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30 April 2019


Circuit is our young people’s group, open to anyone aged 18-25. Each year the group leads on creative projects in collaboration with Kettle’s Yard and Wysing Arts Centre. Pauline Chouraki, current Circuit member, shares her experience of their latest project, an alternative guide to the ARTIST ROOMS Louise Bourgeois exhibition below.

Circuit’s first project of 2019 was to produce an audio resource to accompany the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Kettle’s Yard. Our aim was to design a creative alternative to the traditional audio guide so we opted for a podcast-like structure combining various interviews, recordings and sound effects.

Given the complexity of Louise Bourgeois’ work, we wanted our resource to be accessible to a wide audience by putting together different viewpoints. Circuit, being a very diverse group of people, was a good place to start. Artists Lucy Steggals and Laura Hindmarsh guided us in ways to approach Louise Bourgeois’ work from a number of angles by exploring her drawings, written work and voice recordings. We then recorded our first impressions upon seeing the exhibition and interviewed curator Dr Amy Tobin to balance our comments with professional explanations. Later, we extracted audio recordings of Louise Bourgeois herself as we felt hearing her unique perspective was essential to gaining a better understanding of her creative process. Lastly, we interviewed children and teenagers who provided spontaneous, insightful comments about her art.

We were given the opportunity to record further audio at Wysing Arts Centre with the help of podcast artist Morgan Quaintance. To help visitors make sense of Louise Bourgeois’ Spider I, we chose to record her poem ‘Ode to my Mother’ (‘Ode à ma mère’). In addition, building on our previous project asking visitors to think about the relationship between sounds and paintings at the Richard Pousette-Dart: Beginnings exhibition, we recorded sound effects which we felt could be associated with her artworks.

After a great deal of editing, we adopted a four-section structure based on recurring themes (‘the spider’, ‘the pink room’, ‘I transform hate into love’, ‘Is that my shirt?’) in an effort to make our resource more accessible and interactive. Digital artist Dan Hett then worked his magic to build a structure for the digital interface, Circuit member Clarisse Pamplona designed the graphics, and this is how our alternative guide to Louise Bourgeois was born. Feedback was excellent and our resource was played at Kettle’s Yard LATE event inspired by Ana Mendieta and Mary Beth Edelson’s dinner party in honour of Louise Bourgeois. We could not have hoped for a better conclusion!

Click here or in the box below to listen to Circuit’s Alternative guide.

Click here to view a full screen version of Louise Bourgeois: An Alternative Guide.

Visitors listening to the Circuit resource at the Kettle’s Yard Late event, 2019. Photo: Jeroen Van Hautte