Monday, 25 January 2010

Four Hundred Beach Balls. Millions of Possibilities!

Further meetings and logistics around the Ham House project - which grows by the day. A very good meeting with Gary and Jorge, where we not only began to really see a shape for the actual day emerge, but also managed to cut away at some of the Trust's safer certainties that in effect would undermine the participatory or celebratory nature of the event.

We've agreed to keep the spoken word to a minimum. No speeches. No celebrities and no formality. VIPs welcome, but only if they muck in. The atmosphere has to be nearer a rock concert than a lecture presentation. Despite it being a 400th anniversary Music, noise and colour are more important than a history lesson. There's an ongoing debate about a cake -which I'm against unless you can have one big enough to feed all 3,000 people with - but that's a bridge to cross in the future.

Instead we began to look at some of the spectacle. Can we use the back of the house as a canvass to drop material or banners down? How do we use the flag pole? Can we incorporate the Drama of the gates that lead into South Avenue.

One lovely idea was to have 400 beach balls bouncing about in the crowd during the singalong. Easy, fun and cheap!

In my mind the project is about celebrating the communities that surround the house. It's a perfect opportunity for community action and our work to begin with is to find, encourage and co-ordinate these groups so that many small actions come together to form an impressive whole. One inspiration is the way Jeremy Deller worked (on a much larger scale) with the people of Manchester last summer for the procession down Deansgate. Here's a YouTube clip to give a flavour.


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