Art of the Future

The delivery man himself was shocked by a large talking box but we 6 artists were intrigued by the ferry-terminal-style-voice telling us “there are no wrong ways to do art”. The HYAH is taking part as one of many Scotland-wide partners in 'Art of the Future', a National Galleries Scotland outreach project. The aim is to encourage young people to explore the future in the context of place and time; it has been inspired by the exhibition NOW which is currently on show at NGS Modern 1 in Edinburgh.

Earlier this month six young artists from across Highlands, Anna Strang, Cara Murray, Emma Cameron, Emma Ralph, Rosanna Dyke and Maddie Lennon, met at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery to partake in “Art of the Future”.

From the gallery we had a short 3D printing workshop at World of Work Inverness.  Attempting to use the program Sketch Up proved more difficult than originally thought, however the idea of having a 3D model that we designed was really interesting to all of us since we mostly used traditional mediums.  After lunch the box arrived, scaring the delivery man when it chatted to him as he delivered it to the gallery; opening the box revealed where the sound was coming from. A giant button labeled “push” read off repeatedly how art has no boundaries. Underneath this button (in carefully cut out and packaged foam) were several layers of supplies; ranging from a £20 note to hammer and nails to acrylic paint. Underneath the supplies were several layers of churches – some quite similar to ones along the river in Inverness – and we quickly realised our theme was to be religion in the Highlands.

After in depth discussion comparing our different backgrounds and experiences with the church in the Highlands, a common thread appeared.  The difference in generations; with the older generations being more steadfast in their religious beliefs while younger generations didn’t believe as strongly however, due to religion being such a large part of our childhoods there is a guilt associated with this lack of faith. So as a group we wanted to create a piece to do with this idea, guilt in the context of ‘loss of faith.’

We broke up the £20 note into four £5 notes and attached them to the cardboard churches with ominous religious quotes to see if members of the public would ignore the religious imagery, rather taking the money for themselves. We placed these four cardboard churches in different places; in the middle of a busy street, two in front of churches and lastly one on an abandoned building along a busy side street.

We waited poised with cameras to see if people would instantly take the money however, watched multiple people stare and just walk by (a couple of people even asked us if they were able to take the money.) The first one to go was the cardboard church in front of the abandoned building – not only the money but the whole cardboard church was gone within the first 15 minutes. Then in front of one of the churches we watched a young man take the £5 note. The other two were left longer, the money in the other church spot wasn’t taken, however in the busy street several hours later the money had gone.

It was very interesting to see the impact the church still had; mothers reading the signs and quickly grabbing children away so they wouldn’t take the money. People read the religious quotes but very few people would actually act. We returned back to the gallery and reassembled the box to be sent back to the National Gallery for another youth group to use in the weeks to come.  Although, the talking button itself was smashed and placed into an evidence bag (we weren’t very fond of the talking button).

In the coming months these six young artists will be creating new artworks, individually and as a group, which will be showcased along with that of other participants involved with the “Art of the Future” project.  Also lastly I’d like to thank Stacey Toner from HYAH and Kirsten Body from the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery for their help with the project; pushing ideas and also letting us do some interesting street art.

We will be meeting again in September to visit the NOW exhibit in Edinburgh and to receive a second box that has been altered by another participant group – watch this space to see how things develop!