Bella - an artist's perspective
Bella is a new interactive online artwork created especially for Penrith and Eden by Eden Arts. Videos are triggered by QR codes and lead you on a journey around Penrith town.
The process and direction of Bella has been in direct response to the difficulties posed by social distancing and lockdown conditions.
[Eden Arts Director Adrian Lochhead] “we have wanted to develop work in the virtual space for some time - we had one failed attempt at getting an AR project funded which we will be returning to now - as it is an area that we don't feel our sector has really exploited. We feel that we have to go beyond doing what we usually do and move towards works that are specifically made to exist in the virtual space, we already felt that and now the pandemic is increasing the need for new models of working. Bella is an experiment in that and our learning is already proving very promising…”.
Eden Arts Director Adrian Lochhead collaborated with writer Katie Hale, prehistorian Gavin MacGregor, filmmaker Andy Berriman and actor Natalie Bowers to create the new work.
[Adrian] We were inspired by things like Masquerade by Kit Williams, a picture book that promised hidden treasure to the person who could solve the clues hidden within its pages as well as Blast Theory's immersive theatre work Karen.
[Andy] "Working on Bella was a real joy. Opportunities to make films that are not only fun and inventive but immersive and interactive are rare. My experience of Eden Arts is that they are always looking to push boundaries without forgetting to make experiences accessible and enjoyable, and the most exciting aspect of this project has been walking the balance between challenging an audience without alienating them. Based on the experience I think we’ve created in a relatively short amount of time, I really hope we can develop this concept and take it to bigger and more adventurous places."
[Gavin]"Eden Arts invited us to playfully explore peoples relationships with the time depth of place and develop a work which evokes the spirit of the Winter Droving. Working with the creative team across arts, culture and heritage has been a powerful experience."
[Natalie] The collaboration that went into bringing Bella’s story to life was an exciting process for myself, and I think for the creative team as a whole - playing with these mystical ideas of time and culture – as her story became just as much our own, woven with our own perceptions of Penrith’s history for how it is, has been, and could be.”
"[Katie Hale] Working on the Winter Droving Trail has been like being allowed to play around with history, and to mythologise my own version of the world. Which is all a writer really wants, to be honest."
Go to www.edenarts.co.uk/bella for more info and start finding the clues...
Available from Saturday 24th October.