Review: Other Worlds Festival – Part Two

Saturday was a day for experiencing the interactive aspects of the festival so I popped into the Blackpool Central Library young people’s section and spent a glorious ten minutes, with a couple of others, a wooden kebab stick in each hand, lightly tapping the strings of various small square breadboards – each painted, stringed, tuned and amplified to gorgeous sonic effect to make up the Octopus Breadboard Guitar Orchestra. We played until it felt right to stop and then we moved on – a beautiful moment in time.

Capriccio’s workshop upstairs at the library looked a slightly more serious and advanced level affair. As I poked my nose around the door the conversation was intense and so I sneaked back out in search of The Ghost Telegrams – which sadly I couldn’t find.

However, stepping next door to the Grundy Art Gallery for Fields with Sebastien Piquemal and Tim Shaw, Tim swiftly handed me a small card with a WiFi network and URL information to pick up on my smart phone. Unfortunately, my technology wasn’t up to the task but luckily others’ phones were and so with the two gents in the middle we sat in a rough circle around them and listened to the sounds coming through the surrounding speakers alongside multiple-mini-echoes next to and around us. It felt exciting and modern and I could imagine how visceral an experience it might be if we were standing in our hundreds, how it might just be indicative of one shape of music to come.

A quick trip round the corner to the Other Worlds pop-up gallery and Tirikilatops‘ artwork exhibition was as crisp as stream-of-consciousness gets with a range of small-scale, appealingly doodley pictures. Behind the screens, though, there was a musical screaming and as I ventured towards it the nightmare vision planted by Roald Dahl in his Tales of the Unexpected story about the plants who screamed when you cut them came to life! Plants were rigged up with mini mics and were “angry” (to quote one of the Biophone 2 artists) when the lights went out. They moaned when they had a torch pointed in their faces (who doesn’t!) and positively cheered in ecstasy when natural sunlight came flooding occasionally over the top of the screens. I was enthralled!

However, it was now 2pm and time for the bands to start. Up in the top room of West Coast Rock Cafe, The Drop-Out Wives were warming up and sourcing missing mic leads in more traditional rock band style. The front-man and sometime singer, with pegs in his hair, blood capsules in mouth and puppet rabbit in hand, threw himself around in old-school, entertaining style however, for me, the female vocal lead was far more engaging as she projected the essence of Kim Gordon, Kim Deal and Blondie through her understated cardigan-wearing form.

My final event for the day was Dan Fox’s Sound Walk which was simply joyous. To walk through the busy streets of shoppers sporting bright blue headphones and a comically large microphone to pick up the vibrations of the world was an insight into a world of superpowers. My personal favourites were the bench, fountain, fence, cashpoint machine, rotating advertising banner and promenade barrier which we experienced both in their natural state and with some percussive human interaction. I felt as if I was experiencing a magical world that others were deaf to, that, as a group, we were somehow the privileged curators of this world of otherness. I guess that’s what Rick and Carlito, the organisers of the whole festival, must be feeling at the moment in spades!



Images by C J Griffiths Photography.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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    Melanie Whitehead is the Creative Director of The Old Electric, Blackpool's newest theatre. She previously worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

  • Show Comments (1)

  • Shaun Blezard

    Hi – if anyone is wanting to now more about the Capriccio graphic score system please visit here – http://shaunblezard.com/technology/capriccio/ – there is some footage of the final workshop piece from Other Worlds there

    sad to have missed Dan’s walk, looked like great fun


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