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Projection Studio Enchants the Parks

altLONDON - Projection artist Ross Ashton returned to Gateshead’s Saltwell Park for the Enchanted Parks 2012 event. His large format show “Glass House,” was a multimedia experience celebrating the work of Victorian stained glass artist, William Wailes. Ashton commissioned a photographer to visit all the churches in the area which still have intact Wailes stained glass windows, including St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle and others, which he used as original materials for his PIGI artwork.

More details from Projection Studio:

LONDON - Projection artist Ross Ashton returned to Gateshead’s Saltwell Park for the Enchanted Parks 2012 event, with a large format show “Glass House” celebrating the work of Victorian stained glass artist, William Wailes.

The six and a half minute piece was projected on to the front face of Saltwell Towers, Wailes’ magnificent former home in the grounds of the Park, and ran every evening for the duration of the after-dark experience.
It was accompanied by a soundscape created by Karen Monid and the whole work was designed from the start as an integral visual and audio narrative.

A single PIGI 6Kw projector with a double rotating scroller was used to project the images, fitted with a 25cm lens and located 35 meters (114 ft) away producing a 20 meter wide (65 ft) picture.

Challenging environmental conditions included temperatures down to -5ºC (23 degrees F) and 15 cm (6 in.) of snow on the ground, making it a tough working environment, but also added to the magic and ephemeral nature of the installation once up and running – which looked stunning.

“Glass House” juxtaposed the chemical reactions involved in the process of making stained glass against those of the Great Fire of Gateshead, which ripped through the heart of the city in 1854. The fire, though destructive, was followed by the rebuilding and regeneration of the city.

Ashton and Monid’s collaborative works are renowned for fusing specific themes and local history relevant to individual buildings with entertaining results.

Ashton commissioned locally based photographer Shaun Thubron to visit all the churches in the area which still have intact Wailes stained glass windows, including St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle and others, which he used as original materials for his PIGI artwork.

The audio script was derived from a number of mid-19th century resources including accounts of the Great Fire and printed documents from the 1851 Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, which enthusiastically embraced Wailes’ work.

Extracts were chosen by Monid and read by a local community group, the Friends of Saltwell Park. These were additionally composed as multilayered sound textures.

She also used multiple glass sounds and tones - both musically and as effects – including a rendition of local folk song, ‘The Waters of Tyne.’ All the original work was created and played back in stereo.

Ashton comments, “I was proud to be involved in Enchanted Parks again this year, and pleased with the results. The idea of bringing local history alive and reaching out to people in live installation like this is exciting and rewarding."

Enchanted Parks is organized by the Newcastle & Gateshead Initiative (NGI) and Magnetic Events.


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