Greenbelt 2011: Final Round-up.

So finally the dust has settled on Greenbelt 2011 (almost). Si Smith let me have one of these “Where The Wild Things Are” figures as a nice little gift for helping out with the Visual Arts team. I suspect if anyone needs a gift it would be him, though. He was BUSY.

 

The Hub is a part of the Visual Arts programme that I often have the least amount of time to devote to – mostly because there’s just so much of it. It’s the hands-on part of Greenbelt where you can get in and make stuff – printmaking, mask-making, that kind of stuff. Thoroughly worth a visit.

The second night of Pecha Kucha presentations was fantastic. Both nights were as good, but by the second night, the whole thing found it’s rhythm, and there was some fantastic talks. I decided to take a different approach to recording these. Instead of having a “grab what I can” mentality, I recorded all the sound to the talks, and have uploaded them online. I’m also getting the images into a Flickr set, so you can entertain yourself as the nights draw in by having your own Pecha Kucha moment at home. They are actually astonishingly good, and this was definitely a festival highlight for me. They were all brilliant.

Here’s Steve Lawson‘s musings on music and the state it’s in:

Slides used during the talk

Audio:

And Simone Lia‘s illustrations and thoughts on carrots, sausages and parables:

Audio:

 

Negotiating rights for all the images is going to take time though, so for now here are the audios of the rest of the presentations, and I’ll let you know when we get the accompanying photos sorted out.

Illustrator Brent Clarke talks about what happens to you after you spend your teenage years with a horror poster above your bed:

Anaesthetist Helen Morant talks about… well, the art of being an anaesthetist, which on paper may sound dull, but was both hilarious and interesting – one of the best in fact.

And lastly Dan Thompson, who was utterly brilliant – Social Artist, creator of the #riotcleanup hashtag, and who I have had the good fortune to work with before.

Being the father of two small children I had occasion to spend quite a lot of time in Messy Space. This was an area set aside with a shed-load of toys, painting stations and the like. Much like the ballponds you see in leisure centres, I often think that these areas look a bit like one of Brueghel’s paintings of Hell. Decapitated heads, people being thrust into boiling cauldrons of oil, that sort of thing. Much has been made of the fact that you’re no longer able to leave your children in spaces monitored by qualified childcare people (as you have in previous years). It’s been a step that was highly controversial, as parents now don’t get any time to themselves at GB, BUT..

…when it was explained to me that it was just too expensive to run the old way, then naturally I’m happier that the festival continues, even if the child care facilities are somewhat reduced.

It was fun though. The kids would have spent every minute of the festival in Messy Space if we hadn’t attempted to drag them away from time to time.

 

I was also able to grab a few quick words with Willie Williams. He brought his fantastic installation “Lumia Domestica” to Greenbelt. It’s basically a light piece: Various coloured lights shone through cut glass objects, which then cast beautiful dancing coloured shadows on the wall/ceiling etc. He had a room to himself to install them in, and used the space well. The result was an incredibly calming room, almost meditative, almost (dare I say it) Chill-Out. You can find the work online on his website, but it’s worth having a look to see when he’s next showing it, as online video doesn’t really do it justice.

I was incredibly nervous as you can probably tell by the camera shake. Not at all his fault – he’s a lovely man, very funny and charming. But I suppose it’s easy to allow yourself to be intimidated by the size of his oeuvre, lets just say that.

Finally wrapping up the Visual Arts for me, I videoed the Photo Flash Swap. Basically people brought printed photos they had taken along this year’s theme. The photos were then hung for the duration of the festival, and at the end of the weekend, you could rush to grab whichever one you liked (provided you’d supplied one of course). The ensuing scrummage can be viewed here:

Greenbelt Photo Flash Swap 2011 from Michael Radcliffe on Vimeo.

This left me free to enjoy Foy Vance‘s surprise gig in the Performance Cafe – a triumphant end to a great Greenbelt. Roll on next year.

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