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Gŵyl Gelfyddydau Digidol Blinc Digital Arts Festival

(December 01, 2011)

Gŵyl Gelfyddydau Digidol Blinc Digital Arts Festival

 

blinc-projection-300dpiProblem: people don't go to see art ... Solution: bring art to the people

 

The Blinc Digital Arts Festival (Gŵyl Gelfyddydau Digidol Blinc) took place over the weekend of 22 and 23 October 2011, coinciding with the Gwledd Conwy Feast food festival. Using various locations around the walled town of Conwy, Blinc consisted of performance artists; film makers; photographers; digital installations; art geo caches; audio scapes; and animators.  

Artists exhibiting within the UNESCO World Heritage Site included: Bedwyr and Llŷr Williams; Bill Beaumont and Steve Searle; Cecilia Westerberg; Chris Bird and Alan Whitfield; Dominic McGill; Ed Wright; Emma Louis; France-Leigh Hadrysiak; Helen Booth; Jessica Lloyd Jones and Ant Dickinson; Jonathan Jones-Morris and Perry Hall; Kathryn Campbell Dodd and Jacob Whittaker; Miles Umney; Pablo A Padilla Jargstrof; Rhys Trimble; and Tim Pugh and Wendy Dawson.

We have included several still images here, as well as a slideshow. However, we strongly recommend taking a look at the YouTube link below (in full screen and with the sound turned on) to give you a better flavour of the artists' creativity. Or, better still, take a trip to Conwy next year to experience the festival yourself.

Until then, Blinc's Creative Director Craig Morrison looks back on that amazing weekend in Conwy ...

 

 

And in a Blinc it was gone!

 Blinc Dominic Mcgill Wendy Leah-Dawson

For a weekend in late October (22-23 October 2011) the North Wales town of Conwy became an oasis of creativity, when Blinc descended with the ambitious Digital Arts Festival - running in conjunction with Conwy Feast. By most standards, the event was very successful; attracting over 20,000 visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The juxtaposition of the 800 year old castle and art at the forefront of digital technology could have jarred, but the art was well curated and well received overall.I suppose you could say that the Blinc Festival was an offering in two halves: one being the site-specific installations and performances; the other the spectacular projection event on the walls of the castle on the Saturday evening.
This is Tomorrow, Dominic McGill Image: Wendy Leah-Dawson (right)
The site-specific pieces were a coup in my view. America based artist Dominic McGill’s beautiful globe This is Tomorrow, depicting an atomic mushroom cloud inside a crystal ball, hanging so serenely in the Mill Gate was incredibly poignant, especially when you consider it’s 10 years since the Twin Towers. The magnitude of the castle and its historical significance, humbled by the energy found within the tiny atom.

Blinc Jessica Lloyd-Jones Ant Dickinson. Heaven To Eath. Image Kathryn Camp Heaven To Eath, Jessica Lloyd-Jones & Ant Dickinson. Image: Kathryn Camp

Jessica Lloyd Jones and Ant Dickinson's work Heaven to Earth was both a site-specific installation and also a large-scale projection on the castle walls. Both pieces complimenting each other very well, each showing the same imagery, but on very different scales. This must have been very challenging when the original concept was derived from microscopic photographs of the castle walls. Ant’s score was well rounded, the work itself very succinct and possibly was one of the most powerful pieces in the exhibition.
Plas Mawr (left) - one of the best-kept Tudor houses in Britain - played host to Absent But Not Forgotten, a collaboration between Kathryn Campbell Dodd and Jacob Whittaker. Three large screens depicted footage, following the exploration into the paranormal activity within the house. The filming was both exquisite and unnerving, looking very much like old master paintings in part. It isn’t very often that you are given the chance to wander inside this kind of house, let alone see what it would look like in the dark.
Plas Mawr was also transformed by projections, and in my opinion one of the highlights of the festival. The plaster mouldings from inside this historical house, bought to life on the exterior; a perfect symbiosis.

Blinc Jackdaw Wendy Leah-Dawson The Jackdaw, Helen Booth. Image: Wendy Leah-Dawson

Helen Booth’s light work The Jackdawwas a meditative piece, and a departure from her painting practice. Two very large light boxes with monochromatic images of Conwy’s resident birds, represented the irony of what the castle once was and what it’s now become. Rhys Trimble performed his poem The Book of Dawwithin the very small space, at times looking like a trapped bird.

Bedwyr Williams and Llyr Williams - Conguoy. Image Llyr Williams. Conguoy, Bedwyr and Llŷr Williams. Image: Llŷr Williams

 
Bedwyr Williams’ performance at the Royal British Legion was a triumph. The film that accompanied the piece, produced by his brother Llŷr was well crafted and engaging. We were introduced to and cajoled into becoming imaginary arty moles, scurrying around the gutters of Conwy in designer glasses and trackie bottoms. Bedwyr's satirical comedic ramblings were a highlight.

Blinc Chris Bird and Alan Whitfield.Tides. Image Viv Rickman-Poole. Tides,  Chris Bird and Alan Whitfield. Image Viv Rickman-Poole

The main event on the Saturday night (if crowds are anything to go by) was a runaway success. Crowds estimated at over 10,000 people were recorded for both shows. It was the first time in Europe that fine artists have had the opportunity to work on such a large scale and, on the whole, the pieces succeeded.
The projections were started by Rhys Trimble, a performance artist and poet reading to the crowds in Welsh, English and Latin. His words projected 30 metres high and 100 metres wide. His voice, like a battle cry, calling the audience to attention.
Blinc Amser/Time  
Cecilia Westerberg's King, Miles Umney’s Stars and Welland Wendy Dawson and Tim Pugh’s Amser/Time (above) were charming, probably because of their simplicity. But saying that, Photernative - a collective from Conwy - and Jessica Lloyd Jones and Ant Dickinson's pieces were also a wonder to behold, just by their very scale and pallette.
The latter half of the projections was in parts a little commercial, but were crowd pleasers, with the fireworks and pretty lights. But this can all be forgiven when you look at the event as a whole. Nevertheless, Blinc's creative directors Craig Morrison and Joel Cockrill's achievement was pretty formidable. The vision for the festival, the determination to get artists involved in a new media and their ambition are to be congratulated. It is hard enough getting visitors into galleries to see exhibitions in Wales but, if crowds are anything to go by, this was a very successful event.
The artists involved must have been in shock, to a certain extent; their practice and nerves pushed to the very extreme. But they must all be congratulated for their contribution. Its just a shame that it only ran for the one night, and our hope is that Blinc will return for many years to come.
Gŵyl Gelfyddydau Digidol Blinc Digital Arts Festival was supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Conwy Council and Cadw.
Craig Morrison, 1 December 2011
 
Full programme and artist's CVs available on blincdigital.com
For further information on the festival, see Facebook, Twitter, or contact Craig Morrison or Joel Cockrill at blincprojects@gmail.com

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