Presented in partnership with Tramway and now open, Human Threads is a large-scale, multi-sensory exhibition curated by Edinburgh-based organisation Artlink.
Conceived as an accessible, creative experience informed by individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities, the exhibition takes the form of an interactive landscape which invites audiences on a journey of light, sound, touch and smell.
The exhibition takes the form of a series of sensory experiences, that include a huge silk sail which sways softly, changing pattern and shape, and small ‘peep show’ boxes containing colourful kinetic experiences for a single viewer. An analogue projector, which is a light shone through a huge glass vessel, projects mysterious ever-shifting forms. A playful tower emits light, smoke and bubbles to mark the passing of time while a giant ramp translates sound into vibration, a gathering place where noise is made physical. Each artwork offers a new encounter and is informed by the idea that nothing expresses our common humanity more than our embodied, sensory encounters with the world.
Participating artist Laura Aldridge said, “In these dark times it is very necessary to be open to changing perception, connecting to different forms of creativity that will make us all feel good, better on the inside; more alive, kinder, compassionate and full of empathy. More able to be in this together.”
For over two decades, Artlink has pioneered the use of contemporary arts practice as a form of collaborative exploration with partner Cherry Road Learning Centre in Midlothian, Scotland. Artlink paired artists and thinkers with individuals within a care setting over a sustained period, creating the conditions for new ideas and influences to radiate from people with profound and multiple developmental disabilities and their carers.
In 2015, Artlink and partners began to devise a large-scale exhibition that would bring these insights and sensibilities to a broad and diverse public—an exhibition that would celebrate our common threads, making connections between people with complex disabilities and the wider world.
Artlink Curators Nicola White and Alison Stirling said “To bring this way of working into the public realm for the first time and on this scale is a wonderful opportunity for us and all who have collaborated on its development over the years.”
The immense scale of Tramway 2 has allowed the team to devise an experience ambitious in size and accessible to the widest range of people. Throughout the run of the exhibition performances and happenings will animate the space – some scheduled, others improvised – but all devised to deepen the experience of the installation for visitors.
Performing artists will include renowned musicians such as Red Note Ensemble to immersive experiences such as a surround sound Gong Bath by Daniel Padden. Details will be announced via tramway.org through the course of the exhibition.
Artworks included in Human Threads, which runs until 28th Aug 2022 with free entry, are by Matthew Ronay, Laura Aldridge & Lauren Gault, Adam Putnam, Wendy Jacob, Laura Spring & Claire Barclay.