Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sounds like Bank

I'm pleased to say I've managed to hook back up with the Birmingham arts scene a little since returning home, and last week I spent a day inside the atmospheric Municipal Bank at the end of Broad Street (behind the bus stops over the road from Centenary Square).

I'm working with artist Elly Clarke who is the mastermind behind the current FRAME_ exhibition across Birmingham (ends tomorrow - Feb17th) which is billed as "Splendid art in places you already go to".

Dan Auluk in the FRAME_ Exhibition
'Why mention money when we're looking at art?'
Installed at The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre.

Earlier in the day I met musician and recording buddy for the project Ross Abatis, and we later met the Berlin/Birmingham based artist in Carluccio's for a quick chat and some tasty pasta (most of mine - I'm not sure if it's my aging state, the cold, or just a general ineptitude for eating - went all over the place).

Anyway... after a quick chat we went to meet some previous employees of the bank and set up our recording kit. The bank is cold inside, it's been empty for 10 years and we were freezing. The main chamber has a wonderful echo to it though, and downstairs are a series of rooms and passages leading to the vault.

Inside the vault is row upon row of safety boxes. It's quite striking, and we managed to record some interesting stories from the employees about guns, death, dancing and how the safety boxes were used to store not just cash, but other oddities... like glass eyes.

The recordings will eventually become a series of stories that visitors can listen to as they move about the bank in an art show in march called "Thrift Radiates Happiness". The title of the show comes from an inscription cut into the ornate roof of the building.

Banking idealism? Financial slogans? Weirdness? Check out some of these...

"Lion power" - Harris Bank
"Get more. That’s the point" - Key Point Credit Union
"Be bullish" - Merrill Lynch
"The power of yes" - First Hawaiian Bank
"Unbank yourself" - SkyOne FCU

If your wondering where I'm getting all this from go here.

To finish, I thought this might be appropriate - here's Ross Abatis playing "Abundance"


"Thrift Radiates Happiness"
Opens Thursday March 14th and runs until Sunday March 17th

Artists include Elly Clarke, Spartacus Chetwynd, Tom Crawford, Ellie Harrison, Sparrow+Castice, Julie Tsang, Nicole Wilson, Mary Yacoob and Caitlin Griffiths (with whom I helped create this voice-swap video a while ago).

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