Monday, 1 November 2010

One day in Brighton...

Well after my previous blog which contained barely any pictures, this is going to be a long, picture heavy blog. This is good news. Everyone likes pictures.

Sadly, they're not pictures of my work (although I am having fun in that area), but happily they are pictures of Brighton.

This Saturday was something of a ridiculous day for Brighton... This year, the annual Zombie Walk (Where Brighton's undead trudge through the city centre and probably traumatize lots of young children) happened to fall on the same day as White Night (The night long city festival celebrating the changing of the clocks, amongst other things), which meant that Brighton was packed with people, and even more filled with ridiculous and surreal fun than it normally is.

I decided to meet the zombies in the afternoon at Brighton pier, and then proceeded along the seafront towards Hove. I was somewhat swimming against the tide (official figures state a turn out of at least 2500 zombies!), but fortunately zombies love the paparazzi (also beer), and were quite pleased to let me go along my way as long as I took a few pictures of them lurching about in return.

So here you go...

Some ridiculously creative costumes, there was even a zombie Wally (Of 'Where's Wally' fame), a zombie Jesus, and just about every profession of zombie you could imagine. It was a hilarious/horrible afternoon.

Evening came, and that meant time for White Night!
I'd been invited to Art Republic's event (co hosted by Ink_d and Wet Paint Productions) which was based in Jubilee Square, so that's where I headed first. The square was filled with glowing pillar like constructions - which, at the point I arrived, were still blank, with the artists just beginning to work on them. I stood and watched them for a while, and also watched some of the short films being projected on the wall of MtHotel, before heading on.

I had decided to head along to Grand Parade and the Phoenix gallery next, mainly because Grand Parade is where I studied at uni (until I graduated this summer), and I'm a sucker for nostalgia. Phoenix gallery is a place I've visited lots of times, and I really like their general ethos.

We walked along New Street, where there were some amazing glowing paper sculptures, through Pavilion gardens, past the Dome, and then on to Grand Parade. There I saw some more lovely light based sculpture in the garden, (like giant seed heads) but decided to come back later for the Earfilm cinema...

We proceeded along to the Phoenix Gallery, where we were intrigued and oddly hypnotised by an installation piece about 'Super Cell Static Storms', featuring lots of strobing lights, desk fans, and hypnotic humming noises.

We decided to head back into the centre of town from here, but on our way were distracted by a small, cosy looking marquee outside St. Peter's Church... we squeezed our way inside, and joined in with everyone else, drawing small monsters, watching an absolutely delightful shadow puppet show, and listening to some live music, courtesy of Us Baby Bear Bones.

We then headed back through the North Laines, but were drawn into Pelham Tower car park by an intriguing... thing... and some very loud music. I say 'thing', because I'm still not entirely sure what it was. I suppose 'giant inflatable see through orb with strange skirt round the middle' would be the most accurate description. While we watched, it was lifted up high over our heads by a cherry picker, and images were projected onto it, both abstract, and what appeared to be old film footage. It was incredibly strange and delightful, and as it was pretty dark, extremely difficult to photograph, but I did try.

After this, my companions headed home, and I decided to go back to Grand Parade for the earfilm cinema. Earlier on in the day, I'd been looking at 'Brighton' based tweets on Twitter, and in amongst zombie related ones, happened to see this one

I was intrigued, so decided to go along. And what a delightful 50 minutes it was... I'll be honest, I'm not really into poetry, and have very little experience/enthusiasm for spoken word performance... but this might well have converted me. There was no rhyming, no frilly language, no pretension, just beautifully worded, almost cinematic storytelling, which drew me in and held me till the end. Oh, and we were all blindfolded. This was supposed to enhance the experience, but actually for a bit of it I cheated and took off the blindfold, and it was even better when I could actually see him speaking.

At least 25% of the audience were zombies though, which added a delightfully surreal note to the whole proceedings. (Even more than sitting in a theatre full of blindfolded people already was)

After this I wandered across the park (via some more light based interactive sculpture), and back though the North Laine. 

Wandered in and out of various galleries, and eventually found myself back at Jubilee Square to see how the live painting had proceeded... Delightfully, it turned out.

I spent a good while wondering around and looking at all the final pieces - most finished by this point, although some still working progress. The whole atmosphere of the square had changed, from the pristine white light at the beginning of the evening, through to much warmer, softer tones based on the coloured spray paints used. The square was also a LOT busier by this point, so it was quite difficult to capture the final artworks on camera without people wandering across shot!

By this point (around midnight), the whole of Brighton was totally packed, (apparently 20,000+ people turned out for the festival!), and I decided to meanderingly make my way home. I headed along New Street, where I was confronted by an incredibly vivid and fast moving skeleton parade...

And at the end of New Street, out of the third floor window of MetroBet, was this incredible man/woman, singing opera. It was both hilarious and beautiful in equal measure...

Clearly, no picture could do this performance justice, but luckily I filmed it, along with various other bits of my night which still images couldn't adequetly capture (including Us Baby Bear Bones, the floating Orb, and more!) You can view that here...

And with that, I headed home, via a marathon route, lots of very drunk people, and finally some synchronized dancing on the seafront. Incredible.

Brighton, I love you.

1 comment:

Hanna said...

Wow, that all looks and sounds amazing, I feel like I was there! Can't wait to be back in Brighton soon. Nice blog Ems.