Fashion, art and music come together... 150 feet up!
Titan: a crane is a bridge
Overcoming my fear of heights was made easier by the gloriously sunny day that we enjoyed as we rose 150ft above the River Clyde to the top of the Titan Crane. We had ventured skyward to experience Michael Begg's original soundscape installation for Sonica, presented by Cryptic Glasgow.
I hadn't realised how squeamish I would be until I was standing on the open gantry on my first ascent, some years ago. This time, I knew what to expect, but that didn't allay my fears.
Interestingly, the soundscape artist, Begg, created the work in response to his own anxiety:
"Like so many of us, `I seem to live my life in an increasing state of anxiety. When I first climbed the Titan, and hear the wind whining through the straining cables, and felt the steel vibrate with all that taut potential, I felt like this was the articulation of my inner anxiety."
Way up there, I heard the perfect echo of Michael's experience...
Michael captures the scale of this behemoth of industry and its interaction with the unforgiving Scottish elements beautifully, in a haunting work situated in the wheelhouse of the crane. Combining field recordings, constructed instruments and the steel and wire vibrations of the structure itself, Begg creates an electronic euphony that both "enfolds and erodes" these raw elements.
Knowing we were ascending this structure on a bright but chilly late October day, and that the flooring was essentially an open metal grid, I had to select my outfit carefully - especially the footwear! I wanted something dramatic - a ballgown! A tulle petticoat skirt! But inspiration seized me as I considered my new, top-to-toe Zara look - it matched the structure and, accidentally, the branding of the event! When you're hot, you're hot!
Although the OTK boots are high heeled, they are block heels, and they coped beautifully with the floor's construction. The wool outsized coat was perfect for keeping the chill out and the dress, well, at least it had sleeves when I posed for these pictures.
Taking a moment to enjoy the views up and down the River Clyde, calls forth the river's industrial past. Scarred as it is from the years of shipbuilding that forged a world-renowned industry, the recovery and regeneration of the city and it's riverfront has been stutteringly slow and severely lacking in strategic planning. Our great city of Glasgow deserves better.
The architecture student in me can't help but be inspired and vaguely obsessed by the patterns and shadow-play that the trusses create on such rare, sunny days. That's another thing about Glasgow - never forget to look up!
Having felt a "moment of repose" in the wheelhouse (above right), the sound artist descended from the Titan feeling "a little stronger" than before his ascent. In this work, he attempts to generate a similar response in his audience. He observes: "Any anxiety is diminished at the point it is accurately described or made manifest, and so it was here".
Having made it across the void (without looking down) and into the wheelhouse, I too felt relieved of my own anxieties. And Michael Begg's haunting soundscape inside made the experience well worthwhile.