13 Mar – 21 Jun 2020
Please feel free to sit in the gallery and take time to visit the upstairs space too.
Pattern Buffer is an exhibition by Liverpool based artist Frances Disley who has been working
in Bluecoat’s artists’ studios ahead of showing with us. She is interested in the things we do to
feel better about ourselves and has provided a number of artworks as prompts for relaxation.
These include a hand painted quilt, jigsaws printed with plants and custom made dominoes
Disley has recently been speaking with psychologists from the University of Salford finding out
more about how different kinds of architectural spaces make us feel and the positive effect
certain colours and plants have on our mood.
This research has influenced her decision to transform the window gallery and upstairs gallery
from stark white spaces with grey concrete floors, to softly painted and carpeted environments.
The artist has also intervened in the lift and stairwell with coloured lighting and vinyls.
The greening of the gallery includes moss and bromeliads which are examples of different
kinds of epiphyte, plants that happily live on other plants without causing harm to their host.
Like Jonathan Baldock’s Facecrime installation in the adjoining rooms, Frances Disley also
makes playful reference to fiction and fantasy. A grid of squares runs across the walls of Gallery
Three and Gallery Four. The grid makes reference to the Holodeck from the TV series Star Trek:
The Next Generation. The Holodeck is a virtual reality environment which allows crew members
to step into other worlds without ever leaving their spaceship. The Pattern Buffer from which the
show takes its title was the part of this transporter system.
In reference to this popular science fiction series, which often transported crew to lush green
environments, a series of small plants appear to sprout from walls, nest in multi coloured
moulded tree stumps or merge with furniture. The artist also leaves physical space in each room
for us to complete the scene in our minds, almost as if the Holodeck was only half on. If you
could go anywhere in the world or universe in your mind, where would you travel to?
Other artworks playfully encourage us to stop and slow down. On the ground floor a video of
hairstylist (Sheetal Maru) and her friend (Ithalia Forel) enjoying conversation while hair
accessorising is a relaxing scene of mutual care and nurturing. Upstairs two hypnotic videos of
burning incense holders suggest that we might sit on the painted benches and take time out.
Also available on a weekly basis is an audio work inspired by Guided Visualizations. This
voiceover asks us to be intensely present while elements of humour mingle with her calming
In Pattern Buffer Frances Disley blends everyday pastimes and art experiences, valuing
equally what both bring to us as viewers and participants. As an artist informed by the world
around her, Frances Disley is interested in Bluecoat’s role as an arts centre which supports
many different kinds of activities. In this exhibition and related events she also reflects on this
building’s many uses.
Pattern Buffer Glossary
An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant, especially one that is not parasitic.
Examples include many times of ferns, moss, bromeliads, air plants, and orchids grow-
ing on tree trunks in tropical rainforests.
Installation art often occupies an entire room or gallery space with an audience member
entering the space in order to engage fully. It occurs in Western Art as a movement in
late 1950s although there are earlier examples in twentieth century. By 1960s and 1970s
it becomes established strand of Modern and Contemporary art. The focus is on how
audience members experience the whole environment, rather than individual works.
Holodeck / Virtual Reality / Pattern Buffer
The Holodeck is a device from the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next
Generation. Participants step into an intensely grided environment and can choose to
engage with different settings without ever physically travelling from where they stand.
It is a fictional example of Virtual Reality which is an illusionistic experience and which
usually involves the wearing of a headset. Virtual reality is commonplace in video
games and medical and military training. The Pattern Buffer is an element of the
fictional Holodeck. It is a storage area within the virtual transporter where a person’s
image and information is held.
Guided imagery involves focusing each of the five senses to trigger positive healing
messages throughout the mind and body. It is a term that can be interchanged with
visualization, self-hypnosis and guided meditation, but it has its own set of techniques.
Voice for guided visualisation – Steffi Sweeney
Video holo programme 114 – restful relaxation. In collaboration with hairstylist Sheetal Maru and model Ithalia Forel camera George Ellis