• Tonight, 18 March, Hinterland marks the official launch of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture with a large scale public art event at St Peter’s seminary, presenting a key highlight of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
• Following the official opening in Helensburgh by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP, Angus Farquhar Creative Director of NVA, David Kinniburgh Deputy Provost Argyll & Bute Council and David Dunbar PPRIAS and Chair of the Festival of Architecture, audiences will be transported to the semi ancient woodland of Kilmahew to discover St Peter’s Seminary at Hinterland.
• Local residents were among the first to rediscover the site and witness its transformation at a special preview yesterday evening (17 March).
• Almost 50 years to the day since the seminary opened, Glasgow based public art charity NVA presents Hinterland, the inaugural public art event in the ambitious long term plans to reclaim the future of this world-renowned architectural masterpiece.
NVA’s much anticipated Hinterland will subtly re-animate one of Scotland’s most iconic 20th century buildings with monochromatic light installations, projection and a specially commissioned work by composer Rory Boyle, performed by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, trumpeter Bede Williams and percussionist Tom Lowe from the University of St Andrews.
Hinterland offers capacity audiences the opportunity to rediscover the building’s powerfully exposed superstructure and unique architectural features for the first time in 30 years to coincide with the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. This is an important step in the journey towards the planned transformation to create one of the UK’s most significant new cultural venues due to open in 2018.
Over sixty people have volunteered to help deliver the event; Sara Melville from Glasgow who helped to create one of the installations in the woodland with our event partners ACT (Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust) said, “It was a great few days out in the sunshine! With lovely people using natural materials to create some features in the amazing landscape of Kilmahew.”
NVA offered a range of mentorships for those interested in developing their skills in design, music and event production. This gave the mentees an opportunity to work alongside key creative and technical staff to gain experience and insight in to what is involved in delivering major public art.
Ruari Lambert, who is in a mentoring partnership with NVA’s Associate Visual Director James Johnson said, “My background is in product design and mechanical engineering. It was during my degree at the Glasgow School of Art that I became involved in performance and through it found a new outlet for my need to design experiences.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn from James Johnson and the rest of NVA’s creative team in an incredible setting and I am certain the experience will contribute to developing my ideas in melding design and environment to create performative experiences in Scotland.”
Hinterland is a creative collaboration between Angus Farquhar (director), James Johnson (visual director), Rory Boyle (composer), University of St Andrews Music Centre and St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Phil Supple (lighting director), NOVAK Collective (projection design), and from 85A art collective - Dav Bernard, Zephyr Liddell, Robbie Thomson & Pete Sach (installations).
Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of NVA said, “I am really pleased by the way local people have responded to the work we are doing at the seminary at this point in its transformation. The event has sold out and we have audiences coming from across the UK and Europe. The subtle composition of lighting, projection and choral music beautifully echoes the site history and will give audiences a strong impression of its creative potential. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how people respond to it over the next ten days.”
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said, “St Peter’s is a building of world significance which continues to inspire and I am very much looking forward to seeing it in a new light during Hinterland.
“The event marks the start of the Festival of Architecture, a major part of 2016’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, and I can’t think of a better way to mark the year than by seeing one of Scotland’s architectural gems brought to life in such a stunning and creative collaborative performance.”
Neil Baxter, CEO Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) said, "Bringing together an extraordinary, sculptural, modernist ruin, music and creative magic within a unique, historic woodland setting, Hinterland is a superb launch event for our year-long, Scotland wide, Festival of Architecture.
“It also presents a vision of how Gillespie, Kidd and Coia's long abandoned masterpiece might be reinvigorated to the benefit of the local community and wider Scotland. This sell-out is the first must-see highlight of this very special Festival. It will endure long in the memory as a special moment."
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said, “In the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we have the opportunity to put Scotland on the world stage in a new and exciting way, positioning the country as an inspiring mix of traditional and cutting-edge at the same time.
“NVA’s ambitious proposal to reclaim the future of the St Peter’s Seminary complex and its surrounding Victorian-designed landscape has not only gained worldwide attention and brought communities together, but ultimately the significance of the story has captured the hearts of many, far and wide. Those lucky enough to have secured tickets to the sell-out event, will I’m sure, enjoy one of the hottest tickets of the year.”
Hinterland is produced by NVA on behalf of Kilmahew / St Peter’s Ltd and is the official launch event of the Festival of Architecture 2016 which is supported by EventScotland and Creative Scotland. The event is a key highlight of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Supported by Forestry Commission Scotland, Reigart Demolition, Argyll & Bute Council and EventScotland.
Photo credit: Alaisdair Smith