Skip to content

Urgent Nature

The stop motion film I have been making while on sabbatical and in fact for about two years now, on and off, is ready for projection. My working title for the project was Moving Stills because the films is made from a series of stills that document the wetland grasses along the River Carron in Falkirk, Scotland. The river once powered the Carron Company ironworks. In 1814, this was the largest ironworks in Europe. It went into receivership in 1982 and now wetlands have been created to reclaim the land: once poisonous, it is now populated by birds, deer and fish living in close proximity to areas still densely populated by humans. This hybrid landscape, neither wild nor urban, has its own aesthetic. Trees are planted in grid formations. Traffic provides a backing track to ebullient birdsong.

I asked the American composer and musician, David Rothenberg to work with me to create a soundtrack that would use recordings suggestive of the ambient sounds of nature and the background hum of mankind as well as his own beautiful music. The colour and movement I introduce to the still images is closely synchronized with the sound as it follows the complex matrices created by individual stalks and leaves of grass, or traces the tangles sweeping structures of dense shrubs. David has made music in response to the natural environment his major life work, recording and improvising directly with birds. In his book, Why Birds Sing, he argues compellingly that birds sing with joy and enjoyment rather than simply to attract partners.

A trailer for the film is available on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/362761473

Set in Scotland, this could have been a local project, but the urgency of the threat to nature is international, and I crop the subject matter to allow no topographical detail. David’s soundtrack evokes a wider environment with wind, the rustle of his own feet and his breath before long melodic notes played on the clarinet as well as birdsong and jet engines.

I did a final edit of the film in New York with David in November and we screened it at the XIX Collective (https://www.xixcollective.com/) in Long Island City, Queens on the 19th. XIX is directed by artist Tim Leung who has created a dome with camera, projectors, wind machine, speakers and a sub-bass platform to enable 3-D sensory experience for a small number of spectators. It transformed my film to three dimensions. I felt as if I’d fallen headfirst into the computer screen I spent so many months working in front of. A fantastic experiment.

Tim Leung, Director of XIX Collective
Artist Rosanne Retz views the projection
David improvises live during the projection

My ultimate screening solution is large-scale projection on a flat wall, possibly more than one wall as the film moves from one ‘still’ image to another.

Urgent Nature projected in my studio in Glasgow

I am dedicating the film to my dear friend Polly Higgins, eco-warrior and barrister, founder of Eradicating Ecocide. Polly was born in Scotland but travelled the world to demand an international law against ‘ecocide’. Her death this year is a great sadness to me and a loss to the world.

Silent Music Seeing Sound

Square Graphic_Silent Music_1

This exhibition showcases my further use of relief printing with Raymond, using the laser-cutter to cut a number of woodblocks that we can print with, making decisions about colour and arrangement of shapes very quickly and spontaneously.  I’m really looking forward to hearing them on Friday!

Gallery

Walking Through

Thank you to everyone who travelled from Glasgow and Edinburgh for the opening of this exhibition at Linlithgow Burgh Hall. It was so wonderful too that the local beekeepers came!

Under Bridge Gate

I’m showing a series of graphic scores made in collaboration with Raymond MacDonald at The Briggait in Glasgow. This is the WASPS flagship building. The old fish market that traded under the bridge. Now refurbished by WASPS to provide office space, artists’ studios and exhibitions space. The exhibition is on the wall and open to the public from March 5th. 9.30-5 Monday – Friday.

title outside

Our opening event and musical performance is postponed because of the snow until March 16th, 6 – 8pm.  George Burt on guitar, Una McClone on double bass, Stuart Brown on drums, and Raymond saxophone.

Under Bridge Gate is the title of the new piece made using imagery of the wonderful roof of The Briggait and will premier.

 

 

 

Drawing Sound is now open.

Drawing Sound opened at the Kleinert James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, NY, August 25th, 2017. It is the first exhibition of graphic scores I have produced with American composer and musician, Marilyn Crispell and brings this work together with work I’ve made with Raymond MacDonald as, Running Under Bridges. The two series of images worked well together, contrasting colour and tone and methodologies but always returning to the grid-like matrices and wonderful musical improvisations of the musicians.

The scores made by Running Under Bridges are created to be played by any musicians who like to improvise and respond to image and one another as they perform. They have different instructions that indicate time, instrumentation and type of musical material. They are abstract and allow the improvising musician great freedom for creativity as they play.

Gradations of Light, made with Crispell, were intricately scored by her to indicate how she herself would play them. Recorded as solo pieces and then again with David Rothenberg as duets, on clarinet and laptop electronics, they are thematic, around the times of day, changes of light and response to nature. Rothenberg is known for his improvisations with cicadas, whales and birds which made him the perfect partner to duet these pieces.

The opening performance in Woodstock featured works from Running Under Bridges, including our new Blue Fugue and Yellow Fugue, and two duets from Gradations of Light.

Drawing Sound

Gradations of Light will be exhibited along with new works that I’ve made with Marilyn Crispell this year at an exhibition called Drawing Sound at the Kleinert James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, NY, August 25 – October 15, 2017.   New works also by Running Under Bridges (Ganter – MacDonald), include Yellow Fugue and Manuscript 2.

Marilyn will perform some of Gradations of Light with David Rothenberg on clarinet and electronics. Raymond MacDonald, Scottish guitarist George Burt and American drummer Douglas James will also perform new pieces with Marilyn on the opening night.

www.woodstockguild.org

 

11am

11am, graphic score by Marilyn Crispell and Jo Ganter, 100 x 150cm

 

 

Yellow Fugue

Yellow Fugue, a graphic score by Jo Ganter and Raymond MacDonald, 160 x 100cm

Gradations of Light

 

Gradations of Light, is a suite of seven graphic scores made in collaboration with American pianist Marilyn Crispell. Marilyn is based in Woodstock NY and I visited her in February this year for ten days. We worked intensively to create a number of ideas for images and sounds. Woodstock is surrounded by trees and I walked through forests every morning which I realise inspired some of the ‘grid’ matrices I used for the scores, especially Morning. Marilyn introduced different calligraphic lines and geometric shapes to each matrix, with the sounds she wanted to play already in mind. Each image was made in response to a time of day: moving from dark to light and back to twilight.

We will be exhibiting Gradations of Light at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, NY, August 25 – October 8 2017.

Title flat- larger

 

We had one day in a recording studio for Marilyn to play the pieces solo, and she invited David Rothenberg to perform duets with her. In the end there are recordings of all seven scores played solo, and with six played as duets. Marilyn creates a wide range of sounds on the piano, playing the strings as well as the keyboard. David played clarinet, following the long winding black lines that appear in Dawn with beautiful, long, undulating notes.  He also created a number of digital beats/pulses to reflect the repetitive nature of the ‘grids’.  Not how I imagined a recording studio!  A beautiful and creative space to work in.