As well as being a very open and democratic platform for all kinds of events and exhibitions the Plymouth Art Weekender is a good place to see good quality work, engaging with critical dialogues of contemporary art practice.

First up on the Friday night is the opening event for the Atlantic Project (buy tickets in advance) at Plymouth Guildhall. Devon based artist Laura Denning will present the first of two performances* of Hydrosapien. Denning has initiated her own projects at all three previous Weekenders and this year she was selected for the Plymouth Art Weekender Local Engagement Commission. The commission brings together Plymouth’s D/deaf and hearing communities, alongside a duo of established voice artists in a unique performance of Astrida Neimanis’s 2012 essay ‘Hydrofeminism’. Working with Joseph Kohlmaier (founder of Musarc) and extraordinary performer Iris Garrelfs, Denning’s piece will undoubtedly be affecting and spectacular.

Over in Stonehouse allow some time to visit the Millennium building for Carl Slater’s Atlantic Project commission. Sharing the building with Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda (see PAW International highlights) Plymouth-based Slater will realise a project which has been three years in the making. Since his 2015 residency and exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre, Slater has been working with archive material and footage filmed onsite during the 1980s and 90s when the Millennium Building was also known as rave mecca, The Warehouse. Slater’s collaging technique with video is likely to present some surprises as well as much anticipated unseen footage. The Millennium Building will be open Fri – Sun.

Another venue opening its doors exclusively for the Weekender, over on Hoe Road is the Dome. Originally opened in 1989 as a tourist attraction about the history of Plymouth, parts of the building have been out of use for the last twelve years. For the first time since then Plymouth-based curator Ben Borthwick and his team have been transforming the lower ground floor ready to house Shezad Dawood’s site specific installation, Leviathan. Previously shown at the Venice Biennale the episodic film epic explores the notions of marine welfare, migration and mental health, with some familiar looking scenes shot in Plymouth.

Continuing the marine theme, Penzance-born Bryony Gillard is showing A cap like water, fluid yet with definite body, in the National Marine Aquarium. The video work draws on the writings of female modernist poet, H.D and her ‘jelly-fish experience’ on the Isles of Scilly in the early 20th Century.

On Saturday night The Arts Institute (formerly Peninsula Arts) will be screening work by Richard Broomhall, winner of the Peninsula Arts Film Commission 2018 and by Chris Bailey and Ieuan Jones, recipients of the Peninsula Arts Film Commission 2018 Prize. Bristol-based Broomhall’s new work “constitutes an ongoing study of the politics of light and the seemingly indelible electronic shadows they cast across the dreams of the human race.” Some may remember a Weekender project Broomhall was involved with back in 2015 as part of a collaborative work with the Back in 5 Minutes Squad titled Even After The Complete Collapse Of Civilization There Will Still Be Product Placement & Power Ballads.

* The second performance of Hydrosapien will take place at Barbican Wharf on Saturday at 2pm.

Written by Vickie Fear, Visual Arts Plymouth Activator.