As mentioned in this post, I’m sharing Stories From Scarborough with Salford – the city in which I studied for my arts degree – before I move to Scarborough next week. As an industrial city, miles away from the sea, Salford may not seem an obvious choice, but the University of Salford Degree Show (part of the 2014 Create@Salford Festival) offered a good opportunity to test out the project.
For this event, which opened on Thursday June 12th, I presented two pieces of art.
1) The Chairlift
Above: Suspended chairlift exhibit (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
You can read this post to find out more about the chairlift and its construction, but in short, it was originally designed as a costume, to be worn during a proposed performance in Scarborough. Having not yet figured out the logistics of this operation yet (including transportation of the chairlift, and someone to document the performance etc) I instead decided to exhibit the object as an installation; the balloons representing the airborne inclinations of the makeshift vehicle.
However. It just didn’t work very well. Not all art ‘works’ – but mistakes are all part of the process; part of learning how best to communicate an idea. Next time I’ll be wearing, rather than suspending this awkward chairlift structure.
The show contains some excellent work by fellow students, and closes at the end of today.
2) The Sandcastle Performance
In this post I explain the relevance of sandcastle building to Stories From Scarborough, and I developed some of these ideas into a short, public performance. This took place in a purpose built perspex box, located in the piazza opposite the BBC in MediaCityUK.
Above: Performing in the perspex box (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
Nicknamed the Create Cube , the structure was designed to accommodate a range of performances and installations throughout the Create@Salford Festival. It reminded me of a similar (but much older) structure on Peasholm Lake, which I’d love to perform in one day.
Above: The bandstand on Peasholm Lake (source)
Nonetheless, with Salford Quays in sight (this is the nearest you’ll get to a beach in the Greater Manchester area), the space felt appropriately summery; rather like a bandstand, and a suitable place to build some sandcastles.
Above: Building sandcastles whilst dressed as a child (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
I chose to assume my child persona, and my costume drew a few strange looks from suited workers enjoying their lunch in the nearby gardens (which, quite appropriately, were covered in deckchairs). The weather too was favourably sunny, although perhaps too warm for performing in a box!
Above: No deck chairs for me – there was hard work to be done! (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
Like the sandcastles I had practiced at home, these were crumbling mounds, decorated with flags and labels, both denoting the former attractions this project is investigating.
Above: Sandcastles with a Scarborough significance (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
In this case I also added a few extra special ingredients, including genuine Scarborough sand and seawater collected during a visit earlier in the week. And some gold glitter.
Above: Pouring Scarborough water from a specially labelled bottle (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
In a case of art mimicking life, the sandcastles (representative of former attractions) were systematically destroyed then rebuilt before eventually being cleared away.
Above: The destruction begins (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
Below: Rebuilding (Copyright: Stories From Scarborough)
Naturally there were other subtle details involved, and I’ve not described every aspect of the performance here, especially since I hope to repeat and develop it in Scarborough at some point. You can see more pictures here.
The chairlift, on the other hand, will now become a costume, as originally intended; providing I can find a way to transport it to Scarborough.
Now I’ve got less than a week left in Manchester (or more accurately, the nearby Peak District, where I’m currently staying), before I move to Scarborough. You can expect lots more from Stories From Scarborough then – both in terms of art and research. Exciting times ahead…