Window Work. DxDx Studios, Plymouth

DXDX studios, Regent Street, Plymouth

July 26th to 16th August 2011

‘after Durer after Mantegna’




The basis for this image is found in an engraving of the
‘Death of Orpheus’ (1494) by Albrecht Durer which is derived from an earlier
lost image by Mantegna. In the image, a scroll attached to a tree declares
Orpheus to be the first pederast or homosexual, justifying his being killed by
the two female figures that are beating him. The window image has adpated
elements of the Durer composition to design a contemporary emblem that repeats
the labelling of the other as aberrant or unnatural. This comments on the ongoing
persecution and execution of gay, lesbian and people designated as other or
unnatural in countries around the world. The design also engages with the
intersection between the textual and the pictorial.

[from DxDx website]  WINDOW WORK is a programme of artworks commissioned for the building’s shop display window on the Regent Street side of the building. The current WINDOW WORK project asks artists (through an open call submission process) to propose a text work, diagram, drawing, instruction piece, design etc that can easily be drawn (translated) onto the main studio window using chalk pens.

Organ of Corti braille poem






I wrote a short text to accompany the Organ of Corti which was designed to be translated into braille and included as an insert in the project programme booklet. Having first composed a 200 word text, the limits of fitting braille text to an A5 card, meant it had to be edited down to 20 words. The image shows part of the braille print. The text reads:



listening to the

underheard; the Organ

of Corti smoothes

a kink in the sound

scatter, nudges

my attention in the


Mark Leahy


Bitterweed project at Dartington

On Saturday 9th July, Paul and I took part in a project titled Bitterweed in Studio 20 at Dartington. The project by artist Kate Marshall and curator Gareth Ballyn takes as a starting point the novel The Bitterweed Path by Thomas Hal Phillips. This novel published in the US in the 1950s gives an account of coming-of-age and coming to awareness of sexuality in the Southern US in the early 20th century. It is one of a small number of ‘gay’ novels from the period.

Marshall and Ballyn’s project will generate zines and interaction and images to excavate memories, to consider how books live on after their time or beyond being read, and to explore images of men together.

More information at the Bitterweed blog.

Organ of Corti – assembly begins

I’m currently working with Liminal (David Prior and Frances Crow) on their project Organ of Corti. This project won the PRSF New Music Award 2010 and will tour to four sites in England during July and August 2011. There are full details of the project at the website

Next week we are doing a trial build of the installation, getting all the elements together and building the work to see how long the installation takes, and to check for any snags. We’ve been given space at Dartington, the old Theatre at Foxhole, so there is enough room to have all the tubes and base units and to put them together. We hope to have a sneak preview of the assembled Organ of Corti at Foxhole Theatre on Monday 20th June.

We’re using big rolls of polystyrene sheeting to wrap the fragile Perspex tubes. Each is 3.5 metres long.

Low Profile launch Build Your Own

On April 15th I attended the launch of ‘Build Your Own’ a new project by Low Profile (Rachel Dobbs and Hannah Jones) at DXDX Studios, Plymouth. The project has developed out of the artists’ reaction to the structures and institutions around practice-based / practice-led PhDs in the Arts. Faced with difficulties of finding a context where they might pursue a joint research project, or find funding to support a significant period of joint research, Dobbs and Jones have embarked on raising the funds and resourcing to Build Their Own …

The event was held at the new DXDX artists’ studios at Regent Street, Plymouth.

Low Profile

DXDX Studios