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The way we make, distribute, receive and exchange art is radically changing through the power of digital technology. Ignite Somerset is dedicated to enabling artists, communities and audiences in Somerset to harness the new opportunities afforded through digital technology to create and experience greater artistic excellence and innovation. Ignite Somerset is funded by Arts Council England and delivered by Somerset Film.

Ignite Somerset artist surgery sessions are designed to build skills and confidence in digital creativity, whether that be: understanding how to record and edit sound, learning how to create animations, designing interactive applications or developing photography skills (amongst many ideas we can explore) . If you’re based in Somerset and would like to introduce a digital element to your artistic practice then do book an online session. We are able to offer these support sessions at no cost to the artist.

Ignite Somerset is a project managed by Somerset Film and funded by Art Council England.

Click here to apply for an online surgery!

Window Wanderland Throughout November 2020 we supported artist Andrea Oke in the production of animated sequences for the Somerset Art Weeks event Window Wanderland. 

Working with templates of nocturnal animals designed by Andrea, and inspired by participatory work at two Bridgwater schools, we created a sequence specifically designed for projecting onto the windows of Priorswood Community Centre.

Andrea said: “We’ve been using a combination of Photoshop and After Effects to create the snuffling noses of door mice, fluttering wings of moths and the gliding wings of an owl.”

Mothers in Lockdown Throughout September 2020 we supported theatre maker Selina Keedwell in the production of an online artwork for The Princess Theatre’s (Burnham-on-Sea) website. We provided support in the programming and designing of interactive elements of the application.

Selina said: “Mothers in Lockdown is a Recorded Delivery Verbatim, visual installation piece that seeks to capture the experiences of Mums in Somerset as they blindly navigate their way through Homeschool. The piece was constructed through Zoom interviews with the audio edited to represent nine different characters and experiences. Selina uses the Recorded Delivery Verbatim technique, speaking out the emotional experience of the character.

Wellington on Screen A couple of weeks before lockdown partners Somerset Film and Action Track Performance Company, facilitated the first of many planned music and filmmaking workshops with twelve residents of Wellington.  The plan was to produce a film, with a soundtrack intended to be performed live, to showcase at a new film festival Wellington on Screen in September 2020.  

Working within the lockdown boundaries set out by the government the group discovered ingenious ways of documenting the previously busy footpaths, streets, parks and supermarkets. Significant moments, such as the weekly clap for the NHS, never-before seen queues at supermarkets and wildlife reclaiming spaces, are all in the process of being filmed.  We plan to make the live performance come to life early 2021, teaser.

The 4th Plinth video game
 We produced a video game for the Quayside Festival 2020. The 4th Plinth developed out of a conversation we’ve been having as a team about the national debate regarding celebrating the lives of public figures in monuments and statues.

As you guide our intrepid adventurer through Bridgwater you’ll spot prominent buildings along the way including: Bridgwater Town Hall, The River Parrett Bridge, The Art Centre, Blake Museum and The Engine Room (home to Somerset Film). Collect gems as you progress through the town and unlock barriers. Journey through the secret hidden underground tunnels. Try and make it to the 4th plinth, but be careful not to bump into those pesky pigeons!

 

Tuning In This project provided an opportunity for patients on Meadow Ward at Williton Community Hospital to share and record memories. Patients, staff and volunteers worked together to capture some amazing, real life, stories. The Activity Co-ordinator, Kim Neall, said “it’s important future generations have the opportunity to glimpse into the past”.

The project sessions provided a framework in which patients were able to socialise and express themselves and, just for a moment, not have their ill health at the forefront of their mind. At the beginning of each session we projected a short archive film of Somerset to stimulate memories and inspire each participant to record their story. The result is a ‘digital wireless’, tune in to some lovely stories here.

Creative City Somerset We collaborated with Somerset NHS Partnership to facilitate an amazing arts and mental health project. The project took place at Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in Bridgwater and worked with clients of Bridgwater Adult Community Mental Health Services at The Engine Room.

Singer songwriter Vinny Peculiar of Tonic Music led the songwriting activities whilst we worked with the participants to create an animated music video. The participants created a storyboard  based on the lyrics they’d written with Vinny. The group decided to represent the characters in the video as silhouettes, this both anonymised the participants and referenced the fact that mental health is often hidden away from society. Finally, we got busy filming in front of the green screen and produced this music video.

Change Rooms In Your Mind For A Day In 2017 we collaborated with the Mind Art Group in Minehead. Together we produced a short film about: mental health, well being and creativity. The participants named the film ‘Change Rooms in your Mind for a Day’. The first few minutes, featured here, show Diana giving her impassioned account of the importance of creativity in her life.

We’ve now revisited the art group on a number of occasions and explored: stop frame animation, digital photography and filmmaking. 

Many thanks to lead artist Rachel Gundry for helping us produce this thought provoking film.

Liquidscapes In the summer of 2018 we ran our first Artist Residency project at The Engine Room. We wanted to provide an opportunity for a recent art graduate to return to Somerset and participate in a residency focusing on the creative potential of digital technology.

We appointed artist Shannon Watson, a graduate of Fine Art from Plymouth Art College. Shannon created an interactive video installation called Liquid-Scape inspired by her passion for wild swimming. The installation allowed visitors to manipulate video sequences by placing their hands in containers of water.

We showcased Liquid-Scape at The Engine Room for Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2018. Here’s a preview.

Flore Bunda In 2019 we hosted our second artist in residence Florie- Bunda. Florie was a recent Fine Art Graduate from Bath Spa University. She worked with us to produce an immersive 360 degree virtual environment that provided an insight into her interest in self portraiture and media representation of women. Florie states: “In my first meeting at The Engine Room I was introduced to the Samsung 360 camera and immediately saw the exciting potential. This opportunity made direct connections to the VR research I’d carries out as an undergraduate.”

In addition to producing a VR installation at The Engine Room for Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019 Florie kept a project blog, take a look here.

Here’s an insight into our collaborative work with Bridgwater based artist Sue Webber for Somerset carnivals. We worked with Sue to create the Victorian Projectionists, a quirky couple who appear to magically throw animated images onto people, objects and buildings. This was a great project that involved: costume and prop design, projection design, animation and live performance. The Victorian projectionists appeared in carnival processions in Bridgwater, Taunton, Glastonbury and Chard. Take a look!

This is a great example of how, sometimes, discreet and small projections can be really magical! Recently the Victorian Projectionists have taken a break and made way for other carnival interventions including portable projected computer games and outdoor projections.

Genesis We collaborated with artist Simon Hitchins to create a video installation entitled ‘Genesis’.

The sequence features a large rock sitting within a landscape. On closer inspection the rock, almost imperceptibly, appears to breath. See an excerpt here.

The artist said of the work: “The film can be viewed as a landscape painting, a still life or even a self-portrait.  I chose to use film because I wished to explore my ideas through a new medium, one that challenged how I went about making my art.  The process of making it was slow, and involved working with Ignite Somerset which in turn allowed me a greater degree of objectivity that I found rewarding.”

Grains of Truth video game We worked worked with artists associated with the 10 Parishes Festival to produce a video game featuring a character who navigates through the 10 parishes. The aim is to help the character collect grains of truth, when sufficient grains are collected the player is presented with a true and an untrue statement about the 10 parishes. The player decides which is the true statement and advances through the game.

The artists got involved in all aspects of designing the game, including sound/visual design and computer programming.