Shadowed Spaces

06–15 Jul 2007
Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen; Bell Street Car Park , Dundee; The old public library in Easterhouse, Easterhouse; A concrete walkway ending in mid air, Newcastle; The Megastructure, Cumbernauld; The former Abbeyhill Station, Edinburgh

There exist places in our towns and cities that are created not by design, but by circumstance. Shadowed Spaces was a tour of overlooked, bypassed and unconsidered nooks and crannies with 3 musicians; Sean Meehan, Ikuro Takahashi,Tamio Shiraishi and one Psychogeographer; Denis Wood.

They offer respites from society and routine. They are found by necessity, by those driven by desire, more than destination. Shadowed Spaces is a tour of nooks and crannies like these, in your towns and cities: forgotten steps that lead nowhere, alleyways, old railway tunnels. We’ll place musical performances in these spaces that will hopefully help us to think about the continued need for a sense of privacy in public.

What we said at the time:

In the mid 70’s academic and (amongst other things) the architecture critic of The Village Voice, Michael Sorkin collected an influential series of essays under the title ‘Indefensible Space’. In it, he discussed the move towards an approach to town planning that attempted to design-out spaces in which furtive activities could be fostered; a kind of architecture of security, you might say.

At the same time, and I suppose gloriously counter to this argument, Denis Wood (then a recently graduated geographer, or more particularly psychogeographer) wrote an impassioned essay, titled ‘Shadowed Spaces’. It was an ardent and poetic defense of our need to feel a sense of privacy in public, and the subsequent need for places where one might take refuge, or engage in transgressions which we may be unwilling to share with a wider public, but which are important to our lives and development, to our needs and desires.

The essay Shadowed Spaces has never been published, but exists in a sort of parallel way to the kinds of spaces it discusses, handed around and sought out by people who maybe need to find it. And it’s served as a loose inspiration to a clutch of artists and musicians who are also drawn to these kinds of spaces, and to a desire to perform there, in a kind of artistic parallel to that need for privacy in public: ‘cause isn’t a musical performance just that, a private thing done publicly?

Our tour brings together 3 incredible experimental musicians from the USA and Japan, as well as Denis Wood, and takes them to some of our favourite, secret spaces, where collectively perhaps we can share in something hidden from the eyes of those keepers of the norm.

For more info about Denis Wood check out Unmappable, a film directed by Diane Hodson and Jasmine Luoma which features 8mm footage shot on the tour by Matt Lloyd.

Shadowed Spaces was previewed in the Dundee Courier here, and was reviewed by Neil Cooper for Map magazine here, Euan Andrews for PlanB here,  Andy Hamilton for the Wire here and by Andrew Eaton for the Scotsman here


Supported by Scottish Arts Council Lottery Funded, Tune Up, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Thanks to Kenny Luke, Bill Farquhar, Iain McKenzie and Dorothy Anderson at Aberdeen City Council, Ian Anderson at Grampian Police Force, Emily Dewhurst, Lorna Mackenzie and Lindsay Cox at Dundee City Council, Graeme Anderson at Tayside Police, Jackie Shearer and James Dean at GEAC, Marcus Shortreed at Glasgow City Council, Martin Dickson at North Lanarkshire Council, Ed Robson at Cumbernauld Theatre, Ben Drew, Analogue Books, Sarah McGill at Charles White, David Francis at Edinburgh City Council, Clive Gillman and Jan McTaggart at DCA, Stuart Thomas at the SAC and Lisa Whytock at Active Events.