Low resolution version taken looking into the exhibit.


A version showing the three layers that are combined to create the film when looking into the  exhibit. The top layer is nearest to the viewer. The brightness of each layer has also been adjusted to be balanced when viewing on the exhibit. 

On Wrecker's Ball

Drawing (On) Riverside Exhibition, Kelvingrove. 2011.

Drawing (On) Riverside was a major 5 month exhibition at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow and was attended by over 45,000 visitors.

The exhibition featured the solo work of Patricia Cain, along with collaborations with other artists, Anne Nisbet – Architect, Alec Galloway – Glassmaker, Rosalind Lawless – Printmaker and myself. Each of our projects was a response to Trish’s work.

For my part, I produced two works, All Wrapped Up, a stereoscopic 3D installation and this piece, On Wrecker’s Ball, a multilayered, digital Pepper’s Ghost.

The starting point for this project was five films Trish had obtained from the Scottish Screen Archive. The common theme of these films was construction and deconstruction. The construction of the last great ships on Clydeside and the destruction of the Glasgow tenements. These also echoed the themes of Trish’s paintings.

I took deconstruction and loss as my theme.

As I went through the archive footage, one black and white film, KH-4, stood out from the rest. It wasn’t a documentary, like the others, but the story of a young artist, exploring the effect the demolition around him, was having on his life and work. That young artist, just happened to be played by a young Bill Forsyth. That was the clincher. I also used some additional clips from a documentary, The New Scotland, this time directed by Bill Forsyth.

I used short clips. Shattered them, layered them, masked them, processed them with textures made of other clips and then animated to the music of PJ Moore and the words of Edwin Morgan. 

It was very nice to see the piece reviewed by Giles Sutherland, in the Times 18/6/11, as :

“..demonstrating diversity of technique and an inquiring, experimental approach..”   

“ elegiac film of Glasgow’s recent past..”

That will do.


Music : Trains on Vulcan Street by PJ Moore (formerly of The Blue Nile).

Words : excerpts from Edwin Morgan’s Glasgow Sonnet IV and For Bonfires II :

On wrecker’s ball the rains

of greeting cities drop and drink their fill.

And they all stand round,

and cheer the tenement to smoke.


The Display :

Traditionally, the pepper’s ghost was an effect used to enable an actor to appear as a ghost on stage as part of a live production.  It used a 45 degree angled half silvered mirror and usually a location below the stage for the actor.

Here, that old technique is adapted for the digital age. The tv is the base of the display, with the screen pointing up. Three angled, half silvered mirrors sit on the tv screen, creating three surfaces for the three layers of the film. Looking in from the front, the three layers of the film seem to stand upright on the screen.

One of the videos here, shows how the layers appear if looking down on the tv and is how I created them.  The other, is a low res video, taken looking into the completed piece. Unfortunately the true feeling of depth and immersion is impossible to recreate on a flat web page.

I developed and designed the display and Ian Thomson of QD Plastics built it for me.




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