North, west, south and east; Glasgow’s youngest festival is called Take Me Somewhere for good reason, moving us into unexpected places around the city, as powerfully as it leads us towards new experiences in art and performance. So at noon on a hot and sunny Saturday in Glasgow, I find myself in the cool of the Mackintosh Church in Maryhill, gazing at the Moon; or rather, at Luke Jerram’s astonishing huge recreation of the Moon, seven metres in diameter, perfectly astronomically accurate. Museum Of The Moon has already seen in many cities across Britain and the world, and now suspended motionless in the glorious space of the church at Queen’s Cross.
Museum Of The Moon, Mackintosh Church, Maryhill ****
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me, Kibble Palace, the Botanics ****
Liquid Sky, Tramway ****
Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), Platform, Easterhouse *****
Under the Moon, six weeks of events are planned. Mostly, though, there is just the magical sensation of seeing our partner in space from a different and much more intimate viewpoint; and instinctively, we move all around the church, up and down into the galleries, gazing and gazing as if we could never see enough of the light side and the dark side, the seas and craters, and the sheer beauty of our glowing blue-silver companion world.
Then it’s on the Kibble Palace in the Botanics, where – in Tania El-Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me – artist, musician, and refugee Basel Zaraa draws tiny images on the skin of my arm to describe the refugee journey his sisters made from Syria to Sweden; 24 hours on, the little figures are not washed away but marching still, up from my wrist to the hard border at my elbow, a reminder and reproach that should be carried by us all, until this mighty human crisis is resolved. I flee to the Tramway, to watch Baseline Circus and composer-musician Sue Zuki perform the mind-blowing 30-minute interlude Liquid Sky, in which the suspended figure of aerial artists Aedin Walsh swims and dives through lakes of moving cloud and colour projected on to slicing planes and beams of light above our heads.
And finally, at the Platform in Easterhouse, there’s 90 minutes of pure brilliance about the political state we’re in from legendary New York avant-garde duo Split Britches, Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, in Unexploded Ordnances (UXO).
In a situation room backed by glowing world maps, Shaw and Weaver play the General and the President, the one mainly obsessed with proving his (or her) manhood, the other more than annoyed to find she cannot reverse the ridiculous decision that’s about to blow us all to smithereens.
The unexploded ordnance of the title is not only the nuclear arsenal about to be unleashed, though, but the buried mines of unexpressed rage or longing that exist in all our lives, and can finally find expression in the most lethal kind of politics.
I find myself joining Lois and Peggy’s Council of Elders on stage, as we try to work out what went wrong, for us and the world. It’s much too late, but infinitely life-enhancing; and these are only four of more than 20 mind-altering Take Me Somewhere shows, events and works-in-progress, set to explode across Glasgow in the next week.
Take Me Somewhere runs until 4 June; Museum of the Moon until 24 June