Two days before the installation of Alice Goes to War for the LLAWN festival, it was time to welcome everyone to MOSTYN with the gift of cake. With Ysgol John Bright only 15 minutes away, most of the original group walked to the gallery after school with teachers Millie & Jessica. I wanted to celebrate how much we’d already achieved but, in what had quickly become the Digital Project’s ‘signature style’ i.e. “we’ve got half-an-hour before everyone has to get the bus home – let’s get started…”, it was never going to be just about the cake…
We had final decisions to make about the piece – what would the viewer see, hear, experience as they approached the Bathing Hut? How could we effectively contrast the pink-striped, nostalgic exterior with the darkened interior? Could the viewer interact in some way, perhaps controlling the hand-held projector? Agreement was reached that the volume of the piece should be manipulated to make the sound of marching boots overwhelmingly oppressive inside the small space, with the aim of ‘startling’ the viewer (and ‘Alice’), into action/reaction. We also planned two projections – the larger ‘Alice’ running in and out of frame in contrast to the tiny animated ‘Alice’ wandering through MOSTYN (in our version this symbolised Alice’s ‘fall’, not into the rabbit hole described in the original book, but into a contemporary space). And although there wasn’t enough time to have the text translated before the festival, I felt it was important to finalise the main publicity still. From initial research through to Sunday’s shoot, everyone had worked towards the manifestation of this image – it was the first drawing storyboarded, the first digital still taken & it became the opening shot of the video.
Decisions made, cake eaten, our indefatigable group still found the energy to explore Allora & Calzadilla’s Land Mark (Foot Prints), and meet with MOSTYN’s Richard Cynan Jones to talk about his research on the WAR exhibition. By half-four, it really was time for everyone to head off home – or did I see someone head towards the Broomberg & Chanarin exhibition? I think I did.
This is the third in a series of blogs on the MOSTYN Cylch Digital Project by artist Jan Miller