Last night’s Nicer Tuesdays supported by Park Communications was an exhilarating joy-ride into galaxies far, far away with four speakers talking us through their space-inspired projects.
First up was the inimitable Nelly Ben Hayoun who rocketed through her amazing International Space Orchestra at NASA before unveiling her newest work, The Disaster Playground. It’s an exploration of “the design of emergency procedures” and her film talks to scientists, politicians, communication experts and the first response teams, to go beyond the cliched cinematic vision we have of what would happen if an asteroid hit earth. “There’s something very interesting about the way a culture deals with catastrophe,” she told us.
Next we were joined by super/collider’s Chris Hatherhill who told us that while we are familiar with a handful of iconic space photographs, there are thousands more that most of us have never seen. Super/collider’s Apollo 77 project (named partly in honour of the abandoned south London video store in which it was first exhibited!) brings this vast archive to a wider audience: “images that caught our eye in terms of their artistry, deliberate or not.” They vary from the sublime to the surreal and Chris is particularly drawn to the abstract, colour-streaked images created when astronauts fired off a few shots to end the rolls of Hasselblad film.
After the break we heard from Hefin Jones, founder of The Welsh Space Campaign. Playing off “the tension between the domestic and the cosmic,” Hefin looks at how Welsh skills, trades and cultural artefacts can be recontextualised as part of an intergalactic future. From working with his brother, a plumber, on a space suit (“It’s pretty much like a heating system innit?”) to using traditional woollen mills to provide the fabrics, Hefin’s mission is an inspirational tribute to the potential of participation as a mass cultural force.
Our final speaker was illustrator Ben Newman who was inspired to create a space book after seeing the dull offerings in the bookshop where he once worked, and by “the sense of fascination and wonder” in the illustration-heavy books produced before man walked on the moon. Ben worked with his physicist friend Dominic Walliman to create Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, and spoke about the challenges of making something both scientifically robust and simple enough for his target audience. Borrowing the four-colour print process from the space books of old, his became a huge hit and has been translated into nine languages.
Thanks to our sponsored Park Communications, everyone who came and to all the speakers. Nicer Tuesdays will be back on 29 July.
Founded in 1991, Park Communications is considered by many to be London’s preeminent printer. With a roster of both corporate and cultural clients, Park is a one-stop-shop to translate, artwork, print and bind literature of many different kinds, from the finest coffee table books and catalogues, through FTSE annual reports, to niche market magazines and brochures. Working closely with clients to develop bespoke creative solutions, Park’s reputation is built on the highest quality, reliability and flexibility.
They have brought their professionalism to both our Printed Pages magazine and the It’s Nice That Annual 2013, and we look forward to working with them in 2014 and beyond. To contact Park, email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website www.parkcom.co.uk.