Monday, October 16, 2006

Berg och Dalbana

‘Berg-och-Dalbana’ is a series of filmed performances presenting the interventions of ‘Lisalouise’ at the derelict workers village of Portavadie on west coast of Scotland. Sound artist Matt Wand collaborated with ‘Lisalouise’ on this project.

Portavadie was built in the early 1970’s, during the infancy of North Sea oil exploration, as a construction yard and worker accommodation facility. The campus itself could be described as a modernist take on Scottish vernacular style architecture with it’s rendered white concrete structures. Unfortunately, the yard was abandoned before it went into production and is now a series of fully furnished yet never occupied cottages that have become overgrown with plants and overrun by sheep.

‘Lisalouise’ worked with the interior corridors, rooms and spaces of Portavadie as initial inspiration as well as the performance space. The doorways, window frames and natural light sources were appropriated to create partially obscured, spotlit views of the performance activities.

The accompanying audio presents the reworking of the seminal rock anthem ‘Hocus Pocus’ by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus. ‘Hocus Pocus’ was a number one hit for Focus in the early 1970’s and was so popular that Polydor allocated all it’s record pressing facilities to this one song. Focus was formed by Thijs Van Leer, Martin Dresden and Hans Cleuver and the quartet where the first to apply the traditional vocal technique of "yodelling" to this modern popular classic.

Portavadie and the song ‘Hocus Pocus’ have been married together by ‘Lisalouise’ to create a modern day 'prog rock' opera. Both are all but forgotten forces of the early 1970’s and ‘Berg-och-Dalbana’ presents a snap shot of a time, reliving the heady moment of brutal modernist architecture, economic progress and yodelling.

Berg och Dalbana was supported by Castlefield Gallery in Manchester and funded by the Arts Council of England and Scottish Television Media Group.


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