LightNight 2017 artist profile: Jonathan Raisin
The theme for this year's LightNight festival is 'Time', so we thought we'd ask some of the commissioned artists about time capsules and alternate dimensions. First up: musician/composer Jonathan Raisin
Liverpool's annual late-night culture crawl, LightNight this year invites artists to respond to the word 'Time' in unlimited ways – covering everything from the city's past, present and future to the influence of time on art, science and philosophy.
Alongside the hundreds of free events across town on 19 May, with galleries, museums and art spaces throwing open their doors until late, LightNight also makes a number of commissions each year – and the eight new works for 2017 range from a light installation accompanied by music from Arvo Pärt to an audiovisual piece that the audience can control through data from their brainwaves and heartbeats.
The Skinny: Can you tell us a little bit about your practice, and how your project for LightNight continues/relates to it?
Jonathan Raisin: My background is as a musician and composer, then over the years I've worked in community arts and in theatre and on a lot of varied collaborative arts projects. In the last few years I've made a lot of work in specific places – a derelict theatre, a swimming pool, a whole market town. At the moment I'm enjoying writing and making soundworks. I like the way that you can sit and work with sound as if it is an object – sculpting and layering, adding and taking away, until you have the finished piece, with none of the complications and uncertainties of performance and organising a production and a tour!
How does your work for LightNight respond to the festival's theme, 'Time'?
Time is such a vast idea, something we just live inside, and I was drawn to ideas of memory and 'timelessness', of places that contain memory and seem to resist the change around them.
For LightNight I'm working in the LJMU John Foster garden. It's the old garden of Notre Dame convent and seems to be one of those places that people have either never visited, or know and love. It is a haven of timelessness and quiet and the piece I'm making will hopefully add a few reflective layers to this.
Given the ultimatum, would you travel backwards or forwards in time?
From what I can see, the future's not looking great so that would have to be backwards...
To what time would you go, and why?
Hmm. At the moment I'm thinking a lot about the landscape here, before the city and the dock, so weirdly I'll say Liverpool in about 1200!
What one item would you put in a time capsule?
A notebook and a pen.
What else are you working on at the moment?
As well as the LightNight commission I'm also working with Roger Hill on an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his PMS show on Radio Merseyside. There will be a show in the Music Room, also on LightNight, so I'm going to be busy.
Where the Time Goes..., LJMU John Foster Gardens, 5-11pm as part of LightNight Liverpool, 19 May