London’s MERGE Festival has announced that this year’s theme will be ‘Art and Science’. The free programme of events will include truly innovative and ambitious works of art which celebrate science, discovery and encourage participation.
MERGE is an annual arts festival which draws upon the rich heritage and contemporary culture of Bankside. For one month this autumn, unique spaces in Bankside will be transformed as major names from the UK and international art world stage exhibitions, installations and musical performances alongside emerging artistic talent.
MERGE Festival is curated by Illuminate Productions and is supported by Tate Modern and the Business Improvement District, Better Bankside. The festival runs from 18th September – 19th October 2014. Highlights from the many events will include works from artists including;
Alex Chinneck who created the ‘Minor on the Moon’ (also known as ‘The Upside Down House’) on Blackfriars Road at last year’s MERGE Festival. This year Alex will present ‘A Pound of Flesh for 50p’, a life size construction of a house made from wax bricks that will gradually melt, leaving just the roof on the floor at the end of the festival. The artwork explores the science of melting points and celebrates the history of an area that once housed the largest candle-making factory in Southwark. Architectural features such as double-glazed windows, drainpipes and a tiled roof will enhance the installation and bring it to life.
Art duo Bompas and Parr, known for their conceptual art style will transport their audience into a world inhabited by the dead using a ‘wearable’ installation. Sensed Presence, is a unique headpiece which when worn affects the part of the brain most susceptible to supernatural experiences. In such a historical area that was heavily affected by the blitz, plague, body snatchers as well as supporting a prison, operating theatre and major hospital, there are so many sightings of ghosts and other paranormal activity in Bankside.
British visual artist Peter William Holden combines art and music with science via robotic engineering. For MERGE Festival 2014, Holden presents works including ‘SoleNoid’, tap dancing shoes that spring to life in a symphony of rhythms and taps activated by members of the public at the control panel.
Caroline Jones, curator of MERGE Festival said “One of our aims is to create an interactive experience which engages a universal audience with science and the arts through a stimulating series of collaborations, events and installations.”
Alex Chinneck, artist said “my practice unites the disciplines of art and architecture by entering sculptural considerations into the context of our built environment. MERGE Festival is a fitting and fantastic cultural stage for me to produce and present my forthcoming project. I create surreal spectacles that blur fantasy with familiarity to elevate the everyday world that surrounds us. My work for this year’s festival is born from and belonging to the place in which it stands, making the site-specific experience unique to MERGE 2014 and excitingly finite.”
Donald Hyslop, Chairman of Better Bankside and Head of Partnerships at Tate Galleries, says “We’re really excited to present MERGE for the fourth year. Bankside is a unique part of London and MERGE is a unique festival. Every year we explore new spaces and work with artists and musicians to open them to the public. Building on last year’s critically acclaimed works ‘The Upside Down House’ and ‘House of Pain’ this year we will be taking our audiences to another dimension. And of course the greatest part of MERGE is seeing locals, Londoners and visitors interacting with the installations and enjoying the events and performances.”
Top Photo: Alex Chinneck A Pound of Flesh for 50p 2014