Few green lungs remain in our city centres while large crowds of citizens in one place for a purpose other than retail spend are seemingly discouraged. Authorities fear protest and disorder, when once our ancestors marched to ensure rest and recuperation for all. Instead the glass-housed exhibitions, pleasure palaces and exotic gardens are fast fading upon discarded photographs, replaced by at-home digital entertainment and discount foreign travel.
Places of Public Resort was a collaboration between North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, International Centre for Digital Content at Liverpool John Moores University and the BBC, commissioned by Liverpool City Council. It offered a giant video carousel that members of the public can scroll through using hand movements when stood in Clayton Square, picked up by a camera feed and interpreted via responsive software. This contained short news reports and clips dating between 1966 – 1986, largely chosen from the BBC North West Regional News & Documentary Archive that was donated to the NWFA when the BBC later moved to videotape formats.
Each of these reports was selected in response to the title theme, containing such diverse footage as the opening of the Liverpool International Garden Festival, a human birdman competition in Sefton Park, Les Dawson braving the biting winds of Blackpool beach, street parties, amateur wrestling, traveling fairs, bathing beauties cavorting in long-demolished lidos and Spandau Ballet descending by helicopter to 30,000 screaming fans at Haydock Park… many never seen since original broadcast.
Suffused with now-generation nostalgia and occupying a platform more commonly associated with contemporary and late-breaking news, the past became jumbled with the present as we encouraged observers to linger and look anew at how we choose to draw together in a collective wish for novelty and escape.
Produced and curated by Bren O’Callaghan
AWARDED LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC INSPIRE MARK