year after the Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014. The tonic to any sort of aftershock you might be experiencing post-referendum, The Shock of Victory is a curated programme which includes an exhibition, symposium and digital publication. Using the Scottish story as a point of departure, the programme peels away the dust-jacket on political discourse in Northern Ireland, Greece and Palestine, too. It’s a valiant attempt to rejuvenate post-ref pessimists, begging the question of whether our uncertainty, obscurity, hesitancy and perceived failure should be put to good use as mechanisms in art-making and frameworks within political discussion. Always look on the bright side and all that.

On that very topic, we have Lonelady (aka Julie Campbell) visiting CCA on Tue 29 Sep, bringing her musical arsenal of tweaky, industrial electro and atmospheric funk underpinned by what Campbell herself refers to as “an inescapably North of England cement-coloured psyche.” A technicolor musical examination of “post-industrial ruinscapes,” Campbell’s tunes are simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic. Her LP Hinterland is leaps and beats beyond Radio 1 faux-80s and council-estate fetishisation; probably the organic result of having grown up in a Mancunian tower block before completing a fine art degree at Manchester Met. Catch her while she’s playing local, otherwise you’re going to have to head out to Birmingham, Berlin or beyond to try and get a scoop of Lonelady in all her gritty glory (7pm, £10 + £1 booking fee, 18+).

Wasn’t it just lovely that this year the Fringe was rammed with theatre companies, artists, poets and musicians performing works about mental health? Refreshing wasn’t it, to start shifting some taboos with the almighty shovel that is the arts? Shame, isn’t it, that without the risk-taking platform of the Fringe, that sort of stuff isn’t as likely to reach the art-consuming public any more? Only kidding – turns out it wasn’t a phase, and this vital sort of art is here to stay. The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival will be swinging into Scotland on Sun 19 Oct. Lasting until Thu 22 Oct, this five day festival of music, film, visual art and theatre, dance and literature will continue to challenge preconceived ideas about mental health from a number of Scottish venues including CCA. The selected theme for the year is ‘Passion’, indicating the bravery and intimacy of the works brought to the table. You can also expect to see selections from the Festival’s International Film Competition and Special Presentations, which, to quote CCA themselves ‘vigorously demonstrate that cinema needs its inspirational female voices.’ Hear, hear, CCA.