Friday, 6 August 2010

Public visit

On Wednesday I went with animated documentary maker Katrin Rothe to see the animation exhibition at The Public art gallery in West Bromwich. On display was work by Clive Walley, Steve Chamberlain, two 7 inch cinema programmes (including work by Petra Freeman, Angela Steffen, Eric Dyer and Pes) and An Eyeful of Sound.

Our film was displayed on a huge iPod-like box with surprisingly good sound and a nice picture. Hooray! I have an allergy to moving image shown in corners of galleries on screens with some droopy headphone as it so often means that they get ignored, over-looked or marginalised. I liked the space it was in and some stools in front of it made it a more pleasant viewing experience.

I've never never been to The Public before and I was so impressed with the space and how it was used. Clive Walley's work 'The Light of Uncertainty' (1998) was screened in a large gallery space on a loop and the projection was excellent. I loved Steve Chamberlain's Cyclo-mation; an old Raleigh Twenty (with a white Brooks saddle, mmm, mine never had one of those) linked to a big screen journey around local haunts. Ringing the bell and using the left and right brakes would skip the interaction to different places and modes, and it was really fun to use - specially by kids like Katrin's son (see pic).



You can get a lift up to the third floor where the animation is showing but there's also a ramped walkway which will (eventually) get you back down to the ground floor via lots of interactive screens, games and spaces. There was a row of 7 cameras which allowed people to interact with images on a rostrum and make up their own stories (see bad acting below)...

 ..and cameras which linked up with others in the building so you could have silent image interaction with other visitors.


The Content Pools, made by Lia and Miguel Carvalhais (Porto, Portugal and Vienna, Austria) with the assistance of pupils and staff at Perryfields High School, were excellent too - you put your hands into empty frames and see coloured bubbles emerging on digital 'lilypads' hovering over the atrium.

And we loved the Flypad, made by Brighton's Blast Theory with with the assistance of Cronehills Primary School. "The objective is for players to exchange body parts by colliding with one another". Yes, well, it took us a while to work this out but it was fun anyway and lots of jumping was involved.

Particularly at the moment (with the Colour Box programme specifically for children and several animation workshops as well as all the interactive stuff) in the school holidays this is an excellent place to take children and young people - we're going back!



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