Low culture & high times at the Hepworth

Last weeks epic installation & gig at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield wiped me out so thoroughly it’s only now I can crawl to my pc and cajole my weary mind into some semblance of a review.

Following a previous audio/visual test that was only 50% successful, I had a feeling we’d get through plans B, C & D before the day was out. So I stopped by the good folk of Lumen and took myself along a PA, in addition to 3 laptops, both my projectors and my huge mixer. And lo, en route I got a call saying their soundsystem wasn’t working.

So as you might imagine, setup was quite involved, and must have taken the best part of 2 hours. You can witness a good hour of my chin stroking and frantic cable connecting in this stop mo which compresses the action down to just 1 min. No sound though. Probably quite dull as a result.

I mentioned 2 projectors, these were in addition to the in-house projector… wooo… fancy 3 screen setup. Even better, 2 of the screens were huge blocks of polystyrene placed on the floor which had a great visual impact and helped shift audience expectations. Watching video on a ‘proper’ screen produces a conditioned response most unsuited to the laid back eclecticism I espouse. So it was good to break that 4th wall down (or was it the 5th?). Check us out, we brought Burt Reynolds along to case the joint…

So, the idea behind the set was to do a live remix of some footage shot by local youngsters, and to give them a bit of a go at mixing themselves. Most of their footage was silent and focussed on the site and architecture of the gallery, so it looked GREAT mixed into the set. Unfortunately I have no decent footage/pictures of the mixes, so you’ll have to take my word for it that this film featuring lots of shots of the cobbles outside worked a treat with Concrete Jungle from the Specials…. 

 ….. and that my regular favourite, Cyriak’s Cycles, worked a treat with this film filling the sky, like sunrise over an Alderann being overrun by lamppost wielding mutant teddies.

I must confess, the rest of the set was a bit all over the place content wise, as taking the lead from my Video View events, the audience were also making suggestions for stuff to play via a 3rd laptop. We had everything from exploding Whales to highly ‘arty’ Bill Viola films  and the Party Rock Anthem from LMFAO. My favourite audience initiated mix of the night included this Creme Egg smashing machine, though I’m blowed if I can remember what I mixed it into.

With the young people in charge we went off on some random musical tangents, which we always seemed to do when the Gallery Director, all sharp suit and expensive glasses, walked in to check out what we were doing. I’m sure it wasn’t quite how he’d imagined his brand new gallery would be used! Still, I’m not precious, they had a good time and I got to hear some new stuff, including the Beyonce remix of Major Lazer, which I would have to admit is ok and looked pretty boss when mashed with the original video which is outstanding (if a little risqué). 

All told, I was knackered by the end, but really enjoyed it. Once I was done I went for a wander round the outside and, in combination with a balmy spring evening, it felt like I’d been transported to an arts festival on the continent, not a previously derelict site hunched next to a canal and railway in Wakefield.


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