A popular week-long contemporary art festival is returning to Perth for a second year this weekend, and it will take place across eighteen venues in the region from 24th – 31st March.
Organised by Culture PK – Perth’s independent arts and culture trust – Platform Festival celebrates the best of the area’s artists, makers and creative industries while encouraging the artists and audiences to push their creative boundaries through collaboration, participation and trying something new or different.
This year, Platform Festival will be showcasing a week of exhibitions, performances, music, talks and workshops throughout Perth and Kinross.
One of the exhibitions running throughout the entire festival is by Perth-based artist, Susie Johnston. Susie has created new sculptures using unwanted and discarded waste materials found at the management site of the Binn Group on Shore Road.
The visual artist’s motivation behind making the work comes from her belief in challenging the model of ‘make, use, dispose’ – to instead promote a model of ‘make, use, reuse, and reuse again’.
To create her sculptures, Susie has used a series of techniques such as mig welding, casting, stitching and building.
Speaking about her upcoming exhibition – which will be visible outside Binn Group’s site on Shore Road – Susie said: “I feel both excited and grateful to be part of this year’s Platform 2018 Festival. For me, the past two months of being based at the Binn Group on Shore Road has been one of the highlights for me.
“Rummaging around the waste to find nuggets of discarded objects never ceased to be exciting for me and I hope it will bring some interest to those who come along to see the work. When I was going through the materials, I kept thinking what these might become or how I would tease meaning from them. All of the metals used were found at the Binn Group site and it was important to me that this project was entirely based in Perth within the community I live and work.
“I’m always drawn to a variety of ‘stuff’ for my creative outcomes but I have never worked on a solely recycled material project with such a strong connection to challenging a linear economy model of buy, use and dispose of. I first approached the Binn Group about this in 2017 and they were very excited about the idea, and offered me a work space, equipment and full access to waste materials – as well as support from their amazing team at Shore Road and the Eco Park.
“When the Platform 2018 call for proposals was announced, I decided it would be a great opportunity to learn how to weld using the steel waste from Binn Group. So, when the proposal was accepted I had to learn from scratch! All of the metals used were found at the Binn Group site and it was important to me that this project was entirely based in Perth within the community I live and work.”
Susie’s work is part of a wide range of fantastic art and cultural exhibitions and events being staged at the festival throughout the week. And while she hopes people will enjoy her sculptures, she wants the people of Perth to make a point of getting round to see everything on offer during this year’s Platform Festival.
She added: “My suggestion would be grab a Platform catalogue from the galleries, library, shops or cafés where they can be found and have a good look at everything that’s going on! I’m sure there will be something on offer that will interest you at this year’s festival.”
Other highlights to look out for during this year’s Platform Festival include poetry, fine art and film. Perth poet Jim Mackintosh – famously the first ever poet in residence at a Scottish football club when he became St. Johnstone’s official club poet – will be Platform’s poet in residence too, and will be found travelling all of the bus routes of Perthshire to engage with passengers.
During these bus journeys, he will be encouraging people to write their own poems based on their travels and using text, e-mail and even scraps of paper to persuade them to submit their words so that they can be pulled together and displayed. Jim will also be hosting an open-mic night at AK Bell Library on March 27th – you can find out more here – where he’ll be joined by two more Perthshire poets, Jon Plunkett and Andy Jackson.
If fine art is your fancy, then you’ll want to check out Frank To at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. Frank is a lecturer at Perth College UHI and his exhibition – Encounters of the Other Kind – is all about stepping into the unknown and the sensation of experiencing something daring and unfamiliar.
Inspired by his research of the Perth Museum & Art Gallery permanent collection, this exhibition will include original large drawings by Frank as well as a new copper-plate gunpowder work for the collection.
And one of the favourites from last year’s Platform Festival will return with a unique film premiere on the 2012 and 2015 Comrie floods. Helen McCrorie – a resident of the village – has based her film on research conducted during the 2017 Festival and has collaborated with the community of Comrie to produce the piece.
She was inspired by the moving stories of family photographs that were lost in local floods, and wanted to ask people; how do we preserve our most precious memories and what is really work keeping? What becomes of personal and local histories in the digital age?
The film will premiere at Perth Playhouse on Saturday 24th March from 5PM, and the Earnsong Community Choir will be in attendance, performing music about rivers and memories throughout the evening. The Comrie-based choir will be led by Christine Kydd, Irene Railley and Adelaide Carlow – with Dr. Sarah Neely of Stirling University coming along as a special guest speaker too.
You can find full details on this year's Platform Festival programme here.