This month sees Cambridge Live celebrate one of Cambridge’s brightest musical sons. The celebrations consist of the unveiling of the commemorative artwork for Syd Barrett followed by a live concert for band and orchestra.
The artwork is entitled Coda and has been designed by Clare Palmier and Spadge Hopkins with fabrication from Cory Burr. The completed piece will take pride of place in the Cambridge Corn Exchange foyer. Ahead of its unveiling we spoke with Clare Palmier to discuss the piece.
How did you get involved with the project?
Cambridge Live asked artists to submit proposals and our proposal was shortlisted and then finally chosen.
What attracted you to the project?
It’s exciting to create a permanent art work that will be seen by a lot of people and to create a work that’s abstract to celebrate a person and the essence of them, rather than a plaque or a monument.
How much research and planning went into this piece?
The piece is called CODA. Meaning the last time, as in music.
A lot of thought went in to deciding what and how to evoke aspects of Syd Barrett and create a piece of art that also fitted other practical criteria; like being on a wall and a certain size etc. I found it intriguing researching Syd; looking at the super 8 films and old footage, images and things that have been written about him. He was innovative, creative and also playful, ethereal, elusive. I find that fascinating.
What difficulties did you encounter working on the piece?
It’s been an interesting process rather than there being any difficulties.
There’s always different stages to making art, thoughts, ideas, trying things out and the making. Once the work was commissioned, there was then the process of working out how to make it technically as it has working parts, but can’t make a noise, and has to be robust as it’s a permanent piece of work.
How has this project varied to your previous work?
I’ve been playing around with pattern and hazard tape for a while which has informed the patterning of the piece and I’m also interested in movement and how thoughts and ideas and forms change and one thing becomes another; something which is also present in the work CODA.
What is your biggest hope for when people view the piece?
That they find it interesting and that it’s an experience that offers something.
And that they might be interested to see more of my work. I’m currently showing work in a new art space in Suffolk called Unit 1. It’s a lovely old Victorian industrial space. The show is called Ridyll and its on till the end of October [Details here].
Before the project even came about, what did Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd mean to you?
I was aware of Syd Barrett and of course Pink Floyd. It wouldn’t be true to say I was an avid fan but of course I’m aware of how much influence their music has had and how important it is. I think it’s been an advantage to look at Syd Barrett with a fresh mind and without too much knowledge or assumptions and to tread lightly, playfully but with creative and serious intent; I hope he’d approve of that.
Coda is unveiled on October 27th and will be on permanent display at the Cambridge Corn Exchange.
Cambridge Live have announced that they are teaming up with the 36th Cambridge Film Festival and Cambridge Film Trust to to present a specially curated film night. The evening will include a series of short films about Syd Barrett, and the world premiere of Get All That Ant?, a documentary film about the Swinging Sixties. The free form documentary made by Barrett’s former school friend and fellow art student, Anthony Stern, featuring unique documentary footage and images of the 60s that have never been seen before, more info here.