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Kirsty Smith is a Visual Artist based in Shetland. She has completed a BA in Fine Art at the University of Highlands and Islands. Recently she has been awarded the Parton Prize from the Royal Scottish Academy for her sculpture and drawing. Her practice examines change, time and place.
HELEN MCCRORIE, ‘If Play is Neither Inside nor Outside, where is it?’, The Hillside - Collective.
'If Play is Neither Inside nor Outside, Where is it?' is a new film made by the artist Helen McCrorie, that mixes the concept the perceived landscape and the social ability of art (running from 13th of July to the 19th of October 2019). The film is situated in a former military camp in Perthshire, called Cultybraggan, now a converted underground data storage facility., The site is juxtaposed by a playgroup who meet regularly, where the children are encouraged to explore and learn via their environment.
The playgroup's core belief is the strength of self-learning and the importance of outdoor play for movement and ideas. McCrorie celebrates the children's free, unpredictability and imaginative learning, found in Cultybraggan in her film. By recording, via sound or film, the actions and development of these children. McCrorie intelligently uses the juxtaposition of inside and outside to develop on both themes. The pictures below depict the black and white, dark, stale filming inside the building, whilst the outside is shown to be bright, colourful and changeable.
The theme of past, present and future is blatant as the children run through the disused training site, new plants and buildings are made, giving new hope for the future. As we are shown a sign for the firing range warning when the light is on shots are fired, then we hear a sound almost like a machine gun. Only after having this assumption we are shown the true origin of sound - a child running along a corrugated iron wall with stick banging against it. This is so cleverly done by McCrorie, giving the audience a shocking fear for these children in this present place then re-depicting as the transformed play area it is shown to be.
The film was presented in a small darkened room with a small concrete bench, which filled swiftly. The room was small and could not hold many people, but brought together those who stayed, through giggles and other reactions to the children. Here I thought of the importance of small places where people can experience artwork together and react individually.
What I take from this exhibition is the importance of people within art. The hierarchical notion of the ‘Artist Response' is shut down, instead creating without self-interest or self-belief but with community and society I found this to be profound in the contemporary art world where market rules. The benefit of art as documentation for these events is extremely important as it gives a wholly soulful effect on audience, revealing the actuality of being in this community group.
all images: If Play is Niether Inside nor Outside,Where is it?, Helen McCrorie, 2019 (photograph taken inside exhibtion by author)