• Introduction: Elsebeth Jørgensen
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  • Press Release: Deveron Arts



    Deveron Arts, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 2005-06

    For the last two years artist Elsebeth Jørgensen has been traveling round, photographing empty, closed down and converted cinemas. Cinemagic Tour is a long-term project, which contains various research processes and presentations through photographs, installations, publications, websites and lectures. When Elsebeth was invited to do a site-related project at Deveron Arts she immediately responded to the fact that Huntly once had a lively cinema culture, which now has almost disappeared.

    With the advent of the final demolition of the Picture House in Huntly, this project initiates thoughts about collective visual memory and the transformation of urban landscape and social life. The artist puts Huntly on a cinematic map, as lots of these picture houses across the world are being demolished or at best converted into something else. Elsebeth was the first person in 20 years to be allowed inside Huntly’s crumbling former Picture House in order to take photographs. She wanted to “bring out” images from this hermetically sealed cinema. To let people in Huntly know about the inner secrets of the present building. After negotiations with the Aberdeenshire Council she was allowed to enter and photograph the Picture House alone on her own risk. This happened the 10th February 2006. The artist’s photo session became a kind of street performance with a joiner from the council standing outside the cinema. For the second visit the 22nd February 2006 she was allowed to enter again. While in there, she found a number of fascinating items, which had been left, to rot in the old building which is likely to be demolished soon.
    During her research in Huntly from November 2005 – April 2006, Elsebeth found people who once worked in the picture house, and they got involved in her project. She also arranged cinema evenings with lectures and film screenings in The Stewart’s Hall to initiate discussion about the meaning of cinema in relation to Huntly’s local life and memory.

    The artist will conclude this Huntly leg of her Cinemagic Tour in an exhibition to be held over three Huntly venues on Thursday 27th April 2006:

    * 6.30 pm Brander Museum – Opening of Exhibition
    Installation of Huntly Picture House Artefacts and Memorabilia. (Until 19th August 2006)

    * 7.30 pm The Stewart’s Hall
    Unveiling of Images Reception

    * 9.00 pm Gordon Street
    Projection onto former Huntly Picture House

    The show opens with an installation of Huntly Picture House Artefacts and Memorabilia at the Brander Museum. As a collaboration between the artist and Aberdeenshire Heritage the objects from the former Picture House have been transferred, registered and put on display at the local Brander Museum who now will become custodians to the objects.

    Next there will be a reception of unveiling the images from inside the cinema at the town’s Stewart’s Hall. Here there is now a chance to witness what has become of what was once a vibrant part of the community. This project has sparked a great deal of interest and fond memories particularly among older generations in Huntly. Many of whom were delighted to see themselves on film when the former projectionist from the cinema screened a film of the 1953 Huntly Gala at Elsebeth’s last Cinemagic event on March 23rd. The projectionist has played an important part in Elsebeth’s research over the past 4 months and he will be at the Unveiling of Images Reception with more stories from his years at the cinema in Huntly. Also a pianist will perform cinema music.

    The final event of the evening will turn the old Picture House on Gordon Street inside out.
    A projection of images from inside the building will be screened onto the boarded up frontage, so that exhibition goers and passers by will finally see what lies behind the walls, as if the doors have been opened one last time.

    Cinemagic Tour: Scenes from an Imaginary Place is about the meaning of storytelling, imagination and visual memory in relation to special architectural sites. Collected local archive material is mixed with the artists’ own documentation without attempting to represent the history of Huntly within the idea of truth. The focus is more about aspects of the tradition of oral storytelling and constructions of mixed reality. Her approach contains both local and global concerns. For her as a traveling artist, the town Huntly with its cinema is a special site, but also a site like anywhere else. As such it is a station in her Cinemagic Tour. Finally: it is a reflection of people’s storytelling what essentially this montage of Huntly’s cinematic past will be, - developed in collaboration with local people but edited and presented from a traveler’s point of view.

    Supported by: Scottish Arts Council, Rural Challenge Fund, The Danish Arts Council’s Committee for International Visual Art
    Deveron Arts I The Studio I Brander Building I The Square I Huntly I AB54 8BR I Scotland I deveronarts@aol.com I www.deveron-arts.com I www.mappingmemory.net