The conductive painting workshop, which takes place in the Templar Arts Leisure Centre (Located in Tarbert) which is also known as ‘T.A.L.C’, has been running for teenagers aged 12-15.  In the workshop, creative paintings can be made interactive by using conductive paint, attaching ‘crocodile clips’, and wiring them up to a computer where audio can be added.
It is run, for free, by Stefan Baumberger, Sian MacQueen, and Nicole Heidtke, and funded by Creative Scotland – Time to Shine.

I spoke to Sian and Nicole about this project and got their point of view.  Why this is being run, what it’s all about, and the general response from the people who have been turning up at these workshops.

When I asked Sian what it is all about, she explained to me that, being a painter and sculptor, she enjoys combining with Nicole, who is coming from the digital media side of things.  The theme they’re using is the environment – weather and landscapes etc.

I later asked Sian about what gave them the idea.  She said that when they (the media artists and the analogue traditional artists) were planning to work together, they discussed various technologies they have at T.A.L.C, such as the laser cutter, and the conductive painting equipment.  It seemed to them that the conductive painting idea was the most interesting.
My final question to Sian was what she hopes to come from this.  After a little thought, she told me how, in these workshops, the young people get to work with material and technology that they (most likely) have never worked with before.  She told us that she hopes these workshops will give them inspiration to continue working and exploring with materials in this way.  There are plans for this work to be showcased at some point, giving family and friends of the young people – along with the rest of the community – to come along, see this work, and get inspired!

I spoke with Nicole next.  When I asked her why it was being run, she explained to me that conductive painting is hardly used, and the combination of creating something visually and then being able to add to it with sound or light just increases the possibilities of creating something meaningful.

She told me that she got involved with this because it gives young people the chance to use technology and materials they wouldn’t usually have access to.  It gives young people the power to create something by themselves, and to make the decisions by themselves.  They can use things, and reuse things, and come up with something new.

Finally, I asked her what the response from the young people has been, and she explained that it completely depends upon where and when she is working with the young people, whether it’s ‘voluntary come along and have fun’, or if it is done in schools etc.  Artistically the young people make all the decisions on their own, they are never given tasks or told exactly what to do, just given help with what each piece of technology can do.  If the young people are only there for one day, it just sticks to this ‘I’m just creating what I want to create’ type of attitude, but what they would like to achieve from this is for the young people to be able to take responsibility for their work and to document it in whatever way they feel is best hopefully so that more young people know this opportunity exists.

During the workshop, every single participant that I asked if they were enjoying it said yes.  Their reasons ranged from ‘I’m just having fun, using this programme on the computer’, to ‘I love the art’, to ‘I am really enjoying this experience, the whole thing is just so enjoyable!”.

My own personal opinion is that these workshops is really important.  The fact that young people can go along, use these materials/technology that they might never have come across alone or have the facilities to access, and create something beautiful and/or meaningful is very important.  I loved seeing how happy certain people looked, working on their project, and I think that this is a very important opportunity that is not to be missed!

– Written by Rhianna .M. Cash, Young Promoter for Tarbet.

Full details of the Immersive Arts Workshops available from TALC can be found here:

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