On Wanting

06 Sep 22—24 Sep 22
Helena Hamilton, 'On Wanting', Video Still, 2022
Helena Hamilton

On Wanting, a new experimental work for domestic space, by artist Helena Hamilton. The online work was shown here from 6–24 September 2022. This interactive Public Programme event invited you to alter your domestic environment through the light and sounds emitted from your devices. Helena is interested in how colour and sound, via digital devices, can change our relationship to site; investigating how these can be used as a combined medium to blur the boundaries between the digital and physical.

Helena Hamilton, 'On Wanting', Video Still, 2022

Using your digital devices, you were able to experience this work in your own home via a laptop, TV screen or smartphone. The larger the screen and darker the space, the greater impact the colour will have on your physical environment.

On Wanting utilises transitioning colour, from white to yellow, as an evolving effect that bleeds into a physical space. Helena would like you to have a fluid relationship with the piece and consider how you might like to engage with the work – will you move around? Will you carry on with tasks while in your own home? Will you pay careful attention to it like you might in a gallery setting?

The foundation of the audio for On Wanting is the nursery rhyme 'A Farmer Wants a Wife', recorded from one of her child’s toys. Helena uses this rhyme because of the issues it raises, one being that everyone seems to immediately get what they want, continual instant gratification.

In jest, she has time-stretched it multiple times, doing so created drones which have been used as the basis of this work. Other layers of audio included are soundtracks from around the home. Each sample reflects personal joyful moments when wanting is neutralized by the magnificent banality of the everyday. Such as rain, birds and Rice Krispies. The final audio sample is pencil on paper. Helena utilised the sound of mark making whilst listening to the drones to dictate the speed, location and duration of each mark. Primarily following the sound rather than the visual.

This free online event formed part of the Public Programme for the exhibition Ballads of Rhinestones and Newcomers. Follow Helena for news of future plans for this work.

Supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City & Strabane District Council.

Belfast-based artist Helena Hamilton works both visually and sonically. Her practice crosses the lines between creating objects, sound, digital interaction, and action/performance.

Helena has previously exhibited and performed in both gallery spaces and contemporary music/sound festivals across the UK and Ireland, in addition to Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, and New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Virtual Matter [Ambient], The Naughton Gallery, Belfast, 2022; Perceptions, The Agency Gallery, London, 2020; Semblance and Event, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, 2018. Group exhibitions include Dissolving Histories: New Narratives, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 2018/2019; LUX, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Ireland, 2018.

Composed sound works for film include Parenting in the Pandemic: Pandemonium, Dance Film, BBC iPlayer, 2021; and Epilogue, Dance Film, Belfast International Arts Festival, 2021, and showcases include Digital Design Weekend, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2017. Artist residencies include Art Centre Ongoing, Tokyo, Japan, 2016; and Goldsmiths University of London, EAVI Group, 2015.


Helena Hamilton, Virtual Matter [Ambient], Naughton Gallery, 2022, Photo credit Simon Mills
Helena Hamilton, Untitled (With), edition of 16, Interactive sound and light sculpture, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, NI, 2018_19
Helena Hamilton, NOTETOADISTANTGOD, 2 hour blindfolded performance as part of solo exhibition 'Semblance and Event' in Millennium Court Arts Centre, 2018

On Wanting