Alchemy / Schmalchemy

Collaborative Projects: Alchemy / Schmalchemy

Alchemy / Schmalchemy are Walt, Gillian Whiteley and Geoff Bright. Gillian and Geoff are highly experienced performance artists and musicians with a wealth of past projects. Visit Gillian's website:

Geoff Bright and Gillian Whiteley write ..

'Alchemy/Schmalchemy conjures a disruptive oscillatory space of mischief, a laboratory of possibility. It plays with the idea of alchemy as transformation of value and parodies magic, authenticity and artifice as its unconscious fabrications. Becoming intense, becoming animal, becoming imperceptible, becoming charlatan, becoming shaman, becoming sham''

Walt writes...

'Breath, bellows, sound, moving air, awakes us from sleep. We search for the spark, the dream, the elixir. The spark of light is always there. We orbit, we sing, we dance, we play, we experiment, we collude in our joy of the search. Alchemical processes move through a series of cryptic levels. The intense yearning, the craving, the striving, MUST lead to transmutation, to a final sublimation.'

So far there have been 4 iterations of 'Alchemy / Schmalchemy'.

Each performance is different.

Two have been in Sheffield and two in Bradford.

For me my early career in Science always provided an intellectual satisfaction and at its best a sense of genuine awe. This manifested itself in a thirst for enquiry and further understanding. The creativity of my work as a musician and artist allowed for an element not found in the scientific arena, that of a sense of magic, something truly transformative.

So when I met Geoff and Gillian and began the 'Alchemy / Schmalchemy' project, an exciting fusion became possible.

'Alchemy / Schmalchemy' 2012 to present

Joint ongoing project with Geoff Bright and Gillian Whiteley

As Gillian writes,

"The physical act of transforming lead to gold acts as a metaphor for transforming our mundane level of consciousness to a more enlightened level where magical serendipities and 'collisions' are able to occur spontaneously and frequently. Music and sounds are fundamental in creating the transformative environment, with not only a powerful catalytic effect on the whole process, but also providing a crucial driving energy behind the collaboration's 'alchemy'. The group uses scientific apparatus and they adorn spaces with a range of objects and materials - bottles, coloured liquids, microscopes, pipes, mirrors, projections, from antique projection apparatus, pendulums etc. Acoustic musical instruments are combined with ramshackle low-tech sound-producing equipment: this might include an ancient harmonium (pedal-driven), an old mechanical gramophone alongside low-tech electronics. Soundworks produced have an emphasis on intensity, through highly focused and energised intention, which can build to quite 'electrical' levels and then in an instant dissipate, to be built up again in repeated cycles."

MMU - ESRI - SIQR 2015 - Geoff Bright, Walt Shaw & Gillian Whitley

A performance of 'Alchemy / Schmalchemy' at Manchester Metropolitan University in July of 2015. Geoff Bright, Gillian Whitley and myself.

Alchemy/Schmalchemy - Manifestation II (Fragment I)

Recorded live on 24/11/12, Pop Up Space, Centenary Square, Bradford as part of M@BU's ImprovDay