The Quarry


Generic Sci-Fi Object

(The original text written before event)

A working quarry in Farington will be brought to life for 3 nocturnal live performances which will be open to the public: Hamilton & Rogers will try to recreate the much-loved special effects of 70's sci-fi shows on the quarry's futuristic landscape, using digital projections and sound to evoke the effects and locations from the likes of Blakes 7 and Doctor Who.

The soundtrack will be supplied by Mark Ayres, Brian Hodgson, Peter Howell and Paddy Kingsland who all worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Americans had deserts and strange rocky outcrops where Captain Kirk would crawl, phaser in hand, shirt ripped, to save a glamorous slave girl.
We had power stations, factories and quarries where cybermen and daleks would chase the frilly shirted or long-scarfed Dr Who and his assistants. Our sci-fi heroes ran around these places and we believed they were distant planets or space stations and even if we knew they were really power stations and quarries, we were still in wonder as these were places we were not allowed to visit; "Dangerous Places".

Quarries were the ideal alien planet, cut off from the rest of the world, semi underground, free from buildings of much note, temporary, dangerous, mysterious. In these places special effects explosions went unnoticed, robots and monsters could roam freely without disturbing the locals, and spacecraft could land without scaring middle England. Other more outlandish effects would be added later in the studios by means of models or hi-tech video effects, colour inversion and colour cycling became a common form of death in these low budget series. Death rays were lines of video interference superimposed between destroyer and destroyed. These effects were (along with good plots, music and scripts of course) to scare the wits out of the younger ones and keep the older kids (and adults) involved.

What if now we took those effects into the locations and gave them the scale they achieved in our imaginations?
What if death rays and explosions, dematerialisation and space travel all inhabited a vast stage we could explore?
Using digital effects Hamilton & Rogers can create optical effects to expand and contract the space, make us monsters or midgets, illusions that are hypnotic and dizzying, warping space and time.

To create this explosion of nostalgic space-time the artists will fill the "dangerous" space of the quarry with the kind of small-scale effects we once loved, blowing them up to the scale we imagined them and setting them to a BBC Radiophonic Workshop-inspired soundtrack.

Rory Hamilton is principal tutor in computer-related design at the Royal College of Art and has completed many commissions including the Film and Video Umbrella, Pandaemonium and Video Positive Festivals. Jon Rogers has a PHD from Imperial College, London, teachs electronics and has collaborated with Rory on several projects.