magic islands in space
Thirty seconds and counting. Astronauts report it feels good. T minus 25 seconds. Twenty seconds and counting. T minus 15 seconds, guidance is internal. 12, 11, 10, 9 ... ignition sequence start ... 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 ... All engines running. Liftoff! We have a liftoff ... 32 minutes past the hour, liftoff on Apollo 11... Commentator, Apollo 11 Launch, 16 July 1969
When my sister and I were small, Gran gave us an old record player and a box of 45"s. We were little. We didn't appreciate the retro chic of the all-in-one player or the value of the original Beatles singles. What stood out was a recording condensing the first lunar landing into 6 glorious minutes. We listened to that record over and over. We can still, and often do, receite the key moments of JFK"s famous speech. We remained unsure as to why Rice play Texas, but were grateful that they chose to go to the moon - if slightly sad they'd chosen that decade and not waited for the next one.
And so began a lifelong obsession with the Apollo 11 programme. It thrills me still. The infectious optimism. The calm courage. The application of technology. And the Kodachrome saturated aesthetic.
It was a huge privilege to be invited by More Music to work alongside Ben McCabe and Anni Tracy to develop Magic Islands In Space for Light Up Lancaster 2020 as part of Lancaster Arts" intergenerational research project All Together which asks:
- what does it mean to make artworks that can reach audiences of all generations?
- what excites a two year old and perhaps a ninety five year old at the same time?
- what artworks can reach all of us together and can we share something meaningful as part of the experience?/li>
Magic Islands In Space was a further development of a considerable amount of work already done by Ben and Anni on the Magic Islands concept. This commission comprised two elements - a daytime early years show and an installation to be explored by evening visitors to Light Night. Working intially at More Music and later at The Storey, we developed a playful, immersive, interactive sound and light experience of Apollo era aesthetic. Shadows, prisms and contact mics invited visitors of all ages to explore the space, at the center of which lay the Star Harp - a shared instrument exploring the resonance of the constellations and music of the galaxy.