A Polyphonic Essay | on …
A Polyphonic Essay on… is an ongoing collaboration between curators Alexandra
Ross, Gayle Meikle and other contributors,
first commissioned to take place at the
Transart Triennale Berlin in 2016. It was continued at the NEoN Digital Arts Festival
in Dundee in 2017 and in Newcastle as part of Ways of Learning: Baltic in 2019, a collaboration between Baltic and Grand Union of Birmingham.
The series takes the form of sessions that
feature elements of performance, presentation and discussion that explore forms of learning through time-based artworks. Each instalment
of A Polyphonic Essay on… is based on an agreed theme which is reflected in contributors’ selected artworks and the discussion element of each session. The format ‘agitates conventions’ with each curator unveiling their chosen pieces to
one another and the audience simultaneously. This introduces a spontaneous live element of performance in which participants — curators and audience — respond in the moment.
From a design perspective, the requirements for the project were initially fairly simple — a matter of devising a graphic identity which would be applied to supporting material (print and online) with a neutral, but identifiable, style that would become familiar to the series’ audience. The recurring wave device represents the notion
of ‘animated’ collaboration, with side-by-side components moving in different directions
while fitting together in varying configurations. Changing print formats as a response to the different types of content featured also conveys the idea of fluidity. An interesting challenge became apparent in the development of accompanying physical material in that each curator’s contribution had to be kept secret
from their associates, meaning redacted drafts
of documents had to be used prior to each piece being signed off. Spoilers successfully avoided!
Concept: Alexandra Ross & Gayle Meikle
Visual Identity: Ryan R Thompson
Transart Berlin Photography: Aleks Slota
NeON Dundee Photography: Kathryn Rattray
Baltic Newcastle Photography: Ross Frew