Words by Sinead Nunes, Editor
With just 2 weeks to go until Threshold V, we caught up with artist Laura Lomax to find out more about the scientifically-inspired work she’ll be exhibiting in the Baltic Triangle, and her love of Georges Méliès’ films.
What are you looking forward to most about Threshold V?
I’m really excited to see the range of work on show at the visual art exhibition. I’ve seen glimpses of the other art pieces and it’s an incredible selection this year; I feel really privileged to be among such fantastic artists.
The theme “Contrasting Geometries” is an interesting one – how does this relate to your practice?
I’m really interested in natural geometries. People seem to assume that symmetry and order are artificial when they’re found in nature all the time – crystals, fractals & oscillations for example. My piece for Threshold relates directly to this point; showing that it’s not just straight lines versus organic curves.
The world is becoming progressively digitised, so what interests you about Victorian science?
The real appeal of science in the Victorian era is that you can see how it works, everything is composed of mechanisms and moving parts – there’s a real hands-on, DIY aesthetic to it which feels like real invention and discovery. Early science also feels vaguely magical, especially the development of the moving image, which must have seemed very otherworldly – it was a time when amazing things seemed possible.
Your work for Threshold will be interactive – is this important for contemporary art in a festival setting (or perhaps in general)?
Interactive artworks encourage people to engage with them, and therefore you could argue they are more likely to consider what the artist is trying to say. For me, this seems to be a good thing in a festival environment, as people will walk in and expect to find something engaging.
For Threshold, Laura will be exhibiting a large Harmonograph; a kinetic sculpture that uses pendulums to draw geometric patterns based on natural oscillations, which the public can then use to create unique drawings during the festival. Laura will be supervising the operation of the machine, and the created artworks will be displayed online as well as in the space itself.
Despite its historically-based concept, outcomes from your work at the festival will be displayed online – tell us more.
I would like to document the drawings so that people can see what they created during the festival, it’s about creating a small legacy and humanising the artwork.
You have worked extensively in costume for film and theatre – what made you decide to concentrate on visual art at this point in your career?
Visual art is something that I’ve really wanted to do for a while, freed from the constraints of film and theatre you can work with lots of materials and different mediums, and really explore your ideas.
From your website it seems you’re very interested in early cinema – what are some of your favourite films and what do you love most about that era of film?
I adore the work of Georges Méliès, specifically Le Voyage dans la Lune, because of the wonderfully surreal imagery and the innovative special effects he developed – you really get the feeling everything is an optical illusion. The theatricality of the set, costumes, lighting and acting, as the young medium evolved from its much older counterpart, is also really noticeable, and has been really inspirational in shaping my own film work like ‘Daydream’ – the recent music video collaboration between Silent Cities & Natalie McCool that I directed.
What was the last exhibition you went to see in Liverpool and what did you think?
A Needle Walks into a Haystack at the Bluecoat, specifically the section devoted to James McNeill Whistler – the way that light and space were transformed by a simple muslin velarium was really powerful.
Find out more about Laura and her work at www.lauralomaxdesign.com
Threshold V takes place from 27 – 29 March 2015. You can buy a wristband to the festival at thresholdfestival.co.uk