ACE artists

As part of the Arts Council England funded Treeline Program Salt road has commissioned moving image, sound, digital, installation and relational practice artists based in Birmingham, Stoke, the West Midlands and Manchester  Justin Wiggan  Anna Francis Megan Powell, Jenna Naylor,Laurie Ramsell, Sally Payen and Jaime Jackson







Megan Powell Untitled 5 still

Megan Powell is an artist, photographer, filmmaker, and storyteller. ‘I use portraiture and cinematography to combine still and moving imagery. I began taking photographs aged seventeen whilst living in a homeless shelter. I used the camera as a survival tool through which I filtered my reality. This provided me with a creative language to articulate my personal experience, establishing a framework to consider the oppositions and interrelationships of ‘Life and Art’.

I utilise narrative to separate my own self from my artist-self, placing my experience into a wider context. I analyse the mythology of the artist, exploring this with a childlike curiosity, rarely resolved and always searching. I aim to emphasise critique over confession, transferring personal experience into a wider, more universal context.

At the core of this exploration is a focus on attachment, connectivity, and patterns of interaction. My work is a process, a narrative, forever being re-written and re-appropriated with each new experience; like utopia, a place of ideals and of nonsense. My narrative is exponential – boundless, and unknowable. My artist self is a vagabond within, oscillating between returning somewhere lost and striving towards a point of congruence. Yet the more I persist, the more elusive it becomes.’

Jenna Naylor is based at AirSpace studio in Stoke and was awarded the Treeline graduate commission through New Art West Midlands. 

Jenna examines how we classify and organise the natural world. ‘I consider how this affects our understanding of our environment. I create drawings that adopt the traditional conventions and methods of scientific and botanical illustration, adapting them to present my fictional hybrids and specimens. Using the space between fact and fiction, I present these specimens within my drawings as if they were encountered in some otherworldly environment, and then observed and studied by the explorer who discovered them. I deliberately omit scientific accuracy in favour of this ambiguity; how do we classify these specimens? Are they plant, animal?’

Laurie Ramsell untitled

Laurie Ramsell is a Fine Artist and fellow at Birmingham Open Media. His research led practice is concerned with questioning the label ‘human’. By looking at trans- and post-human philosophies, it can be deduced that such a label as ‘human’ has become outdated, and that most ideas around the concept of what makes you uniquely human can be challenged or redefined in the near future.

Historically personhood has not been synonymous with being human – as seen with slaves, children, and women – whilst book, buildings and rivers have been conferred this legal status; your biology contains nine non-human cells for every native human one, a writhing cornucopia of human flora – bacteria, mites, and yeasts; and emotional capacities and sentience previously reserved for humans is increasingly being observed in studies of many other animals – happiness, fear, love all the product of inherited evolution.

What makes you human therefore is not what you may think, and more nuanced ideas will be required to understand what truly affords us our label of ‘human’. We have seen that such a label can be arbitrarily given (and taken). What may this label be extended to in the near future in the field of robotics and synthetic biology? How far can we change the existing idea of what a human is/looks like before it ceases to be by our own definitions? By working with new materials and processes (bacterial cellulose, 3D printing pens) my practice is examining how artisans may redesign our own humans anatomy, assembling it limb by limb, organ by organ collaboratively.

Justin Wiggan is a sound artist and educator whose work uses phonics, text, film, object changing and drawing to make interface solutions to creative and site/circumstance-specific problems, and looks to redevelop the sense of hearing as a learning tool and an awareness machine. His work has been shown both nationally and internationally, and he was awarded the Arts Council England International Artists Scheme Funding for his new piece The Doberman Variations, which is now an interactive book and the world’s largest download code. Additionally, he worked with Ikon Gallery and John Taylor Hospice (where he is artist in residence) to found Life Echo, a research project dedicated to transforming the memories of people nearing the ends of their lives into sound.

Phonic Cage and The Loss of The Edenic Song

Man is trapped in his “normal “soundscapes, a looped cage of capitalist crickets to the vocalizations of worried mammals.

Man wants to hear the sound of rain falling on the ground or on water, and man wants to pay for the experience of a sound of a waterfall, an effect, lived via proxy out of a lost husbandry.

Man could have had a rushing river, man could have had waves lapping or rolling gravel on a shoreline and his children would be sleeping amongst the wind sounds and awake to the murmur of wind rustling the leaves in trees,
Instead man holds each other in the howling during a gale and the roar of a whirlwind whilst carving hurried deities of water, wind, thunder and still the ice is shearing from a glacier and the cackles of a forest fire torments him like laughter from a cauldron.

Sweet prehistoric music discarded for traffic-heavy, modern cash registers phonic prisons. Man is prone to be misinterpreted, misled by throwing a rock in a river to gain more shiny rocks, striking flints to burn other men’s huts, chopping wood to keep wild life a 1000 paces, hammering nails to kill saviours and building combustion engines in simple shelters.

Man is the sound of rain falling on the roof. Man gives Warning sounds to other species, of impending danger. Of a change in balance a post Nochian flood fear of man put into the animal.

Wild life.

It came with a change of diet, meat could be eaten. Man ran to the tower to gloat over footage of glitter thrown over tiger cub carcasses, whilst suffering in silence a constant unknown homesickness.

The predator fails to warn others to seek safety, no threat but other hunters because they are as slow as he.

Man magic’s sounds, mutters calls and slight audible signals establishing monetary boundaries so like or unlike species will not transgress those boundaries.

Incantations heard for miles by others. Passed down from sickness whisper to sickness call, mating calls, low and guttural deny responsibility to what was lost.

An origin of phonic webbing built by eco systems balanced in universal acceptance.

But the Imitation of natural sounds rose , in various cultures this diverse deity filled in functions related to man-made belief system that had an effect on current belief systems , a chattering Zoosemiotics enwrapped with anthroposemiotics, fascintated with balding bears in zoos who fail to raise notes of concern .

They too suffer constant unknown homesickness.

We have not been revolutionized. We have refused the bands of healing, marvelled at the circus , deafened to the pure language lost from our Edenic song.

“A lamb investigates a rabbit, an example of interspecific communication through body language and scent “

Man’s gestures have failed.

Ruiners of the earth, erasers of sounds with his Obsession with the display of distinctive body parts.

Returning home with food, man stands over his family and throws what little money he has on the ground in front of him; this elicits a begging response from the hungry family which stimulates the man to regurgitate more money in front of them.

The looping sounds of discarded power coins spinning on cold kitchen floors, a sad song .

Man also expresses his anger through a snarling and showing his teeth.

In alarm his ears will perk up.

When fearful a man will pull back his ears, expose teeth slightly and squint eyes.

Man has five recognizable facial expressions; orbital tightening, nose and cheek bulge, and changes in the ear .

A sad song.

Man social pattern is facilitated by monitoring of sounds around him and not to follow the gaze of those he interacts with.

This “geometric gaze following” is enhanced with material desire, lack of natural love and refusal of care to the animal kingdom, the empire of sound walls around him block his pure gaze following abilities.

Man has hidden hatred for hammer-headed bats, red deer, humpback whales and elephant seals and this hate hides in his glands that generate disintegration of his gardening skills and man becomes a long-lasting smell, a hate fuelled scented substance to the animal kingdom like urine or faeces.

Man’s noise is distributed through his sweat, a semi-permanent mark on Golden altars.

Marks on their foreheads from banging themselves, obsessed with the looping crunch of brain cells being swallowed by blood.

Men carry with them noise from their history which they release as they re-enter unfamiliar areas to create noise trails to remind them they are not food, for mate attraction and to distinguish between the lack of the Edenic song .

They are a confused enemy manipulated by their fight with each other.

They failed to master the oceans deeps with fireflies.
Man diverts his guilt by contests and the love of aggression between the animal kingdom.

Eating whilst the animal displays competition over food, mates or territory; much Sunday evening entertainment functions in this way.

Satisfied with submission display and the social dominance. Wildlife is a temporary glitch in a envy filled hard vein.

The emission of noise from man to the animal cannot cure the beast of the field or the flying things in the heavens.

The concrete means avoiding the sounds making the union between the two impossible.

Man is mutant, unable to navigate amongst the reeds, geese and penguins.

His noise nest is of paradise territorials and is used to claim or defend a territory, food, or a mate.

The golden altar is feeding offspring, the offspring begging for songbirds, the dance language of honeybees and the nod of more experienced raven.

Man noise means to run for cover, become immobile, or gather into a group to reduce the risk of attack.

The animal kingdom yawns at man’s noise of his directionless vision and his non intra-species communication.

Their echolocation bounces from man’s body language.

Man prays to the his own predator, man. Man noise is poisonous.

The Edenic song brought animals and man into harmonious relationship with one another.

The learning of, and rediscovery of this song means establishing man’s husbandry role and to eradicate the cage of the pursuit signal.

This unprofitable song passed down from generation to generation has helped wild life prepared to escape. Man has been wasting time and energy which has resulted in the capture of himself.

The cage has grown from its Samarian seed and set the phenotypic condition (quality advertisement) of its self.

The Animal kingdom voices pursuit-deterrent signals which go un- reported, hopping antelopes crying under blue plastic.

Man’s ability communicate to the Animal Kingdom means deceiving them.

Man noise is a reflection of the cage, which man then imitates to the Animal Kingdom.

Animal language and it’s bands of frequency are now lost and have failed to establish human/animal communication, man’s choice of unlearning the Edenic song and to focus on expressive communications upon the golden altar broke the animal to human bond specifically.

Some of the animal kingdom attempt to use to communicate to humans.

Horses refuse to communicate but for their own safety display a receptive language (understanding).

The animal Kingdom are safer at this distance , until the Edenic song is relearned.

Some Human’s have stabbed in the dark to discover the song , Sean Senechal, taught some animals a gestural (human made) ASL-like language, and there is some compromise from the animal kingdom as animals have been found to use the new signs on their own to get what they need.

The research is still part of the phonic cage, the cage is still governed by the golden altar.

The golden altar produces its own song which produces a Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in humans.

There is a misconception theory of the cash machine sound being produced by rollers delivering the notes to the collection slot.

Allegedly, the sound is an entirely artificial addition to the process.

“The noise is produced by a speaker and purely included in the transaction to reassure you that your money is on its way. Without the added noise, the ATM would be practically silent with its moving parts on the other side of a brick wall.”… ( Mic Wright)

Do these sounds act as elaborate hearing aids that help humans s to find comfort ?

This is a reproduction of the sound of antlers wrestling ,helping man with locating satisfaction for his tokens of guilt , blocking out the Edenic song with over amplified sound effects.

Like how the reassurance of the chase scene is established due to the fast orchestrated music set behind the footage in action films.

Why do we need to be comforted with fake effects / sound tracks in movies to make the experience more real ?

When was the last time you leant in for a kiss surrounded by a vibraphone solo ?

Is it to stop the questions and the noises in the head which have been there for thousands of years?

Does man secretly fear falling from his golden altar sideways into the bowl of antlers ?

The Golden Altar comforts its family by the ways of mass “autonomous sensory meridian response” (ASMR).

This biological phenomenon is a reward for staying close to the altar’s region , it offers pleasurable tingling sensations replacing the mother, erasing the Edenic sing .

Through its extended domain the golden altar by the way of Internet culture such as blogs and online videos as manage to reduce experience, soften the blow, relax the twitching hand hover over the mouse .

These vicious micro sounds are a disease.

A blind spot for culture to hide in whilst dropping laptops and shielding revolutionary thoughts.

The power of purring seems to be not enough and so the Golden altar offers an enhanced rummage through handbags, squashing sharpie pens and make up collections.

The material world schooling material girls.…/why-music-gives-you-the-chills-7a… by Sean T. Collins

The Golden Altar has aided the distorted relationship between mad and animal distorted by the aid of Disney and other children’s entertainment of film, cartoons and books .

The fetish gap , the gap of fear is managed by anthropomorphic recognition.

The recognition of loss of the Edenic song , the erasing of guilt which is built on man turning his back and opting to live in the phonic cage.

This denial of husbandry needs a nest.

The nest has to be occupied , and so characters for children like Mickey Mouse , Donald Duck , Snoopy and Scooby Doo are part of the Golden Altars curriculum.

This curriculum does not allow the existence of the origin of animals but eases their guilt and the guilt of the parents by giving the dog a voice , by giving the naked duck a towel.

This curriculum focuses on the Pleasure Principle and ignores the reality principle.

How many school systems learn about the healing quality of a cat’s purr ?

Whilst the golden altars machine is obsessed with conditioning the voiceless generations in the phonic cage , a cage which is greased with material objects, a nest to block the path back to the song of truth.

This futility of the Golden Altars education via the phonic cage wastes resources and is leading children into a separatist elitist group competing for material riches and robbing children of organic play learning , kills the soul of confidence and the voice of creativity.

These children have the icaric desire to fly on home made wings that can resist the consumerist burning sun.

The Altar conditions man to protect it to the point of abuse.

Which gives seed to stories which man ahs pleasure inventing and reading. A rubbernecked slow dance with his own guilt. Watching nature plea for help with a crooked smile…” it’s sad, so sad. It’s a sad, sad situation “
Journalist Kelvin MacKenzie , invented a story to protect the Golden Altar whilst at the same time revealed a nerve of Edenic truth lingering inside man’s consciousness .

In 1987 , MacKenzie published that the singer Elton John had had the voice boxes of his guard dogs removed due to their barking was keeping Elton awake , and to some degree hide their own Edenic song and be the ultimate invisible guardian of the Elton’s personal Golden Altar and to protect his own phonic cage.

Although completely untrue, as all of his guard dogs were capable of barking Elton John sued The Sun for libel and awarded £1,000,000 in damages.

The balance was restored, the accusation of abuse towards the animal kingdom, even though untrue resulted in the Golden Altar being victorious.

My decision as an observer to our unique situation is that I choose to fight the phonic cage , find answers and tips of how to avoid the Golden Altars ever increasing grip on reality and learn to seek the Edenic song.

I also look forward to the time of restoration of this universal song, the crumbling of the golden altar and the silencing of the phonic cage.

“Bring forth what is within”

Children of constraints exist, Children of dominant concerns exist,
Those who deny explanations and implications do not.
These are children of Laplace’s demon, They spit out facts about the past and the present,
They mumble natural laws that govern the universe,
But you give them wind-up toys, billiard balls, puppets and robots.
You people are a hindrance, You people are an obstacle,
Do you not know that children can destroy the universe?
Do you not know they throw your long-treasured gold into the sea, and break in pieces lately-finished statues?
You are slugs in hierarchical mesh.
Children of consequence, Children of symbols and letters,
Gathering food in academic fields


Anna Francis is an artist whose practice aims to rethink city resources, through participatory art interventions, curatorial projects and city development. Through this she aims to investigate the impact that artists can have on their environments. Within Anna’s practice she creates situations for herself, the public and other artists to explore places differently: often experimenting with leading and instruction by creating manuals, kits or leading guided tours. Recent projects have included garden developments, and currently the transformation of a disused pub into a community space and social enterprise.Anna is a Director at AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent’s contemporary, artist led exhibiting space, where she has particular responsibility for artistic direction and programming.Sally Payen‘The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.’ (Virginia Woolf, ‘An Unwritten Novel’ 1921)

Virgina Woolf’s words could have been written for Sally Payen’s new paintings. The large-scale canvases
that initially appear to belong to the categories of colour-field painting or geometric abstraction (such is
the deliberate flatness of their surfaces and the recurring motif of the grid), refuse to yield all life to the
void and instead throw up a strange melange of barely perceptible silhouettes of soldiers, suited figures,
wild horses and the delicate traces of skeletal cages. There is no Euclidian geometry or perspective in
Payen’s work to anchor these troubling forms and yet, as with a dream when we know instinctively what
is up, and what is down, there is a logic to Payen’s work that goes beyond the learned formulae of western
art and looks instead to a language of forms and symbols that predates the so-called ‘cradle of civilisation’
(such as can be found in cave painting from the Upper Palaeolithic period); a language that we understand
and relate to in both our conscious state, and in our dreams.

Jaime Jackson is a moving image and digital artist, interested in site specific projections on to and into buildings, working away from the screen using buildings and landscapes as canvas. Working in the public and community sector searching out meta-narratives found in social movements, history, sustainability and nature; forming linkages between things to create unusual open pathways for partnership working and commissioning.

His work as a relational practitioner makes art based on, or inspired by, human relations and their social context. working as a facilitator seeing art as information exchanged between the artist, the co-creational participants and the viewers.

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