GUEST BLOG: THE INCHCOLM PROJECT AND WORKING WITH OTHERS PT. 2

Earlier in the week we shared Part 1 of Mona Bozdog’s reflections on her experience with the Inchcolm Project. Below is part 2 for your viewing pleasure!

mona-bozdog-11We Throw Switches, Andrew Dyce and Craig Fairweather, are a curation and production duo, based in Edinburgh, who specialise in bringing incredible video games and other wonderful digital things out from behind closed doors and into amazing spaces. They were the creative force behind the design of the Dear Esther walkthrough experience, setting up the location for the projection and making sure that the game ran smoothly on the day.

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Dear Esther gameplay in the Abbey, photos by Erika Stevenson

The chosen location was the Refectory, a beautiful hall in the Abbey, that was used by the monks for coming together and sharing their meals. This space for communion seemed fitted as the audience would come together and witness the gameplay after their solitary experiences on the island.

On live music, I collaborated with Mantra Collective who are a brilliant ensemble of musicians, artists and filmmakers who produce and perform live multisensory experiences with music for film, games and media. Led by composers Luci Holland and David Jamieson, the group experiment with live music and dynamic visuals. Luci and David arranged two of the songs from the Dear Esther Soundtrack, Always and Ascension, composed by Jessica Curry, for the final orchestral performance, as well as instrumental solos for the musicians to perform in various locations around the island. Dressed in period costumes, in wind-battered locations, these amazing and passionate musicians spent hours in the cold with their hands freezing on the instruments and brought music into places that have only heard wind and seagulls.

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Inchcolm Project installations. Designed by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita. Photos by Erika Stevenson.

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Mantra Collective in Inchcolm Abbey, Michael Ready – Flute, Luisa Brown – Violin 1, Anna Fraser – Violin, Atzi Muramatsu – Cello, Lewis Shaw – Double Bass, David Jamieson – Keyboard, Doug Kemp – Accordion, Luci Holland – Vocals, Gracie Brill – Cello. Photo by Erika Stevenson

Abigail McMillan and Adam Thayers are the heart of Inchcolm Project, without their help in organising and running the production, stage management and technical aspects of the project, I would have not had the time and space to observe and reflect on the processes and outcomes of the project. Abby and Adam coordinated between them all the practical aspects of production, arranging pick-ups and drop-offs, staying on top of the two way-communication system, arranging transport for the team, putting calls out, making sure all the locations are re-set in-between performances, and keeping us all safe, warm, hydrated and fed, sometimes against our will.

The team was joined by seven RCS and Abertay students and graduates who responded to our call for collaborators, without whom setting up and running the event would have been impossible. Dan Allan, James Gaffney, Riona Gilliland, Leo Graham, Jennifer Logan, Rosie Orford, Calum Patterson and John Bruin all went above and beyond, powering through sea-sickness and raging waters, pouring rain and high winds and, wet to the bone, managed to set up, steward and wrap up everything that went into two hectic days and two consecutive runs, followed by two post-show discussions. The logistics of it all, getting people on the island and back, making sure that the audiences are stewarded both on water and on land, were hectic and dynamic, they required a lot of thinking on your feet, adjusting, adapting and improvising. No easy task, so I am not biased when I say that we had an amazing team.

Mona Bozdog

Some of the team waiting to embark, photo by Erika Stevenson

Team Inchcolm had a whopping 24 members. Before I talk about ‘my’ research project, I need to start by talking about the people who make this research possible, who believe in learning through making, and in creative collaboration, who followed me to an island in a middle of a storm, built a beautiful world and created a memorable and safe experience for 50 participants.

Mona Bozdog is a second-year PhD candidate undertaking an Applied Research Collaborative Studentship, funded by Abertay University and The Scottish Funding Council, through the SGSAH. The research project is a partnership between Abertay University, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The National Theatre of Scotland. 

If you’ve enjoyed reading about Mona’s experiences and would like to share some of your own, please get in touch with the SGSAH team – email admin@sgsah.ac.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for regular updates on all the latest happenings and opportunities we have to offer.

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