anam creative is a collaborative group of artists, musicians and a writer based in Scotland. The platform was founded in 2020 by Michiel Turner, a musician and creative freelancer, and is centred around remote collaboration, skill-sharing and multidisciplinary work amongst commissioned creatives in the 18-25 age bracket. A crucial aspect of anam creative’s ethos is to pay young creatives fairly. This has allowed for the cross-fertilisation of ideas to abound in a way that is supportive for all involved, while also contributing to Scotland’s creative scene in mid-pandemic conditions.
Alongside Michiel Turner, the current group involves three musicians: James Mackay, who recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and specialises in jazz guitar, Breagha Charlton, who recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is a lever harpist, and Ben Deans, who recently graduated from the Glasgow School of Art after completing a BDes in Sound for the Moving Image. The artists include: Lily Garget, a sculptor and textiles artist going into her fourth year at the Glasgow School of Art, and Niki Zaupa, a freelance audiovisual artist. The writer-in-residence is Alice Hill-Woods, who is an editor at SPAM Press and the author of HOTHOUSE (Salò Press, 2021). The project is generously supported by Creative Scotland.
Some of the shared themes that the group has worked on have been àite (place), gluasad (motion) and àrainneachd (environment). The group has been working together for three months, utilising the flexibility of online communication methods and meeting up in person where possible. Although all of the members have distinct practices, they have been pushed to consider how they might contribute to each other’s work and learn new approaches along the way. Boundaries have been redrawn, individual perspectives have been challenged and exciting, multilateral frameworks for collaboration have arisen to strengthen the whole group. The final exhibited work is a testament to Scotland’s prismatic array of young creatives, who find ways to connect and create despite adversity, and who are generously invested in the progress of their collaborators. Using sound, textiles, animation, film and text, they invite the audience to partake in an imaginative re-worlding of the mundane, demonstrating the manifold possibilities that emerge from mutual care, interconnection and playfulness.
A text-only exhibition written by anam creative member, Alice Hill-Woods, is also available here for those who may have accessibility issues. We recommend that any audiences curious for a deeper understanding of the work also read through this. Excerpts from the text-only exhibition have been woven into the main exhibition below.
This project is generously supported by Creative Scotland.
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Àite - 'Place'
'Picnic in Kelvingrove' - a collaboration between Lily Garget & James Mackay
(filmed by Ben Deans)
"James sits on a picnic blanket Lily dyed with buttercups, rhododendrons, dandelions, roses, clematis, rose bay willow herb and bluebells. Lily dyed the blanket in response to James’ music, threading between the colours and textures of a park setting and the interactions that abound from them."
'The State of Things' - a collaboration between Niki Zaupa & Ben Deans
"Fragments of domestic objects float against a light grey background before being moulded into dark lumps of rapidly changing textures. These shifts are so transient that everything becomes abstracted, caught between replication and fabrication."
Gluasad - 'Movement'
'The Open Window In An Empty Flat' - a responsive piece by Breagha Charlton
(responding to work made by Lily Garget)
"Breagha’s hands move with soft precision, often mirroring each other, creating a serene symmetry. The potency of the harp submerges the scene in a sleepy melancholia."
'Harp and Hands' - a responsive piece by Lily Garget
(responding to work made by Breagha Charlton)
"There is a softness that emanates from the textures of the piece, with organic shapes that test the tautness of the structure upon which they are splayed."
'Standing Still' - a collaboration between Ben Deans & James Mackay
"Aspects of the environment interrupt the space between the front seat and this sleeve, which include blurred signs, a red traffic light and floating orbs of light. The angle invites the viewer to surrender to the time of the taxi journey. The result makes the viewer feel as though they are in a dense cocoon, swaddled by the momentum of Ben’s ambient soundscape."
Àrainneachd - 'Environment'
'Max Heather' - a collaboration between Breagha Charlton & Ben Deans
"The voices of Breagha and her grandfather conversing about bees are interspersed with the high-pitched buzz of a nearby hive, and enriched by harp and sounds from the city."
'Glacier' - a collaboration between James Mackay & Michiel Turner
"The mood shifts with the octave shift, and both Michiel and James play with discordance and a pull away from the core rhythm and melody. The piece is vibrant and layered, encompassing the myriad emotional tonalities of ice as it changes form and force."
Original chord chart
'The Warp and the Weft' - a collaboration between Lily Garget, Ben Deans & Michiel Turner
"As the camera zooms in to different aspects of the tapestry, the earth beneath entangles with the materials. The wet sound of hands squishing the rich earth of a wormery is subtle, and the sound of a distorted guitar charges the scene with a liveliness, an intimacy."
Sketches & notes by Ben Deans
'About Growth' - a collaboration between Niki Zaupa, James Mackay & Breagha Charlton
"The film responds to ‘àrainneachd’, broaching ideas of mushrooms, the Fibonacci sequence and exponential plant growth. A pale, digitally rendered tree emerges against a black background. The slow, untethered movements of the tree appear as though it is floating in space, although the pace of these movements changes slightly at a later point."
Mundane, Routine & Play
"For the final collaboration, which explores the themes of mundanity, routine and play, Michiel Turner, Ben Deans, Lily Garget, Breagha Charlton, Niki Zaupa and James Mackay weave together their skills and ingenuity to construct a day in the life of a small blue figure made out of plasticine. Delicate, reverberating guitar suffuses the scene with a gentle energy. A tapestry hangs off a branch, before rolling out on to the grass. Two hands made from pink metal wire stretch across the tapestry, and the blue figure lies in the centre. It has brown eyes, a yellow nose and a pink mouth. The film cuts to a swinging hammock, frayed pieces of a prayer flag, green woodland and an overexposed sliver of blue sky between clouds. Bugs crawl across clusters of tiny white flowers. The camera then cuts to purple flowers, yellow flowers and cherry trees. The music fades out, replaced with birdsong. A stop motion film of the blue figure drinking a cup of tea on garden steps marks a transition, before moving inside. A syncopated swing beat shifts the mood of the piece. On a wooden floor, five books are laid out carefully, one of which is a street atlas of Glasgow. The blue figure closes them and stacks them in a pile, before metamorphosing into a ball and rolling up the aerial root of a monstera plant. The blue figure climbs into the plant pot and transforms into water, filling a red plasticine teapot. Blue plasticine funnels through the teapot and into the soil. The scene changes to a small wood burning stove. The figure is now white plasticine, crawling into the stove along with organic ephemera. Inside the wood burning stove is a candle and a red blanket. The figure seems to crawl into bed, and the door of the stove closes with a creak. The flickering candle harmonises with the soft harp, and the figure transitions to sleep. The sound of waves echo across a black screen before rich, distorted sound fills the space. Ripples of deep blue give the impression of the bottom of a swimming pool at night. This is the dream space, concluding the day’s routine."
Any donations made will go towards the running of future projects.