AOH talks to House of Qualia

The House of Qualia sounds intriguing – what are the aims of your Open House exhibition?
Qualia (singular, quale) is a technical term used mostly in philosophy and neuroscience representing individual instances of subjective conscious experiences. These experiences, such as a smell of a rose, taste of wine, colour or pain, are understood to be unique and not communicable in common language. With House of Qualia I investigate whether art, understood as a conscious creative artistic practice could communicate what is deemed subjective and incommunicable in language alone. I try to do that by encouraging our artists to present their artistic practice holistically, in any way they wish and are capable of, and I have for this purpose created events. In addition, I explore the extent to which individual experiences are capable, as a result of collaboration between artist or interaction with public, of being collective. This is in my view crucial to artistic process as it brings a new aspect to what an individual artist is capable of creating and achieving, I.e, artists become richer for such (collaborative) experiences.

You have an international group of artists exhibiting with you – can you tell us where they are from and how you selected them?
I was born in a country which no longer exists (Yugoslavia) and artists participating are my friends from those territories as well as UK. They all have some connection to Brighton – have lived, worked, studied or visited. The international aspect also relates to the origins of artwork presented: Film Rakija Western by Brighton based Vladimir Jaksic as well as Second World by London based Oscar Hudson and Ruben Woodin are filmed on the territories of ex-Yugoslavia. Granny Project was filmed in Germany, Hungary and UK. Margareta Jelic is established Serbian artist and art theorist who has exhibited in many countries. Painted stones by Montenegrin Sanya Budna who is also based in Brighton, come from all over the world.

As well as urban, fine arts and installations, you have performing arts, music and film screenings.
Can you tell us a bit about Merry Colchester and friends who are staging a dance performance?
Merry Colchester is Bristol based actor and filmmaker who graduated in Performing Arts at Brighton University. He was originally scheduled for a dance performance, but this has now (mainly down to Great Escape Festival) been replaced by Merry’s new pilay, an interactive street show ‘Blockbuster Brothers’: Two big time American directors are coming up with ideas for their new blockbuster. With only a bowl of bananas as props and people from the street, the two directors try out scenes for their film. This performance will be staged in between my living room and Regent Street, next to Komedia, Great Escape venue. The play is created and directed by Merry’s collective

Also the multi-award winning documentary Granny Project and Timothy Didymus’s a sound installation Kosmiche Glass concert, sound really interesting – can we hear a little more about them?
Having been screened in Cinemas from Toronto to Taiwan as well as on TV across Europe, a successful feature documentary Granny Project comes to Brighton! Granny Project is a result of a seven year long investigation of three young men (one of them is Merry Colchester and another Ruben Woodin) coming to terms with their heritage through the extraordinary lives of their grandmothers: an English spy, a dancer from Nazi Germany and a Hungarian communist Holocaust survivor. The film deals with classic values and taboo-like historical topics through a method which gives an insight to the zeitgeist of the young today. The screening is scheduled to start at 6pm and it will be followed by a chat with the filmmaker. Granny Project website:

Kosmiche Glass is an original, innovative and unique musical instrument and sound automata conceived and created by Brighton based UK musician and sound artist Timothy Didymus. This instrument creates ethereal acoustic resonances from 12 spinning musical glasses filled with water, through an intricate system of centrifugal force and delicate frictions.
Tim has presented mesmerising performances across Europe’s capital cities to delighted audiences. He is currently working with Magic Lantern Society in providing music for Frankenstein Phantasmagoria.
For House of Qualia, Tim has programmed his automata instillation to run from noon to 4pm on Saturday 18th May. He will in the evening (from 6pm) provide spectators with an hour long solo performance playing on his Kosmiche Glass as well as on accompanying instrumentation.
I’ve seen Tim’s performances and I can only say that they are something completely unique, once in a life time visual and sound experiences. I am confident that his genius will in no time be recognised as a jewel of Brighton’s artistic practice.
Should you like to check him out please see Tim’s Facebook page. His website is currently undergoing reconstruction. His vinyls will be on sale at the house.

Finally would you like to tell us about your own work Stories from the Stones, mystical storytelling through interactive art, live music and vocal performance?

I present my work under name of Qualia. Through media of photography and editing, I explore a number of philosophical questions, such as being, time, consciousness and perception.

Sanya Budna is my friend, another multi-talented artist who paints on stones (mostly Brighton pebbles)and on 12th May between 12 and 4pm, she will be telling related tales in interactive manner. She insists in keeping the details secret until day but reveals that the purpose of such storytelling is to reconnect with and reclaim our original role of guardians.
Sanya will be performing her original material of jazz dub avant-garde in collaboration with her Drag King friends Freddie and David the same evening 6-8pm. Expect an evening of fun, music and depth.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I would also like to mention that we have child friendly events as well as adults; the first is a video game created by the above mentioned Serbian artist Margareta Jelic – Martha’s Cupcakes which will run on Sunday 19th between 12&4pm, followed by an evening of her animations.

The other child friendly event is a pottery workshop which will run on Saturday and Sunday of the last weekend, where participants will create a piece of pottery using a pottery wheel, guided by our artist potter Pauline Finnegan.
We will be on 25th May between 12 and 4pm entertained by Andy Parker with his pastoral acoustic set. Andy is at House of Qualia exhibiting his landscapes.
And finally, some more pictures of events we have already have had.
Rakija Western with Vladimir Jaksic
Evening of 25th May (6-8pm) has been reserved for screening of a short film Second World by Ruben Woodin (who is also one of the protagonist in Granny Project above) and Oscar Hudson. This is another Gallivant Film production: An old Serbian man communicates with communist aliens whilst a series of futuristic and yet abandoned Yugoslav monuments stand crumbling across the fragmented region. In both we find crystallised and fantastic vision of Yugoslav utopia lost.
And finally, the closing day will be devoted to all participating artists. We will at this occasion, amongst others, hear again our guest, an incredible sound artist and musician  Alexander Harvey. He will play improvised experimental music, making use of a cranky old piano from 1895, field recordings, a range of effects and a looper.
Flat 2, 4 Regent Street, Brighton, BN1 1UL
See AOH Events page for dates and times of all House of Qualia events