Acetate Steps – Arena Studio and Gallery (Liverpool)

Acetate Steps (In Memory of the Mix Tape) was a giant piece of installation art by artists Carol Ramsay, Pamela Sullivan and Iain Yell put together in Arena Studios.  As part of the North West Visual Arts Open Festival, the installation coincided with an open studio that gave a rare chance to see into the minds of the creative soul of Liverpool.

The installation itself was a joy to behold.  It was said to be a “celebration and a reinvention of the phenomena of the cassette tape” according to Ramsay and there is no better way of describing it.  Tape spool filled the room and covered the ceilings as if spun by a vintage inclined spider while being constantly sound-tracked by the sounds of various bands and singers all mixed together by artist Iain Yell.

Covering the walls were various slogans about why the age of the mix-cassette tape was so special and it doesn’t take much convincing to mourn with them the loss of such a personal act in this cold, digital age.  In many ways the installation acted as a small time capsule that the viewer could lose themselves in and getting caught up in the spools of tape was highly encouraged as well as fun.

Adventuring into the studio spaces of the artists was equally as exciting.  Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to understand an artist simply through their work.  Open studios should happen more often, especially this studio, as they give a glimpse of the artists that really doesn’t always come across through just their work.  The artwork on display throughout the studio was all of course sublime (especially Ramsay who’s work based on music and butterflies deserves high praise) but it was looking at the postcards and nick knacks the artists had chosen to put in their space that gave the night a real personal and honest touch.

Though no events are currently planned at Arena Gallery, after the success and quiet brilliance of Acetate Steps and the open studio at Arena on the 2nd of March, it’s something that they and other galleries in Liverpool should consider doing more of.

Adam Scovell

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