ART SHOWS

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July 2014

On the 1st of July Kettle's Yard received first stage backing from the Arts Council England Capital Investment Programme Fund. The Arts Council funding of £3.5m will substantially support the creation of a new Education Wing and major improvements to the exhibition galleries, alongside better services for visitors including a small cafe. The Heritage Lottery Fund have already committed £2.0m towards the Education Wing.

A further £0.5m remains to be raised by the public appeal.




'NOISE' at KETTLE'S YARD, CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND


Reviewed by ANDRE BEAUMONT



Noise, an exhibition mixing sound, science and art at Cambridge's Kettle's Yard (ending March 26, 2000) is a delightful piece of ephemera that charms the senses.

The art within the exhibitions eludes the critic's precisions. None of the artists appear to be widely known. Yet this exhibition will be remembered long after the usual diet of famous name modern art and sculpture, set against bare white walls, that is the fare of many galleries. Precision is the antithesis of this exhibition.

Perhaps it is that the aural sense is continually appealed to in a chatting, buzzing, clicking, hissing and strangely musical way from exhibits in all quarters whilst the purely visual art does not take itself too seriously. Coloured spheres flashing, a projector beaming hues of blue, video playbacks of beautiful colours produced in laboratory work, projection of genetic research being undertaken on maize, all these are largely ephemeral creations that depend on the busy, musical, digital and human buzz going on in the usually quiet Kettle's Yard gallery to give them attraction in context.

The exhibition shows that scientists can be artists, too. Science can be blurred, even intentionally mislabelled, to make art.

There is the hint of serious science as well in the exhibits borrowed from scientific museums. An early Watson and Crick model of the double helix. A mildly ghoulish half hemisphere of Babbage's brain. An internet project, Talking Heads, spanning many countries with a game using video cameras and synthesized voices but whose science is nonetheless hard to follow, more alluring for its visual and auditory appeal than its logic.

More of what is here is a representation of beautiful occurrences that spring from science but with its logic and presentation jumbled to make art. Herein lies the meaning of the exhibition. The digital world does not produce perfect reproduction. Things get jumbled to produce noise and within that noise lies beauty. Sounds get fuzzed and become musical, video pictures distort and quiver into a mass of raster lines, scientific instruments record beautiful accidents automatically. The rooms are awash with connecting wires, plugs, lights, but some do not work. Notes scribbled in haste to a deaf artist are pinned to a wall. It is this kind of noise, together with the real sounds and noises, which inhabit the gallery.

As one leaves a musical sounding morse code is heard piping out into the small courtyard in front of the gallery. Like after leaving a good Midsummer Night's Dream one wonders if one will hear this enchantment again.