Blog posts by year and month March 2012
Today not only marks St David's Day in Wales but also World Book Day, the annual celebration of books and reading. Earlier this week school children from across Wales took part in a literacy and film event, Mission Possible, with Welsh stars Owen Sheers and director Marc Evans at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Owen Sheers, Leighton Andrews and Marc Evans at Mission Possible Organised by education charity Filmclub, children learnt about film and film reviewing from the star guests at the event, who also included writer Grahame Davies and Welsh children's poet laureate Eurig Salisbury. The pupils who attended, from 13 different schools across the country, enjoyed a free screening of Fantastic Mr Fox, adapted from the novel by Cardiff-born author Roald Dahl, plus workshops in review writing in English and Welsh. The day culminated in a ceremony with awards for some of the students. Marc Evans' latest film Hunky Dory is released tomorrow, 2 March, and stars Minnie Driver and rising Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard. Sheers, who is currently immersed in the world of rugby and Six Nations as he is the artist in residence with the Welsh Rugby Union, said, "Watching a diverse selection of films at Filmclub broadens a child's horizons, introducing them to new ideas, cultures and creative influences. Filmclub members and Owen Sheers in a review writing workshop "Following the film with a written review is a fantastic way to deepen and enhance this experience. When we write we think, and in having to shape a written response to the film the children will be encouraged to develop their own critical abilities, making the film experience as a whole increasingly active rather than passive."
Three Welsh bands are getting a St David's Day treat as the British Council, in partnership with Cardiff's Sŵn festival, will broadcast a live event with three up-and-coming Welsh bands. Truckers Of Husk, Kutosis and Gallops will have material broadcast on the British Council's international radio show, The Selector, this Saturday (3 March). The Selector is aired across 33 countries with audiences in excess of four million, say the British Council Hywel of Truckers Of Husk "The Selector gives people around the world the chance to experience UK music and for up-and-coming bands to connect with new audiences," said a Council spokesperson. "The show is broadcast in 33 a range of countries around the world, from China to Mexico, Indonesia to Malawi (including NME Radio in the UK), as well as on British Airways' in-flight radio." Hywel Evans of Truckers Of Husk said: "We as the Truckers of Husk play no shows, write prog rock for menchildren, release records slower than it takes than a diamond to form and have faces for radio, so this an ideal opportunity to kill four million birds with one stone." John Rostron of Sŵn said: "Saturday's show brings together three incredible bands from Wales. As an event, it's a cracking line up of three bands we've championed through Sŵn Festival. "The fact that the show will be recorded for broadcast, with all the crowd chants, applause and noise too, and be broadcast across the world on Selector Radio is a real treat for these emerging acts. It's an amazing opportunity to showcase to the world just how good music is from Wales." Feel free to comment! If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.
An interactive art installation that will act like a human windchime, creating sounds in reaction to the movements of passers-by, is being planned for Cardiff city centre. The idea is the brainchild of Neil Cocker. Although he's worked for many a year in the creative industries this project will be his first foray into the creation of an artistic installation. I recently talked to Neil about the project, which came about, by his own admission, partly by accident. Neil's idea for the project started with a chance conversation with Emma Price, an art consultant who works with organisations to commission art work in the public realm. "I was chatting to Emma about interactive art and, because my background is in music, interactive audio art in particular. I was showing her a couple of videos of examples of things that I like." This eventually led to Cocker pitching an idea for an audio artwork installation project to the board of the commissioning body, Land Securities and Capital Shopping, who jointly built and run the new shopping complex St Davids 2 in Cardiff. The project recently got the green light, and the plan is for the audio artwork to be installed on the underpass between the two parts of the shopping centre on Hills Street, just off The Hayes. Though the details for the project are very much subject to change at this early development stage, as Neil mentions on his website discrete rows of sensors will be installed across the thoroughfare, with each being assigned a different sound; "probably using a major pentatonic scale, so that every note will sound pleasant and harmonic with every other." By walking under the sensors people will interact with the installation, whether they're aware of it or not, as their movements will trigger different sounds. The theory is that passers-by will act like "a human breeze that creates a wind-chime of beautiful sounds. The busier the underpass, the heavier the 'breeze'." The green rows show where the sensors could be installed. Photo: Neil Cocker Although not an artist by profession, Neil said that during his pitch he tried to convey that he was interested in "bringing a small moment of joy to the day of anybody who interacts with the artwork". "I think sometimes we can get a bit blind to static art," he said. "With something interactive, even if you interact with it unintentionally, it can make a difference. "I'm keen for this to be an interactive artwork both while in situ but also as part of the creation of it. But also it's an ongoing creation, as there's scope to upload different sounds, whether that's different sounds for different times of day or different times of year. There's loads of ways in which people could interact with it, and there's no reason why we couldn't have people from all over the world contributing sounds." The interactivity element is key to the installation. "Because I'm not 'an artist' and because I'm not necessarily creating something that people would look at and appraise in an artistic sense, there didn't seem to be any point in creating something other than interactive and accessible. I don't have the artistic background or ability to make something that people could appreciate from afar. "I just want to create something cool that makes people smile. There's no other artistic agenda. If people can walk through on their way to work on a miserable morning and smile for a few seconds at the sounds of chimes or tinkling bells, that's job done as far as I'm concerned." I'm no artist either, but I can't think of a more heart-warming, positive philosophy to have. Neil is looking for potential collaborators with the relevant technical skills to help him get the project off the ground. For more information and to keep up-to-date with the project, visit Neil's blog, neilcocker.com.