Seeing in the Dark


Belinda Williams, Benedict Drew, Cara Tolmie, Darren Banks, David Critchley, Emma Hart, Guy Sherwin, Heather Phillipson, Hilary Koob-Sassen, Ian Breakwell & Mike Leggett, John Adams, John Kippin, Jon Bewley, Ken Gill, Kevin Atherton, Lynn Loo, Maria Theodoraki, Mat Fleming, Noel Clueit, Peter Todd, Rhodri Davies, Richard Grayson, Stephen Partridge, Tina Keane


Seeing in the Dark was an exhibition and series of events inspired by artist run groups from the 1970s and ’80s, such as Newcastle’s Ayton Basement and Basement Group, and London’s 2B Butler’s Wharf. These groups were formed by artists with diverse practices (music, performance, film and video) inhabiting vacant industrial spaces to produce opportunistic and eclectic events.

Over four weeks Seeing in the Dark occupied one floor of Curtis Mayfield House, a one-time industrial space a stone’s throw from the original Basement Group venue in Newcastle upon Tyne, to celebrate the influence and legacy of those artist-run spaces, extending this into the present with a contemporary focus. The exhibition revisited key works from the ’70s and ’80s by artists associated with those groups among others, alongside contemporary media and performance artists’ work, bringing together moving image and live performance by some of the most innovative artists working in the UK, from the past thirty years to the present day.


These are hybrid cross-disciplinary, sometimes collaborative works that reverberate with a spirit of playfully serious enquiry and exploration; they are often wry, humorous and irreverent, revelling in language and wordplay, realised through film, video, spoken word, musical performance and installation.

Seeing in the Dark was curated by CIRCA Projects’ Sam Watson and Adam Phillips with Steven Ball. The exhibition was presented with the kind support of Locus+

Video documentation of selected performances can be viewed on the wesbite of CIRCA Projects