On Saturday 11th September, a team from Wildworks travelled down the road to Portland. Literally! There is one road in and one out to what is a stunning mix of long expanding Chesil Beach, winding town streets and the welcoming community living on Portland. Over the weekend we ran several drop-in sessions at b-side festival, assembling wild encounters; the big and the small from home-dwelling guineapigs to soaring falcons. We were joined by local artists, participants and festival workers. The participants’ contributions were then edited into a provocative and poetic finale that was projected onto the Bird Observatory lighthouse in the evening.
Rather than telling you ourselves, we’ve asked Sophie Fretwell and Joe Myles, two people from our local Portland team, to share their experiences of the festival.
Sophie Fretwell, Local artist
“For the Earthlings Assemble project, I delivered workshops, on Portland, based on the activities created by Wildworks. I worked with groups of kids at St George’s school, who helped me discover some new animals by playing a game of consequences – this was a lot of fun; the kids had a riotous end-of-term energy that day and they really enjoyed swapping over and adding to another groups’ drawing. The big reveal at the end was also a chance for the kids to introduce their new species. I also delivered workshops for families at Portland Museum and during b-side festival.
At the Portland Museum and b-side workshops, I brought along some air-dry clay and modelling tools, so that the kids could sculpt the animal they had “discovered”. I think people really enjoyed this, it was nice for the kids to get a takeaway out of the workshop and I like how intense, slow and meticulous kids are about sculpting (every detail had to be right on a mermaid-cat!). It was also a chance for me to chat to the families about animals, their favourite species, and how they felt about art projects like Earthlings Assemble. The families who booked on the b-side workshops, in particular, seemed very excited that their drawings could be a part of an art piece.
I loved the final projection, the atmosphere at the location was magical (especially the sound of the crickets!) and I hope that some of the kids came to see their drawings.”
Joe Myles, Local Technician
“I was approached by Wildworks to work as a technician on their Earthlings Assemble event and I had worked with a few members of the company several years ago. As I live on Portland, it was a novel experience to work on the island, especially in one of its iconic lighthouses, lugging moving lights and projectors up and down the spiral staircase! Having worked in education the last few years, before which I spent most summers working on festivals, I really appreciated working outdoors again! I’ve now resolved to seek out some more outdoor work to fit around full-time employment.
I really enjoyed the participatory element of the event, allowing people to be part of the projections was a really nice touch, especially seeing my wife and daughter projected onto the lighthouse. It was a great event, both to work on and for the members of the public who attended, including the bewildered dog walkers who just happened to wander by.”
Photo Credit – Sophie Fretwell
The Earthlings Assembly is still looking for members… Enter Earthlings