• Canal Opera

Coutts, Nicky, 2017, Art or design object, Canal Opera

Abstract or Description:

‘Canal Opera’ is an HD video and installation artwork. Funded and mentored by Addo Creative, Arts Council Wales, Emscherkünst Germany and The Canal and Rivers Trust, this work was made as part of an enquiry into art as research in the public sphere. Coutts’ response to the brief specifying working with Dortmund’s Industrial River Emscher and the restored Welsh Canal network, was to create a people’s opera, using singing as method to explore overlooked landscapes. Songs meaningful to local amateur and professional singers were performed outdoors, filmed in one take, in variable climatic conditions. Other artists’ works, installed along the Emscher, were used as sets (e.g. Douglas Gordon’s ‘Moment for a Forgotten Future’ and Henrik Hakansson’s ‘The Insect Societies’). Coutts experimented with methods for producing work unknowable in advance to its maker, which instead unfolded in practice and over time via the agency of its participants ‘singing through’ locations with layered contradictory histories.

Coutts’ ‘Emscher Newtown Residency’ was one of six research initiatives culminating in the exhibition ‘Navigations: Art as Research’ with artists Mo Abd-Ulla, Andrew Dodds, Mair Hughes, Alan Goulbourne and Dan Rees (Oriel Davies, Wales - May 2017) including a publication with a text by Coutts on singing as method. Coutts presented her research at The National Museum, Wales in an Arts Council Wales initiative - keynote by Bedwyr Williams (November 2016); at a day seminar at Oriel Davies led by Addo Creative and Alec Shepley (Gwyndr University) and to multiple arts sector stakeholders, curators and arts council representatives from the UK and Essen region (June 2016).

‘Canal Opera’ will be exhibited at Emscherkünst 2020 and a solo show at Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art (September 2018). Coutts’ research continues to question uses of agency through participation, developed further in the collaborative text ‘Giraffe Time’ (Journal of Photography, 2018).

CinematographerMurray, Liz
Recording engineerGifford, Dan
SingerBuswell, Matthew
ActorRevel-Walsh, Peter
ActorRobson, Tineke Ann
SingerJames, Sian
SingerJones, Gerallt Rhys
SingerMain, Philip
EditorKubik, Anna
Canal OperaOriel Davies Gallery and Emscherkunst, Dortmund, Germany01 Apr - 31 Oct 2016UNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Copyright Holders: The Artist
Funders: Addo Creative, Arts Council Wales, Canal and River Trust, Emscherkunst
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2018 13:52
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2023 15:43
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1759
Edit Item (login required) Edit Item (login required)