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Nicola Atkinson Davidson in Paisley Museum

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HANGING BY A THREAD/An einem Faden hängen, 2006 - 7

Change of use/Gebrauchswandel
Change of mind/Gesinnungswandel
Change of identity/Identitätswandel
Change of industry/ Industriewandel


Change of place/OrtswechselPaisley twinned with the town of Fürth in Southern Germany in 1969. Glasgow twinned with Nürnberg in 1985. It has been said that Glasgow is to Paisley as Nürnberg is to Fürth, in that they have similarly ambiguous relationships based on their city/town rivalries. Each of these places has a strong identity as a result of their individual histories and all of them are currently undergoing a period of
redefinition.


After a visit to Germany and further consideration of the two Scottish sites, I began the process of identifying something that would provide a link between the individual places. Initially I thought of my role as reflecting the essence of that place, to enable the inhabitants to gain a more objective view of where they live. It seemed to me that the two cities are now trying to project very strong cultural identities in the 21st century, as a result of the process of re-invention made necessary after events that occurred in the first half of the 20th century. In Glasgow’s case the declining heavy industries produced circumstances that gave the city a reputation for poverty and violence, whereas Nürnberg seems inextricably linked to particular word such as “rallies”, “laws” or “trials” and its reputation in the middle ages as a “Reichsstadt” influenced the development of some of the ideas behind the Third Reich. With regards to the towns, both Paisley and Fürth have rich histories but they have lost their old, established industries causing the population to dwindle and in many ways are overshadowed by their larger neighbours. Their identities are in danger of disappearing at the present time and they are both seeking a new role within their country. They are now unsure of the nature of their own personality it seems and, much like individual people, sometimes in trying to become someone or something else, the ghosts of the past re-assert themselves.


Looking into Paisley’s past I was initially fascinated and then inspired by the company, Brown and Polson, which was established in Paisley, in 1842. It produced starch paste, developed for stiffening the warp threads for the town’s looms. They went on to re-market and sell this product as “Patent Corn Flour” calling it “Paisley Flour” for making the “perfect Shortbread”. This is a remarkable change of use. How tasty had the weavers’ fingers become? Similarly, Fürth and Nürnberg have had outstanding reputations for manufacturing since the Renaissance. Nürnberg produced, amongst other things, pocket watches and Fürth was known for its mirrors. Fürth did have a price to pay for this, detailed in 1861 by Adolf Küssmaul. As Professor of Medicine in Erlangen he noted that industrial mercury poisoning amongst people involved in mirror production was so bad, that many adult males had lost a lot, and in some cases all, of their teeth.


I arrived at a point that encompassed lost teeth and grinding poverty, which ranged from extremism to tasty fingers. Each place has clearly paid a price for its industrial development. The concept behind Hanging by a Thread evolved during the time I spent this summer in Nürnberg, as part of the International Artist’s exchange in the Schloss (Castle) Almoshof. I became aware of the active recycling that take place in Germany, prompting me to incorporate that aspect into the creation of the “Fun House”, using not only mirrors borrowed from the public but also material that is recycled by the people of Paisley. I felt that this would allow the viewer to not only contemplate their image, but also what they are consuming everyday. The nightmare question that poses itself is what if we had to hold on everything, never throwing anything away?

 

As part of Hanging by a Thread, Hanna Tuulikki is creating three sound works to be experienced within the “fun house”. The sounds of skipping and hand clapping, traditionally used in children games, will form the basis for the next two sound works and will be built upon using carefully chosen songs collected from children in Scotland & Germany. Hanna’s work will contribute to the sense of looking at oneself , the innocent sounds of childhood joy and disappointment bringing to the viewer the reason for the need to take both individual and collective responsibility of their environment and the future of their town.

Nicola Atkinson.Davidson
NADFLY

 

Profiles

Nicola Atkinson.Davidson

 

Hanna Tuulikki

 

International artist’s exchange

Nürnberg July - Sept 2006

Schloss (Castle) Almoshof

Nicola Atkinson Davidson will be living, working and exhibiting in the Castle Almoshof.

 

Black Suitcase from Karachi ( on tour )

Starting with the Glasgow Art Fair and then Los Angeles, who knows where...?

 

Buttons UP

UK, LA, NY, BRAZEN and HABANA

Initiative by Nicola Atkinson.Davidson

 

 

 

 

 


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