Caves Festival announces new arts events and access to Castle site

The highly popular Cave City Festival gets underway next week (5-10 April) with tickets selling out for cave tours and activities within just a few hours of going on sale. Organisers can now confirm an arts project will be part of the celebrations in the form of an installation at the Brewhouse Yard caves at the foot of Nottingham Castle, as well as access to see some of the Castle Transformation Project works.

Tours on 6, 7, 8, 9 April offer a reverse-experience of the Mortimer’s Hole caves. This uphill tour will leave from Brewhouse Yard and make its way up the Castle Rock. Once at the summit, participants will be treated to a rare glimpse of the current works on the Ducal Palace and surrounding landscape from a special viewing area created by contractors G F Tomlinson. There are several timeslots each day. The tours cost £5 per person and are led by local guides from A Touch of History. Please visit www.whatsonnottingham.com for more information and to book.

For those looking for a less energetic way to enjoy the city’s caves; those behind the Brewhouse Yard cottages have been closed since the summer for the £30m transformation of Nottingham Castle. They are being reopened temporarily for the festival with the help of a team of local volunteers. An art installation in the caves will be open to visitors on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April between 10am and 4pm and is free to enter.

An example of Aja Ireland’s work

The concept for the caves installation will be a specially commissioned audio visual display using projections from imagery created within a virtual reality (VR) experience made by artist Aja Ireland during a Leonardo Fellowship at the University of Nottingham at the Digital Transformations Hub. The work also incorporates light sculptures created by artist Annie Tadne, lighting and projections as well as an atmospheric soundtrack developed from recordings made in Nottingham caves. The overall effect is a fully immersive ‘alien’ landscape inspired by human biology and underwater deep sea abyss.

Other, less strenuous approaches to caves can be found at the festival hub based at the Urban Rooms at 38 Carrington Street. This will serve as an information point on events taking place across the city. There will also be a chance to enjoy a virtual reality tour of the Nottingham Castle Caves. Local photographer Lamar Francois will be showing some of his cave photography too. This will be an opportunity for those who missed out on tickets for the popular Peel Street and Rock Cemetery Tours to see these spaces and others through the eyes of this talented photographer. The Urban Rooms will be open on Saturday 6 April (12-4pm) and Sunday 7 – Tuesday 9 April 2019 (10am-4pm). Entrance is free.

Nigel Hawkins – Head of Culture at Nottingham City Council said; “We are very pleased to be able to introduce arts projects to the highly successful caves festival this year and to combine them with our own VR experience of the Castle caves which are currently closed to visitors.

The event tickets for tours and talks have proved extremely popular and we have been looking for ways for more and more people to be able to enjoy some of our more unusual cave spaces. Having these extra free events with a mixture of visual and sensory representations of the spaces mean we have an opportunity to show the Nottingham beneath our feet to locals and tourists alike.

Brewhouse Yard and 38 Carrington Street are fully accessible also, so those with impairments or accessibility issues who have traditionally struggled to visit caves can now really enjoy what they have to offer.”

Artist, Aja Ireland said: “I was so excited when I saw the brief for this commission and how well it fitted with the work I have developed in caves previously. The caves at Brewhouse Yard are very atmospheric and are so full of history. It is very exciting to work with other artists such as Annie Tadne and to explore ways of transforming this space.”

More about the Brewhouse Yard installation
Working in collaboration with fellow artists Joey Holder, Jake Moore, Paul Grossman and Ryan Heath; Aja Ireland and the team scanned costumes by Lu La Loop which is a British-made fashion and costume brand. The designer has created bespoke costumes using unique materials and kinetics, emulating the structures and movements of underwater organisms which the artists have scanned into build the terrain of the VR environments. This creates a fully immersive alien landscape inspired by human biology and underwater deep sea abyss.

The caves will be filled with Audio Visual Electro Luminescent phosphorus wire sculptures made by Annie Tadne, the thin copper wire coated in phosphor glows when alternating current is applied to it. The wires are thin, lightweight, flexible and do not generate any heat. They will be mounted as a mesh around the performing area.

Projections of videos and 3D scans inside the cave will go along with special lighting to transform the textures of the caves to become fleshy and alive. Pink and purple lights will be placed around each part of the cave to give the illusion of being inside the human body. The projections of visuals were developed from an IMPATV residency at the Islington Mill.

The installation will also include multi-speaker spatial surround sound using manipulated field recordings taken from the caves themselves. These are the product of many workshops in the Nottingham caves in which participants collected field recordings to transform them into different soundscapes. The theme will be gentle underwater inspired sounds and various alien creatures moving and scuttling around the space.

Biography
Aja Ireland is an interdisciplinary sound and performance artist who creates immersive audience interactions and participatory experiences with over 10 years’ experience in producing and performing both nationally and internationally. After producing the sound design for artist Joey Holder for ‘Ophiux’, Aja went on to create an 8 channel spatial sound design score for ‘ADCREDO’ which toured across a series of exhibitions including Matt’s Gallery, London, and the 6th Athens Biennale. In 2018, Aja won The Oram Award funded by PRS Foundation celebrating innovative music production and released her debut album with Opal Tapes which received international press featured in WIRE, The Quietus and VICE Magazine.

Her work within the LGBTQ+ community running workshops in sound art in site specific locations such as the Nottingham caves. As an advocate of promoting and increasing the presence of women in electronic music, Aja has recently set up Queer Noise Club (a platform for female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists, musicians and performers in the form of live events) and has seen her work and performances carry throughout Europe to Brazil at such institutions as for Ableton, Huddersfield University, Loughborough University, Confetti Music Institute, Fine Arts Institute (Vienna) and Teatro do Bolhão (Portugal) with a focus in teaching LGBTQ+ and female/non-binary focused workshops such as The End of Gender, Sounds Queer? and ITOUS.

More about the Brewhouse Yard installation
Working in collaboration with fellow artists Joey Holder, Jake Moore, Paul Grossman and Ryan Heath; Aja Ireland and the team scanned costumes by Lu La Loop which is a British-made fashion and costume brand. The designer has created bespoke costumes using unique materials and kinetics, emulating the structures and movements of underwater organisms which the artists have scanned into build the terrain of the VR environments. This creates a fully immersive alien landscape inspired by human biology and underwater deep sea abyss.

The caves will be filled with Audio Visual Electro Luminescent phosphorus wire sculptures made by Annie Tadne, the thin copper wire coated in phosphor glows when alternating current is applied to it and will be controlled by a unique programme built and designed by Annie.

Projections of videos and 3D scans inside the cave will go along with special lighting to transform the textures of the caves to become fleshy and alive. Pink and purple lights will be placed around each part of the cave to give the illusion of being inside the human body. Some of the projections of visuals were developed from an IMPATV residency at the Islington Mill and others were created by artist Leila Duffy-Tetzlaff.

The installation will also include multi-speaker spatial surround sound using manipulated field recordings taken from the caves themselves. These are the product of many workshops in the Nottingham caves in which participants collected field recordings to transform them into different soundscapes. The theme will be gentle underwater inspired sounds and various alien creatures moving and scuttling around the space.

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