Magic round about;Arts in Scotland

29th May 1998 at 01:00
Glasgow's annual Arts Is Magic Festival feels like something between a circus and a fair, but perhaps these are old-fashioned words for next week's fun and creativity. "Art Beyond the Edge" is this year's theme, and director Lawrence Riccio is pitching his spiel on high (and low) tech media for art work, giving children a chance to try out techniques they won't find at school.

The live Internet access will cause a queue, but maybe more will see the Image Manipulation which will take the children's drawings, enlarge them and project them on the walls of the Tramway theatre in Glasgow. Children with a passion for cartoons will be fascinated by the model robot brought by the Digital Design Studio from the Glasgow School of Art to show computerised animation techniques that would have amazed Disney. Photographers will have the chance to print their work in Kenny Bean's portable dark room, and Jane McInally will direct the AiM Film Studio, and share her video and editing skills.

For the possibilities of low tech, children will have to look to the Sharmanka (Russian for "organ grinder") Theatre. This is one of Glasgow's best kept secrets, even though the amazing kinetic sculptures are a major attraction in the Gallery of Modern Art.

A blend of Heath Robinson and Hieronymous Bosch, they are made by Eduard Bersudsky, a trained metal-worker and electrician. He begins with discarded machinery, re-worked in wondrous ways to make a frame for creatures, real and fantastical, that comment on the world as people make it. His partner, the ebullient Tatiana Jakovskaia, wires up the movements, the lighting effects and the soundtrack, and does a perceptive commentary.

School performances in their King Street Gallery last 45 minutes and are often followed by an hour of questions, so Tatiana will be ready with the words. I trust she won't have to compete with Kings Park Secondary Jazz Band, the Michael Cannon Rock and Soul Ban, the Japanese Taiko drums, or even the East Renfrewshire Fiddlers and Guitars.

There will be quieter pleasures on hand, even an invisible one: Vanishing Point company perform Maeterlinck's The Sightless in complete darkness.

Arts Is Magic is at the Tramway, Glasgow, June 3 and 4, tel: 0141 943 1489. Sharmanka Theatre, tel: 0141 552 7080.

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