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Artist finds patterns in history


Fragments of a 104-year-old organ from a church in Gateshead form part of an unusual exhibition opening next month.

Fine artist Louise Mackenzie, who graduated from Newcastle University last year, will be taking what was once the beating heart of a Methodist church and recreating the energy of that community through sound, social media and sculpture.

Her first solo exhibition, transformation content, opens with a live performance in Ryton Methodist Church on 4 March 2014 where she will explore the relationship between human social behaviour and the scientific construct of entropy.

Taking the concept of community as a social group built around common beliefs, shared memories, songs and stories, Ms Mackenzie looks at how this is expressed within contemporary society.

“I’m interested in exploring what it means to be human,” says Ms Mackenzie, whose on-going work explores the dialogue between art and science. “Through my work I’m attempting to understand why we are compelled to make, discover and progress rather than simply to exist.”

For this project, she took dust from the old planks of wood that once held organ pipes and imprinted it onto a cotton sheet donated by the widow of the organist at the former Robert Young Memorial Church in Crawcrook, Gateshead.

The circular holes in these planks created a pattern, which formed the basis for a musical score transcribed from the dust print and arranged for the organ. Each circular shape was colour-coded as a specific note depending on its position on the plank and the length of each note is determined by its size.

Winner of the New Graduate Award at Synthesis, Manchester Science Festival 2013, Mackenzie’s experimental, research-based practice explores human evolution, past, present and future: from the origin of the species through social and cultural evolution to genetic manipulation and an unknown post-human future.

The musical composition, Entropy, is a collaboration between musicians from Newcastle University, with the score based on the colour-coded system devised by Ms Mackenzie. It will be recorded in Gateshead, broadcast on at 12.30 each day, and played live in the Holy Biscuit Gallery in Newcastle throughout the exhibition.

The gallery will also be hosting a series of workshops with the former Crawcrook church congregation and local schools, where participants will contribute to a social media site as an on-going part of the work.

The exhibition transformation content – a displacement of energy over 104 years, will run from 7 March until 11 April 2014 at the Holy Biscuit Gallery, Newcastle, NE2 1YH. There will also be an artist’s talk and discussion evening on 13 March from 7-9pm with contributions from Newcastle and Durham Universities and Tufts University, USA.

Transformation content is supported by Arts Council England, Newcastle University, Durham University, The Methodist Church of Great Britain and

For more information about the exhibition, contact or 0191 4476811.

published on: 3 March 2014