Author David Keenan launches new billboard at SWG3

Multi-award winning Scottish author David Keenan has been unveiled as the latest artist to present a new work as part of the SWG3 x Jim Lambie Billboard Project.

Curated by artist Jim Lambie and SWG3, the project takes the 12-metre-wide billboard — installed on the Galvanizers' corrugated steel gable end during The New York Times Climate Hub, in November 2021 — and transforms it into a blank canvas. 

Part of the venue’s ongoing commitment to showcasing and supporting cutting-edge contemporary art and artists, The Billboard Project forms part of a treasure trail of creative installations and artworks scattered across the SWG3 complex. Current works include a sculpture by Jacqueline Donachie, an installation by Pat Jameson, large-scale graffiti murals by international and local artists spanning the outdoors yard, street and railway arches, and The Poetry Club: their most intimate venue, and a work-of-art in itself, co-founded and designed by Lambie.

David Keenan’s novels consistently affirm the presence of magic in the experience of the moment. Growing up in Airdrie, Keenan has returned there repeatedly in his novels, with his cult classic debut, This is Memorial Device, and his latest novel, Industry of Magic & Light both being set there. 

The newly unveiled work, Magic Is Real, speaks from the heart of his books to the actual train to Airdrie, in an alchemy of word and moment that blurs the lines between spell and speech, while pointing to them as the same thing. Magic’s true desire is to be noticed, and to be spoken. Magic Is Real, then, is a secular spell set on assassinating reality.

To celebrate the launch, Thursday 26 October marked the first edition of Manifesto Of Bliss, a new bi-monthly night at The Poetry Club hosted by DJs Death Wish & Blood Stain (aka Brother Joseph & David Keenan). The night will present a live version of their cult radio show, Manifesto of Bliss, which covers all contemporary manifestations of counter-cultural joy, with a remit that takes in music, literature, DJs, live bands, art works and good times.

For the first sold out episode they were joined by special guest David Holmes, who brought his unique brand of psychedelic sorcery for an extended DJ set dedicated to the art of bliss, bringing back the original pioneering counter-cultural stance of The Poetry Club as visioned by founder Jim Lambie.

The night also coincided with the launch night of the The Poetry Club: Est.2012 exhibition, which celebrated just over a decade of the club's existence through an extensive photography collection.