Niall McCallum (He/Him)
My practice aims to engage the everyday experience of navigating subjectivity. Through my work I attempt to create spaces for exchange, sharing and collaboration as a means to highlight the vital nature of mutual interdependence and solidarity. These ‘spaces’ invite the participant to consider how space itself could be utilised as a collaborative construct which facilitates sociality and encourages connectivity.
In my current research I have been investigating the impact that individualization has on social interaction within the context of the history of human reliance on cooperation. In the context of my studio practice, this has manifested into a study of the cooperative and community driven nature of Estonian swinging culture, looking specifically at village swing sites as social spaces which encourage shared experience and Northern Estonian swing-songs (kiigelaul) as rhythmical collaborative devices.
“I would join you on your swing (responding)” 2021
sound installation, 8m 1s
Edited by Matthew McGeown
The Briggait 1973 Hall
Shown here at The Briggait 1873 Hall as part of “The Alternative Degree Show Festival: Part 1” this field recording responds to “Tandem (kiik)” which was shown simultaneously in Mid-Wharf Art & Design (MAaD). Collectively, the work uses interpretations of the motion of swinging in an attempt to question the duality of experience and non-identicality of environment in collaboration.
“I would join you on your swing (responding)” is an 8-minute-long auditory interpretation of the ascension and descension of a swinging motion. The sound moves from speaker-to-speaker in an attempt to replicate the sonic experience of swinging back and forth. The title “I would join you on your swing” is a translation from Estonian of the first line of the song “Kiigelaul”, a ‘swing-song’ which ascends and descends in melody and was traditionally sang while swinging. The song acts as a collaborative device to aid the swingers in keeping their rhythm and functions under a duet of call & response.
Best experienced with headphones or stereo sound system.
“One, Two, 3: a-Musical” 2020
The Gardeners Bothy, Studio Pavillion at House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
Birch ply, steel bar, rubber mallets, contact microphones, dimensions variable
“One, Two, 3: a-Musical” aims to engage with the audience in juxtaposing the instinctive intentionality in musical interpretation and activity with the goal-driven nature of language as a communicative medium. The work explores the linguistic character and perceived meaning of music through the autonomous nature of the elements which make up its form.
The tuning fork is used as a paradoxical symbol which embodies both the autonomous nature of the individual elements which which make up musical form and the self-referential character of music more generally in the sense that it emits a ‘pure tone’ which is only pure in reference to tone itself but is at the same time a referential tool paramount to the development of modern music.
“Scaffold Project Space” 2019 – Present
A crowd-funded, DIY project space located in a garage in North Belfast built as a space for collaboration and creative exchange through exhibition making processes.
‘For lack of better voice’ – July 2019
Luke McClean, Simon Shim Sutcliffe, Niall McCallum
‘Synaptic Transmission’ – September 2019
Danny Mulvenna, Sophie Thompson
‘Garage Song’ – February 2020
“Tandem (kiik)” 2021
round pole swing set w/steel brackets, grass, plywood, steel, pine, carriage bolts.
Mid-Wharf Art and Design (MAaD)
Shown here at Mid-Wharf Art & Design (MAaD) as part of “The Alternative Degree Show Festival: Part 1“, The work aims to inspire cooperative engagement and invites the participants to become collaborators in each other’s experience of the work.
“Tandem (kiik)” 2021 is a tandem adapter which attaches onto any standard park swing. “Kiik” is the Estonian word for swing and in this context is used to refer to the large village swings of rural Estonia which can hold numerous people at a time swinging collaboratively. The work functions under the premise that another person must join you on the swing for it to work. In this sense, your experience of the work in its full capacity is reliant on another and vice versa.