Gillian Wearing's windows, Laurie Anderson's music for dogs and Lou Reed's guitars to feature in Brighton Festival 2016

By Ben Miller | 17 February 2016

A window on the world, Lou Reed's guitar feedback and sculpted adverts for luxury property will all feel at home at this year's Brighton Festival, say its guest curators

A photo of a view of New York in the US created as part of Gillian Wearing's Brighton Festival art
Gillian Wearing - Your Views, New York, USA, by Albert Moya© Brighton Festival
Gillian Wearing says she wants people to show the world the view from their windows in a “harmonious gesture” of a film project this summer, offering anyone an invite to send in a short clip of their curtains opening, as if at the beginning of a stage play.

The 1997 Turner Prize winner will premiere the resulting work at HOUSE, the visual arts festival running alongside this year's Brighton Festival, which launched today under the direction of Laurie Anderson, who will debut a concert for dogs as part of the programme.

“When you read the location before you see the individual view the expectation is always different,” says Wearing.

"That is one of the incredible aspects about the contributions. It's been so amazing seeing the different views people have, from a brick wall to a seascape.”

Although the Brighton Festival is now in its 50th year, HOUSE is a newer proposition, enjoying its eight edition in 2016.

A picture of the artwork Capital Growth by Felicity Hammond as part of the Brighton Festival
Felicity Hammond, Capital Growth (2015). C-type print © Felicity Hammond
Wearing’s exhibition and installation will be shown at the University of Brighton’s galleries, while parallel commissions across the city include Felicity Hammond’s Show Room: The Language of Living, in which the artist poses as a luxury property-buyer and turns digitally-manipulated billboard and brochure images into beautiful sculptural objects. She sees the environment as “somewhere between the archaic and futuristic, luxury and decay.”

Elsewhere, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell will lead a community drawing project at a city library, and Thompson Hall - a colourist who is part of Pallant House’s Outside In platform - will create a new work at the Grade I-listed Regency Town House.

A picture of artist Thompson Hall's colourful painting of The SSE Hydro Building, Glasgow
Thompson Hall, The SSE Hydro Building, Glasgow (2015)© Thompson Hall
All of the artists are responding to the theme of Home – a “sense of place and what it means for us”, says Curator Celia Davies.

“For some, ‘Home’ is just a physical dwelling,” she explains. “For others it signifies where we root our daily lives, or a direct reflection of our identity.

“Home can also be a concept, a locator in our mindset that can make us feel secure, or at times uneasy.”

Curator Laurie Anderson on the Brighton Festival 2016

A photo of artist Laurie Anderson in profile as part of her being curator of the Brighton Festival
© Tim Knox
“I love the theme – maybe because I’m a working musician and often on the road, the idea of home is pretty appealing. It’s also a great idea for a festival, trying to find out who and where you are.

It’s a pretty amazing collection of work. We’ll be doing a lot of new things in the Festival: one is a collaboration with Nik Bärtsch and Eivind Aarset. They are incredible musicians and we’ve played together once before.

It’s going to be like a song conversation. Imagine walking through a piece of music with people you really like and we get to play it and kind of think about it and talk about it at the same time. It’s going to be a blast.

Slideshow is about an attempt to describe several places I’ve been in my life and what they might have in common. This is a brand new piece so I can’t tell you that much about it. It’s going to be a surprise to me too.

I’m so curious who is going to show up [to the concert for dogs]. We’ll be playing things that are kind of in their range - although they hear very well across the spectrum - so we’re going to see what happens.

A photo of Laurie Anderson and her dog, pictured as part of the Brighton Festival 2016
© Courtesy Brighton Festival
Heart of a Dog is full of stories about how you make a story. It’s nominally a film about me and my dog, but really it’s’s about love and language, I guess. I hope people like it.

I like to make a really big, fun, interesting playing field and not predict what people are going to get from of it. It’s so different for each person. I’m often really surprised when people tell me what they’ve got from my work, and then I think that’s really interesting and brilliant...but that had really nothing to do with the work I was doing.

It’s your interpretation, so I guess that’s what I hope...that people use it to go places themselves.

[For the premiere of Lou Reed’s Drones] We’re going to be doing a really exciting installation plus sort of ‘improv site’. It’s based on Lou Reed’s feedback work - he worked with guitars and the incredible harmonics and sound structures that happen when you use feedback.

His guitar tech, Stewart Hurwood, will be doing it with Lou’s guitars and Lou’s it’s kind of as close to Lou’s music as we can get these days. It’s a very hypnotic, beautiful sound – I think people are really going to like it.

We’re inviting musicians to come and do improvisations with it as well - that is really fun - so I hope people get a chance to come by and play. You could improvise any way you want really, you could come and do some drawings or pottery. I’s a bit messy.

Brighton Festival is so big and sprawling and exciting and there are so many different things going on. It really has a kind of celebratory, crazy, art party feel to it.

I also love the chance to meet other artists and hang out with them. It’s a free for all so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Three more places to find festivals in this year

, Plymouth
The Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2016 has a theme of Frontiers: Expanding Musical Imagination. It aims to showcase extraordinary new technologies and approaches to composition and performance, pushing the boundaries of music and promoting widening participation in the art of creating music. February 26-28 2016.

Brighton Science Festival
Brighton Science Festival started ten years ago, because… well, because everyone needs a science festival. It’s the best way to discover where we came from, deal with where we are and debate where we might go in the future. - See more at:
Started ten years ago, because "everyone needs a science festival", this multi-venue festival is particularly aimed at those aged between 12 and 14. Until February 28 2016.

, Livingston
Terrible Consequences will feature special performances as part of the 2016 Festival of Museums. Firefly Theatre tell tales of the terrible consequences of accidents with oil lamps, while Dr Bunhead ensures that the show goes with a bang. Crafts and demonstrations will also throw light on the murky world of the paraffin lamp. May 14-15 2016.
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