Now open within the sky gallery spaces at Monocle Man Galleries, operated by curated by Kit Boyd and Lynx Iuga, The Song of the Selkie is a collaborative exhibition featuring six visual artists and the voice of Electric Monday (perhaps best known in art review circles for formerly running the excellent Sim Quarterly region and its immersive installations) that is, I gather, the first under to be opened under the umbrella title of Voice and Art.
The idea – as indicated by the umbrella title – is to bring together images and voice / music in a combined experience married to a story. However, the twist is that while each of the participating artists knows the theme of the exhibition, they are unaware of the other images being produced for the exhibition.
For The Song of the Selkie, the exhibition takes as its theme the legend of the selkie, as brought to us through the words and music for Dutch alternative metal-gothic rock group Blackbriar, and featured on their first album The Cause of Shipwreck (April 2021). For those unfamiliar with them, selkies are mythological beings capable of Therianthropy (shape-shifting). In this case from seal to human and back by shedding / re-wearing their pelt, whilst tales of selkie often focus on female selkies being coerced into relationships with men by the latter stealing their pelts whilst they are in human form, thus trapping them.
This is the tale presented in the exhibition, with the six artists – Hilaire Beaumont, Kit Boyd, John Garrison, Lynx Iuga, Tresore Prada and Evie Ravens – each presenting what is a single frame of the story, from a man discovering a selkie in her human form through his theft of her pelt to the eventual tragedy that arises from stolen / lost love. Each image is accompanied by a giver in the form of an electronic tablet that provides a biography of the artist when touched.
A HUD offered to visitors as they enter the hall from the landing point teleport disk provides the voice element of the exhibition – lines from the Blackbriar song read by Electric Monday. Use of the HUD is simple: attach it from inventory, then view the first image in the exhibition (Lynx Iuga) before click “image 1” on the HUD. After a pause, a recording to Electric reading lines from the song will be played back; when you have heard them and finished studying the first image, click the HUD image again to turn off the recording before moving to the next image in the gallery, and repeat with the HUD, this time clicking “image 2”, then repeat through the remaining images / recordings.
The final touches to the exhibition come in the hall in which it is being staged. Within its wood interior and heavy beams, the hall carries with it a sense of it having a Celtic / Norse edge, in keeping with the origin of selkie mythology. This is increased by the mail box (inviting artists to participate in the next story to drop their details into it) that rises from the middle of the floor, appearing to be some latter-day Mjölnir awaiting the return of its wielder. Finally, at the far end of the hall relative to the landing point, a large board will offer visitors to hear Blackbriar’s song via You Tube.
Small and engaging, Song of the Selkie presents an interesting audio-visual exhibition.
Monocle Man Galleries (Flying Fortress, rated Adult)