Weymouth Hosts Contemporary Art Festival

Art Festival

Art Festival

Cultural Tide Turns as ‘Kiss Me Quick’ Weymouth Hosts Contemporary Art Festival

Weymouth’s cultural landscape is changing as the traditional seaside town, famous for fish & chips, donkeys and ‘Punch & Judy’, gets ready to host ‘b-side’ Multi-Media Arts Festival, 17th – 26th September 2010. Showcasing nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary artist’s work, the festival will include commissions in sound, installation, visual art, photography and live art exhibited in unusual locations across Weymouth & Portland.

Increasing access to contemporary art and broadening the cultural offering feature highly in many coastal towns’ regeneration strategies and there are several UK seaside towns investing heavily in art gallery developments. The b-side festival will challenge this norm, using the traditional, historical and natural landscape that exists in Weymouth and Portland as a living exhibition space in which thought provoking, challenging and experimental art will be presented.

Traditional seaside icons will be used as platforms to disrupt and challenge viewers’ expectations. Those expecting Mr Whippy to be served from John Lee and Sally Mann’s – I Scream Van – think again. This ice cream van, converted into a solar powered cinema for six people, will travel up and down the Weymouth seafront, showing short films from mock horror works courtesy of Forkbeard Fantasy to animation shorts and films. Immaculately dressed ushers play hosts in this perfectly crafted auditorium where ice cream will be served during the interval.

Jordan McKenzie’s contemporary take on George III’s historic penchant for Weymouth bathing is set to disrupt and unsettle art orthodoxies. This one off event on Saturday 18th September, delivers McKenzie’s alter ego, Monsiuer Poopourri, from a Weymouth seafront cafe in Victorian swimming costume, after having enjoyed a traditional cup of tea in normal dress.  A procession, including a group of majorettes, Morris Dancers and a brass band will then accompany him down to the sea to enjoy a refreshing dip.

Award winning artist Liz Crow exhibits Resistance which way the future? A timely and hopeful work which explores the marginalisation of a minority social group and asks what can be done to prevent oppression in the future. Liz Crow recently took part Anthony Gormley’s Fourth plinth project in Trafalgar Square and appears in The Guardian’s Fourth plinth Top 10. Resistance is a dual-screen interactive installation which will be housed in the old Brackenbury School building, Portland.

The naturally beautiful and geographically interesting Island of Portland, the inspiration for a wealth of artists, will also be used as a natural exhibition space for some of the pieces created specifically for the b-side festival.
One, by Hywel Davies, is driven by an ever present, natural element of the Island, the wind. Another, by Melissa Bliss, will play relaxing recordings of bird song from indigenous and visiting species imitated by local people.
‘The b-side Multi Media Festival is inspired by the flip side vinyl recordings and offers visitors the opportunity to explore our coastal resort with new eyes. It is not all Kiss Me Quick Hats, ice creams and amusements on the Weymouth Esplanade – there is more,’ says Festival Producer, Sandy Wilderspin. ‘Weymouth and Portland provide the perfect backdrop for this challenging contemporary arts festival where traditional landscapes are transformed into vibrant and ambitious exhibition spaces aimed at disrupting people’s preconceptions about the area and its cultural offering.’

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