Multimedia artist Rachel Maclean, renowned for creating fantastical visions using green screen technology has moved into one of the busiest shopping centres in the UK, Bullring Birmingham. She is fully immersing herself in the city’s major retail destination and will not leave the building at all until she completes a brand new work in response to her surroundings and the people she meets.
Maclean joins Painter Tai Shan Schierenberg and performance artist and theatre-maker Bryony Kimmings who are spending time at West Bromwich Albion Football Club and Whittall Street Sexual Health Clinic respectively in order to create their own artwork. Each artist will be filmed for an individual documentary which will air as part of a new Channel 4 Arts strand, Artists in Residence (w/t) in which acclaimed artists are placed in unlikely settings to create work in response to what they find. The films will follow their creative process as they bring a fresh perspective to their surroundings.
Maclean, who is currently representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale and whose work has been described as, “deliberately lurid pop culture mash-ups that make for exhilarating, bewildering viewing,” has taken residence in a shop unit on Link Street in the Bullring and transformed it into a pop-up studio. She can be seen creating costumes and props on site – using materials sourced from and delivered to the shopping centre and she intends to complete every aspect of her work whilst in the unit from shooting through to editing the video. Her final work will be exhibited in the centre later in the summer.
Maclean has already enjoyed an inquisitive welcome as she sets to work. She says: “Living and working in Bullring will be a really interesting experience allowing me to reflect on an environment most of us are deeply familiar with. I aim for my work to draw on aspects of society that affect us all, and this project offers that in a way most artists could only dream of. I hope that my residency will encourage people to engage with me and my work, and vice versa. Art and artists are too often stereotyped as opaque and inscrutable, and this process will be the opposite of that.”
Tai Shan Schierenberg is spending time at West Bromwich Albion Football Club following the manager, team and fans during this year’s season whilst Bryony Kimmings will embed herself at the clinic run by the largest sexual health service in the UK, Umbrella, Birmingham and Solihull Sexual Health. She will create personalised performance pieces and installations which she will gift to some of the people she meets there.
All three films, which will document the creative process and response from locals in Birmingham, will air on Channel 4 in 2018. They reflect Head of Specialist Factual John Hay’s push to expand the channel’s distinctive ‘artist-authored documentary’ approach to arts programming.