The Changing Room, Tolbooth, Stirling
Until December 4th
Raydale Dower’s ad hoc art-cabaret speak-easy Le Drapeau Noir played with space at GI 2010 via a restless sonic excitability developed during his stint with post-Captain Beefheart hollerers Uncle John and Whitelock and his current tenure with wonky instrumentalists Tut Vu Vu. Running parallel with Le Weekend’s festival of left-field music, Dower’s similarly all-embracing approach here literally works the Room.
On the false wall that forms the visual centre-piece is plastered the sort of star-studded frieze of twentieth-century pop-culture icons that playwright Joe Orton and his lover turned murderer Kenneth Halliwell adorned their living room with before prison beckoned. The pair might even be among the array of open-legged art-stars and other geniuses collected in a rogues gallery to die for.
What looks like a retro-kitsch 1970s wall-clock is actually a set of unplayable piano keys, though the accompanying ticking comes from a trio of metronomes lined up opposite in a domestic-sized take on Ligeti’s ‘Poeme Symphonique (For 100 metronomes).’ This sets up an oddly soothing out of step rhythm accentuated by the two sets of overlapping loops and silences spilling through the mood-lit room next door. Here, a big old reel-to-reel tape machine sits as silent as the piano keys and the scorched violin in the fire-place, making the recorded noises off even more Zenned-out.
In terms of space, time, sound and vision, the recurring presence of Samuel Beckett in the collage is the giveaway. Dower’s collected detritus resembles the playwright’s twenty-five second life-and-death miniature, ‘Breath,’ a sound installation by any other name. Like Beckett, Dower chances his arm in a profoundly entertaining display.
The Herald, October 2010