Neil Musson – Tutorial Monday 23rd March

Neil Musson – Tutorial Monday 23rd March

My practice uses a collaborative approach with participants, space for encounters with soft sculptural objects to interact with, communal drawing as a means to making new objects (co produced with participants). 

Capes Installations (2019) AAEX Installations

In non art environments (outside a gallery context) we (myself and collaborating artists) create spaces for encounters.

In this space, is the experience about time for encounter, a novelty interaction or can a deeper meaningful relationship with the ritual of making be nurtured. (making extending to relationships, dialogue and creating together among both artists and participants)

‘Cloaked’ performance by Mad Youth Theater at AAEX Installations (2019)

I use ‘Capes’ as a tool to develop shared practice, a composite of rituals adapted by individuals. I seek opportunities to engage the public and find audience using grant funded opportunities and voluntary work. Audience complete the work.

The cape has a checkered past, historically banned for being associated with rebellion in Ireland.

English laws passed during the reign of Henry VIII tried to get rid of the cloak as an item of dress in Ireland. During the Elizabethan Wars, the cloak was especially frowned-upon because it was associated with rebellion: it was both warm and waterproof, and it enabled Irish fighting men to remain out in the hills in the worst of weather.

 “A fit house for an outlaw, a meet bed for a rebel, and an apt cloak for a thief”, wrote Edmund Spenser, an English poet who lived in the Elizabethan era, describing the Irish cloak at the end of the sixteenth century.


Cape is a ceremonial garment used in rituals around the world. Passing the mantle, anchoring the act of donning the cape with intention. Cloaking. Hiding. Revealing.

Mirrored mantle – Digitally printed fabric from communal drawing as a response to Cloaked. 2019 used to create the Platonic Playthings 3D Sculptures.
Mantle Installation with labyrinth mat and platonic playthings – test in studio for Craobh Rua Mother and Baby Project.

Currently in my own practice in the studio I am exploring ideas for new floor based work and expanding narrative around cape tropes, symbols, mark marking and ritual.

Word Count 343

Questions for Neil:

  1. Is the visual narrative in my work too complicated? Does it matter or is it accessible enough?
  2. I want to assemble a outline/plan for large group, outdoor, summer performance using capes and film it from above using a drone. To create a ‘living painting’ of sorts. What advice/resources/artists to look at would you recommend for the proposal and execution of the piece?