6 July 2015


The last (but certainly not least) arrival to this summer’s Glenfiddich Residency is Arturo Alcazar from Mexico.  Although Arturo is based in his native Mexico city he is something of an artist nomad spending equal amounts of time in Europe, in particular Berlin. His artistic practice is equally difficult to pin down firmly, being part performance, part sculptural.

His work explores notions of exchange in both economic and transformable terms, as he says it is about making something from nothing and often making it back into nothing once again. Past projects have involved lengthy interactions with scrap metal dealers, an economic activity often conducted on the fringes of the black market in some countries across the world. Arturo would spend days working and chatting to the workers as they dismantle discarded components and appliances, stripping out and separating the recyclable materials they contain. The sounds of chatting and hammering were captured in recordings and pressed on to a vinyl record which in turn was then used as a master mold to create copper castings of the record. The copper itself being supplied from the results of the workers efforts which were purchased by the artist for use in the casting.

The transient nature of certain materials such as dust or smoke – transformable substances often produced as a by-product or waste stream from another process are of particular interest to Arturo. Now of course there is normally no shortage of such materials here at the distillery but Arturo’s arrival coincided with our summer shut down, or silent season as it is known in the distilling trade. With many parts of the distillery effectively becoming a no go area due to crane lifting operations and other such big scale projects Arturo will have to wait a little longer before getting fully introduced to the many processes that are normally occurring across the distillery. However the shut down did mean that we were able to access some areas that’s would normal be out of bounds such as the upper kiln of the Balvenie distillery where Arturo couldn’t resist making his mark.