The Dismal Time Machine – Medway Fun Palace 2015 – How It Was Made and Why

The Medway Fun Palace took place on the 3rd of October at Nucleus Arts in Chatham. After a lot of thought about what I might be able to contribute, I decided that with the impending Back To The Future II date in mind ( 21st of October 2015) I would create a Time Machine.

You see the problem already don’t you? For many weeks I was not quite sure how this was going to work. But I knew I would need a lot of boxes, due to the lack of a flux capacitor. In one of the Fun Palace meetings we spoke about lighting, a smoke machine, audio…within some type of large card box! 

Then one day, as I walked past a local greengrocers, I discovered tomato boxes. They are strong and they stack, and I have hot glue! What more could I need? Ah yes a helping hand!

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The boxes piled up in the Nucleus office!

Queue some workshops! Thank you to Stephen Bartholomew and family, Laura Fisher and family, Debbie Crow and Ben Boardman for supporting this crazy idea. Also Nucleus Arts for supporting the Time Machine project by providing space!

I soon realised that there was something missing as the machine started to take shape. It was lacking some comedy based around the fact the machine was made of tomato boxes. Then I realised, here was a strong connection to the absolutely incredible Dismaland, which I had been to within the first 3 days of opening may I add because…I am impatient. I started to plan how I could include an edge of Dismal to the experience for those who hadn’t made it to the real thing. I was so pleased when Esther agreed to be my fellow miserable colleague, to open the Time Machine to visitors.

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One of the installations at Dismaland – by Paul Insect

The machine took around 10 hours to finish, there was (did I mention?) tomato boxes, packing tape, gaffa tape and a lot of hot glue holding the machine together! We probably used around 100 small sticks of hot glue!

Once the ceiling had been secured, which mainly meant flat cardboard being securely taped to the box walls, the machine was surprisingly strong! This really is a great way to build an art installation.

Time Machine frame complete!
Time Machine frame complete!

We covered the inside of the machine with VHS tapes and weird vintage photographs, one was of a woman, Florence Priscilla, on an electric scooter in 1916.

Florence Priscilla
Florence Priscilla

I just had to make some finishing touches on the Saturday morning, get the fog machine going, and most importantly play the Power Of Love by Huey Lewis & The News and the Back To The Future Theme on a loop (I didn’t once get sick of it!). 

Someone brought their own mini installation of vicious, dangerous My Little Pony models, which were displayed to a backing track of “Only The Horses” By Scissor Sisters.

As our willing tourists came in they were handed an old Nokia mobile and given instructions to have a good time, but not too much of a good time. They walked through the machine to then be “greeted” by my assistant who told them there was a range of activities including climbing through a box, that went to no where, or taking a photo in the selfie hole.

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She explained though whatever they chose not to tell her as she didn’t really care. Anyone who touched the My Little Pony models were firmly told to not touch them as they were wild savage beasts. 

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They then got a text saying ” Now Get Out”.

Now I can’t really explain why…but we have over 100 people come through the Time Machine, some people even came back a second time. So that makes this my most successful exhibition yet. I didn’t have to smile once, which was great as I was ill. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but laugh quite a few times due to my assistants amazing improvisation, which at one point consisted of her telling visitors what happened to the last person that touched the ponies. She also told people to keep moving through the machine otherwise there won’t be a future for them to go to.

The entrance!
The entrance!
Inside the Time Machine
Inside the Time Machine

It really was a great day, we confused a lot of people, one lady left before she even went in (see, ‘actual’ time travel) one child cried. Definitely a success.

By Natasha Steer

natasha@creatabot.co.uk


On October the 3rd and 4th 2015 Fun Palaces took place across the UK. Fun Palaces are about creating and making together: they are a space where arts and sciences, fun and learning meet, working alongside and working together. See www.funpalaces.co.uk for more information. 

Learn More about Medway’s Secret Island During Medway Visions Film Festival – 12th September

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A film documenting the experiences of an artist living on Darnet Island for 6 weeks last summer is being screened at Gillingham library on the 12th of September as part of the Medway Visions film festival.

Otherness; Forty Five Days on the Isle of Beauty, shows the life David Wise lived during 6 weeks camping on Darnet Island in the Medway Estuary. David lived partly off the food he found there and recorded life with a variety of means including a pinhole camera made from driftwood.

The film is a great way to see parts of Medway that most of us have never seen, and learn more about the nature around us that often goes un-noticed.

The free screening will take place on the 12th of September at 7.30pm and will be followed by a questions and answers session with David Wise. At the screening David will also be launching his complimenting book which will be on sale at £15 which includes a £5 discount.

People can book by calling the library on 01634 337799 or email chatham.library@medway.gov.uk with the reference “45 Days Of Beauty”.

A poem dedicated to the memory of Hilary Halpern

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I moved to Medway some time ago

This place inspires me, as you well know

I wanted to help with the amazing creativity

To help it be seen by more, to prevent exclusivity.

 

But fortunately I had somewhere to start

Someone had already helped Medway’s art

This man was someone who needed a studio himself

But was happy to share space with someone else.

 

So he looked for a place that would be just right

And in Chatham High Street he found just the site

There was room for lots of artists, not just him

And this is where Nucleus arts was to begin.

 

He saw in Medway there was a need

So in making studios for artists he took the lead

Him and his daughter made lots of studios and gallery space

At last creatives in Medway could find their place.

 

All that happened in 2002

And the arts centre just grew and grew

And now as the arts scene here continues to boom

Nucleus arts continues to bloom.

 

Over 400 artists have been there to create

The effect on Medway has been great

I know I will never forget what Hilary done

So Medway creatives, let us make sure the work he started, carries on.

By Natasha Steer

 

Dedicated to the memory of Hilary Halpern – founder of Nucleus Arts Centre.

It was Hilary’s wishes that donations should be made to Nucleus Arts  – click here for more details.

Make a Website In A Night – 8th July 2013 – Rochester

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Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://websiteinanight-efbevent.eventbrite.co.uk/

In one evening Natasha Steer will help you create a simple website and show you the basics of how to maintain it.

There are just a few things you will need –

A laptop

Images for the website

Your bio details for the “About” page

Your email address details

Details of the domain name you own – OR if you do not yet own a domain name (ie www.yournamehere.co.uk) then please purchase beforehand or bring a debit card/Paypal details on the night so that we can go through this process step by step. 1&1 internet are really good – you shouldn’t have to pay more that £10.

Any questions just email natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Location – 161 High Street, Rochester (coFWD)

Time – 7pm to 10pm

Please note: Our venue is a very old bank building that is being slowly shaped by a community of individuals for long-term Community Interest. Sadly the startup project is in its infancy and being run on limited funds so the building currently has some accessibility issues. If you have specific access or disability requirements and would like to participate in an event or activity please let us know at least 5 days before the event date so that we can do our utmost to resolve any potential problems to accommodate.

Chatham Mural Project Workshop Dates Announced – All Welcome

Would you like to be part of an exciting community art project to paint a big mural showing scenes from Chatham’s past present and future? The site is next to Homestyle 206/206A Chatham High Street. Artist Richard Jeferies will develop designs based on your ideas and work with you to paint the mural. Whether you are 9 or 99 years old you are welcome to join in!

Workshops to develop the designs will take place on these dates at:

Nucleus Arts Centre – Conference Room

High Street

Chatham

Sunday 9th June 2pm to 4pm

Monday 10th June 6pm to 8pm

Wednesday 12th June 6pm to 8pm

Painting the mural: Monday 1st to Friday 12th July

Launch – 13th July alongside Medway Open Studios launch

The mural project has been developed by DNA and the workshops and mural are being developed by artist Richard Jeferies.

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Free Talk – The Creative Process: Words and Music – June 17th 2013 at 2.30pm – University Centre Folkestone

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Some rights reserved by MarkyBon

When composers and writers collaborate, what comes first – the words or music?  UCF hosts a conversation between Mariam Al-Roubi, singer, songwriter and librettist for the opera Mirabai, and its composer, Barry Seaman.

How does a creative work, such as an opera, develop from idea to tangible form through musical and written language? What is it like to adapt original text to produce a libretto? How do you ensure that you honour the original text (the opera subject, Mirabai, was herself a mystic poet, musician and dancer from 16th century Rajasthan).  How do you integrate newly written poetry? How does a composer work with a writer?  How is it different to working on an album? These questions will be explored and the dynamics of creative minds working together discussed, using musical examples.

About the speakers

Barry studied at York University, specialising in composition, and works have been produced and commissioned in most media, with broadcasts on Radio 3 and his music for silent films Tsar Ivan Vasilyevitch Grozny (Alexander Ivanov-Gai 1915) and The Life of Richard Wagner (Carl Froelich 1913) was widely toured in the USA. He has a special interest in music as a healing process. His most recent project is Mirabai, a large scale multimedia opera that combines ancient spiritual and romantic ideas with astonishing technology in collaboration with Musion Systems.

Mariam is a classically trained singer, dancer, musician and poet.  Whilst writing the libretto for Mirabai, she is also working on a number of projects, including her studio album. She studied BA (Hons) Music Technology at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

About Mirabai

Mirabai is the third of a trilogy. The first two pieces were large-scale choral works: The Consoling Song (words in Sanskrit from the Bhagavad Gita; commissioned by The Brighton Singers and first performed in Brighton UK 2002) and Bhajans (words by Nimisha Patel and Elizabeth Newman; commissioned by The Madrigal Choir of Binghamton and first performed in Binghamton NY USA 2007).

In March 2013, The Lake, and Petals, two excerpts from Mirabai, were premiered by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and the Krishna Dance was shown as part of the annual Kinetica Art Fair in London, presented by the Musion Academy. A short film of the Krishna dance scene has been produced, and directed by acclaimed film director, Tony Palmer.

 

This event is FREE to attend but advance booking is essential.

Please contact jane.seaman@canterbury.ac.uk or ring 01303 760600.

Area: South East    Folkestone

Half Term Creative Family Workshops – Sparky Project – 30th and 31st May 2013 – Rochester

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The Sparky Project is hosting hands on making workshops in order to create a series of parade structures as part of this year’s Opening Parade for Fuse Festival 2013.

Families are invited to help with getting the projects two main characters ready for the parade, the theme of which is ‘Time Travel’. The workshops, taking place in Rochester, are open to children accompanied by parents.

The Sparky Project aims to offer a wide selection of creative activities to a wider audience, and these workshops will offer an insight into some of the making processes involved with the parade.

The workshops will be held between 11am – 1pm on both Thursday 30th May and Friday 31st May.

Booking is essential, so please go to www.sparkyproject.eventbrite.co.uk to book a place.

The workshops will take place at the Scullery Studios, behind 376 High Street, Rochester, ME1 1DA.

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Area: Kent    Medway     South East

Be Part Of Medway’s New Art Vending Machine – CreataboX

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An art vending machine, CreataboX, is being launched at Fuse festival on the 15th of June in Chatham, and the project needs help from local creatives to produce miniature creations to go inside the machine.

Items can include art pieces, knitting, poetry, stories, music on memory cards and anything inspiring that can fit into a vending machine ball. Creatives are being asked to include information about themselves in the ball as this is a great opportunity for promotion.

The next free workshop is at 6.30 on Tuesday 11th June at 161 High Street, Rochester. Materials will be provided. Book here – http://creatabox.eventbrite.co.uk

The vending balls are 9cm in diameter and you can also bring pre-made work to the workshops, where they will be put into the vending balls.

The workshops are being lead by local artist Richard Jeferies, who is part of the CreataboX project. Richard has taught a wide range of artistic workshops and been part of many local art projects over the last 10 years. Speaking about the project he says “I would like to see the CreataboX building a link between artists and lovers of art. With its pocket money price (£1) I would hope it can bring art into more peoples lives, and at the same time give exposure and inspiration to creatives established as well as just starting out”.

It is hoped in the future that funding will be available to commission local creatives for further vending machine contents.

CreataboX has been developed through Creatabot by a team of people passionate about doing awesome things in Medway. It was inspired by the art vending machine in Leeds, but was altered to be multimedia.

Area :    Kent    South East    Medway

Work Your Way With Words – The Word Shed – Various Dates – Medway

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ME4Writers present their collective, collaborative project ‘The Word Shed’ at Fuse Medway Festival!

Come and visit The Word Shed, where inside, instead of seeds, pots and a lawnmower, and that drawer that’s full of things that you might need one day, you will find yourself in a blossoming, inspirational world of words.

During the festival, visitors to The Word Shed will help create a new ME4Writers’ publication. On the first two days, visitors will have the chance to add their poem or short story to the growing publication, on the third day, the writers will perform highlights from the new, nurtured and fully grown publication, and giveaway a free copy

The Word Shed is a Spark Commission for the Fuse Medway Festival, 14-16 June 2013.

‘ Wordshops’

ME4Writers will also be running some creative writing workshops, ‘Wordshops’, in the run up to the festival, where we will invite attendees to write short prose and poems inspired by Medway, Fuse and festivals!

Wordshops will be held at:

11 May – 1.30-3.30pm – Rochester Library

18 May – 10.30am-12.30pm – Strood Library

25 May – 10.30am-12.30pm – Walderslade Village Library

8 June – 1.30-3.30pm – Chatham Library

Places are free – but please reserve a place with the library concerned, or by phoning 01634 337799.

All submissions will then be added to our website, and a selection will be available from the Shed on the last day of the festival, printed in our new publication.

ME4Writers are known for their innovative, collaborative projects, and guerrilla publishing techniques, and have previously produced a poetry treasure hunt game played around the streets of Medway, ‘Poetrymon’, and the popular ‘Letters Home’ project, which asked people to write about home, culminating in an afternoon of readings and an exhibition at Rochester Library.

Dates: The Word Shed will be at various locations in Medway throughout the Fuse Festival. For exact locations please see their website, nearer the time.

http://me4wordshed.wordpress.com / Twitter @wordshed / http://www.facebook.com/wordshed