“Up in the Air” popped up for a second time at the Relight My Fire festival of energy and the arts in Exeter last weekend. Indoors this time, and slimmed down without roof or games area. It just about fit in the space.
Relight My Fire is run by Regen SW, and is part of Part of Community Energy Fortnight. It brings artists to the streets and venues of Exeter to explore our relationship with energy past, present and future. The energising (and hopefully not enervating) programme includes performances, talks, workshops, activities and pop-up events.
In fact, Relight My Fire’s financial support helped make the pop-up possible. It was part of the RE:FRESH event in the Bikeshed Bar and Theatre.
Regen SW is building a network of creative practitioners who are developing work in the arts and energy space – This networking event will provide a platform for some of those artists to share details of their work and chat over drinks.
It was great to speak to some really interesting people doing great work in this area. One performance artist is living on 15 litres of water a day for a year, just 10% of the UK average. I offered her a loan of my water vapour particle! It featured among the “A Stitch in Time” greenhouse gases, but doesn’t fit easily into the data framework for “Up in the Air” so is sitting on a shelf at the moment.
Relight My Fire also included the launch of a new blog called Power Culture, which explores our energy generation through the arts. Clare has a couple of pieces on the blog, one about Particulart, the other about Didcot Power Station, as you do.
Exeter Green Fair on 5 September saw the debut of my new “Up in the Air” pop-up. Under a blue gazebo (the sky), I suspended eight pale blue hula hoops (clouds), and from these the eight greenhouse gases. I turned it round so the (0,0,0) of the axes was at the front-bottom-left, and the posters stuck to a panel at the back. The inflatable globe hung centrally, and the carpeted and cushioned games area was off to one side. Thankfully it didn’t rain, and the gusts were manageable!
I had loads of conversations with passers by, from the children who were drawn to the globe and the swinging particles (“be gentle!”), to a former colleague in the Met Office climate business, to scientists and knitters and people who were just interested.
The pop-up was kindly supported by the Relight My Fire festival of energy and arts. Its next outing will be at the festival, which will be happening across Exeter during 18-21 September.
Greenbelt is a Christian festival “Where faith, arts and justice meet”. Since 1974, it has brought people together to explore these issues, “to ask questions and suggest answers, to find moments of joy in art and music, and moments of celebration in our daily lives.”
In 2015, the Festival theme was The Bright Field, the title of a poem by RS Thomas. The programme included two Pecha Kucha events, each with six talks given by mostly visual artists. I was second in my set, sandwiched in between Katie Duxbury’s amazing costumes, and Kay Morrisson’s talk about paying tax forward and her very new project that may or may not be @TaxitForwardUK. As I said, mostly visual artists.
Pecha Kucha is a new way of doing Powerpoint presentations. There are 20 slides, which must be images only, no text, although one can cheat and have images of text. I also passed around a carbon dioxide molecule as a prop. The slides change automatically every 20 seconds, so the talk is 6 minutes 40 seconds in total. It becomes more of a performance than a presentation, and there was a lot of good energy in the tent. Most importantly for me, the audience laughed at the right places!
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