This ten day contemporary arts event in the historical city of Winchester, from my experience, was rather interesting in terms of the arts displayed and its literature and scientific aspect.
On the first Sunday of ‘Creative Collisions’ I attended a public performance at the Theatre Royal Winchester titled ‘Accelerate!’, which taught the audience how the great Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland functions, with on-stage demonstrations. The show was by members of the Physics department from our very own University of Southampton, with Physicist Joe Spencer, previous student Olivia Keenan, and Phd student Tobias Tsang. I must say, although I learnt much of the LHC, this performance was much more of a Physics lecture for children and adolescents, with audience participation. Although it was rather humorous at times throughout, with Joe Spencer making amusing remarks to the children participating on stage, such as references to Luke Skywalker and his light sabre, I have to conclude that there were not enough scientific demonstrations but more powerpoint presentation, which made the performance less emotionally gripping. Nonetheless, it was interestingly factual, and hopefully added to any scientific knowledge I learnt from my old school days.
Moving on to the other side of the spectrum, four days later I attended a poetry workshop with the poet in residence, Dr Alwyn Marriage, at Winchester Cathedral. It was rather surreal and peculiar at first. I sat at a table, right in the middle of the South Transept of the Cathedral, surrounded by drifting tourists, with a local photographer who was documenting the whole ten day event, lurking around taking photos of us. By this point I was already feeling uncomfortable, and then I saw the other participants around the table. There were three, and all were at least 40 years older than me, if not more. What was rather humorous though was that we were all coincidentally wearing glasses. A silly fact to mention I know, but it felt strange to me. It must have looked like a group of intellectuals with decades of knowledge and experience behind them, with me sat in the middle looking like a juvenile who has accidentally signed up for the wrong workshop. Nonetheless, it did turn out to be interesting. We read through a lot of poetry, some modern, others at least a hundred years old. The writing was rather intense, as I had to admit to Dr. Marriage that it had been over ten years since I had last wrote any poetry, which made me feel a little more out of place. But they were all very talkative and friendly, and found it marvellous that someone as young as myself had signed up for this workshop. I guess all in all it was rather good, as I discovered the names of many other poets and learnt a great deal from the experience.
In addition, I saw Stephen Cooper’s large hangings in the North Transept which were rather spectacular, very vibrant and contrasted heavily with its surroundings. I saw in the Guildhall Courtyard our very own Andrew Carnie’s artist film, based on the condition Autism and how it affects the individual. He presented his work very artistically in an almost pitch dark room, with an eerily spiritual back ground soundtrack to accompany the slide show. I found it intently moving and mentally gripping. It really caught my attention in a way a science lecture could never do.
Overall, from what I have seen through this past ten day event, ‘Creative Collisions’ was successful in putting across different attitudes towards different forms of art, and educated the local public with altered perspectives on what contemporary arts are in the 21st century.