INSTALLATION: Richard Butchins

‘The Voice of a Unicorn’

Venue: Unit 12, ACAVA Studios, Spode Elenora Street, Stoke-on-Trent. ST4 1QQ

A multi-disciplinary collaboration between Richard Butchins, well-known disabled dancer Kazuyo Morita and three prominent autistic Japanese artists – Yasuyuki Ueno, Mami Yoshikawa and Koji Nishioka, The Voice of the Unicorn is a set of artist moving image/experimental documentary pieces revealing an unseen world of the non-verbal.

The Voice of the Unicorn is about perception and silence, more specifically communicative silence that many people with autism face. It is a concurrence of Richard’s time working with artists at a private workshop space called Corners in Osaka, Japan.

The work is presented as a set, series or group of screens which may be viewed in any order (or disorder) and they contain video loops ranging in length. The accompanying soundscape is derived from field recordings made in Osaka and elsewhere in Japan. Richard has avoided synchronised sounds and, in fact, has disassociated the sounds from their sources to better represent the sensory confusion and overload that can occur in the mind of an Artist. The artefacts in the installation are indicative of an artist’s atelier and the use of easels to display the video screens is a nod to the studio workshop tradition and to the increasing replacement of reflection with consumption in the world.

Dancer Kazuyo Morita, who also features in this work, introduced Richard to Corners and he noticed two things: first, his fascination with the calm atmosphere of the building and secondly, 
he felt so at home, describing Corners as a space free from the pressures of the ‘real’ world – a world he increasingly fails to understand or navigate effectively.

Richard contracted polio as a child, and it left him partially paralysed. After a random variety of activities including living in Paris as a street performer, and wandering around European cities, he became a freelance still photographer covering conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Ireland. He has worked for The Observer, Sunday Times and the Guardian amongst others. Eventually Richard found himself in the UK television industry, making and developing documentaries and working as an investigative filmmaker.

Richard lives in London and does not have a cat.

NEW Opening Times: Mon-Sun 11am-3pm. Schedule showings at every half an hour: 11am, 11:30am, 12 midday, 12:30pm, 1pm, 1:30pm, 2pm, 2:30pm.

FRONTLINE Arts Festival Staff will be waiting 5mins before scheduled timings by the barrier in the Elenora Street Car Park at Spode.

Please note that this exhibition will be closed on 12th October.