To celebrate Essex Book Festival, this month’s Ignite Chelmsford meet-up focused on the theme of Distributed Storytelling, which saw a range of local creatives come together at Foyles Bookstore to listen to our two guest speakers on the night.
Our first speaker was Lily Hunter Green, an artist and composer who combines science and art to create engaging installations which highlight the declining population of bees. Her work includes fascinating projects such as Bee Composed, which saw an old piano being converted into a beehive to create an interactive sound installation
Her most recent project, Silencing the Virus, communicates the latest research on the virus that is causing a steep decline in the global honeybee population. Lily conveys this through a visual installation of a digital honeycomb that has been artificially infected with the virus’s genome and incorporates the sounds and composition from the Bee Composed project.
This has been turned into an immersive experience open to the public, which will be coming to Chelmsford on the 30th-31st March (11am-3pm each day) and free to access in the Meadows Shopping Centre, Unit 5 (next to Warren James/opposite the Sky TV stand). Follow the hashtag #BeesintheMeadows on twitter for project progress.
It was fascinating to see how Lily combines molecular research and art to raise awareness about the threat to the bee population, in a way that is both accessible and engaging to the wider public, with one audience member saying it conveyed the research in a ‘non-alien form’, articulating her work as an artist and a science communicator perfectly. If you are interested in finding out more about Lily’s work, visit her website: www.lilyhuntergreen.com
Our second speaker of the night, Tassos Stevens, director of Coney HQ presented us with an equally engaging concept of immersive experiences, which places the participants at the heart of the action.
We heard about the different experiences available through Coney HQ, including Adventure One which involves meeting an associate in a secret location and following them into the heart of the financial district, with no other details made available to you. The sense of mystery and not knowing makes the experience thrilling for participants, as they are asked to follow certain tasks and complete certain challenges, whilst trying to blend in as a regular visitor or tourist.
Tassos also spoke about another interactive experience, A Small Town Anywhere, which brings together a room filled with mostly strangers, who wear hats and badges and become citizens of a town dominated by hierarchy and tribalism, with tensions between the ‘Wrens’ and the ‘Larks’, and where each citizen harbours a dark secret which may or may not be revealed during the course of the experience. With each decision the participants make, they curate the story, shaping the narrative as the experience unfolds.
It was great to hear about this concept and how stories can be told through not just reading about them, but through actually living them, bringing people together to confront unpredictable change and differences. If you are interested in learning more about Coney HQ, you can visit their website: www.coneyhq.org
The next Ignite Chelmsford Meetup will be Thursday 11th April at Hot Box Skate Shop with a theme of DIY Subculture. Asking how can we embrace the DIY ethic across all forms of culture in Chelmsford to better celebrate our hidden diversity? Our meetups are free or by donation, but registration is essential. Visit Eventbrite or Facebook for details.