Studio International

Published 26/04/2016

Steven Claydon: interview, Art Sheffield 2016

Steven Claydon’s newly commissioned Infra-idol Assembly is set within the vast, bunker-like, top-floor space of the Moore Street substation, designed by Jefferson Sheard and constructed in the 60s, when it was thought that Sheffield’s industrial star was still on the rise, and would require a power station of this size.

Thanks to the dismantling of the city’s steel industry, this top floor has never been used. This, its first occupation, has only been made possible due to the substation’s annual three-week shutdown for maintenance – an event that dictated Art Sheffield’s timing.

Accessed via a winding concrete and glass staircase, the physical presence of this huge room – and one’s insignificance in relation to it - is augmented by a projection at the far end of the room, on which Claydon is broadcasting an animation made from atoms. Claydon has clipped excerpts from IBM animation A Boy and his Atom, a film made to demonstrate IBM scientists’ breakthrough in being able to control the movement of atoms from one place to another. It is accompanied by the actual soundtrack of these atoms being moved, interwoven with words sampled from tapes of early computer-generated poetry. The soundtrack itself is amplified by a large, sculptural reverb unit, constructed from plate steel manufactured in the city.

Steven Claydon
Infra-idol Assembly
Moore Street Substation, Moore Street, Sheffield
16 April – 8 May 2016

Interview by VERONICA SIMPSON
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY