Tickets go on sale today for b-side, the multimedia arts festival featuring nine days of innovative contemporary art across Dorset’s Isle of Portland from September 8th-16th.
The biennial event is returning with an ambitious programme of artists, creating unique pieces of work which will be scattered across the island’s magical landscape, echoing the festival’s ethos of entertaining, informing and provoking debate with experiences and art.
b-side works in harmony with the history, geology and character of Portland, and visitors are treated to immersive, stunning and surprising experiences which leave a lasting impression.
Laura Hope will be creating the roar of thousands of fans at the Portland Stadium Bowl. Using sound technology, she’ll conjure up the stuff of dreams for any young footballer, lucky visitors will be able to experience being cheered on by the crowd, when in reality there are only terraces of trees.
The 19th Century gun placements of the High Angle Battery, which faced the sea off Portland to warn away invaders, were the inspiration for Raphael Daden’s ‘What Would You Fight For?” an installation using illuminated texts which will explore why humanity always feels the need to defend and attack.
The family-friendly entertainment of the Portland Promettes, led by Miss High Leg Kick, will be roving across the island, popping up in various locations to amuse and inform with their synchronised dance pieces, audience interaction and comedy.
To prompt audiences to think about the increasingly dangerous issue of air pollution, London artist Leni Dothan will create the Portland Stone Rehabilitation Centre, a haven for specially made sculptures of pollutant-reactive material from the capital who are being brought down to Dorset for some much-needed rehab. Visitors are invited to watch as they transform in the clean air, before their eyes over the festival period.
Tapping into b-side’s inventive, quirky side, Jon Borez has dreamt up the Portland Lookalike Agency as a response to the widely-accepted notion that becoming a celebrity is a short cut to riches. The ‘stars’ of this agency, drawn from the real residents of Portland, will become celebrity lookalikes for the festival.
The Portland Office for Imaginary History which proved so popular in 2016, will return to take visitors on a tour of mythical locations, people and non-existent sites of real interest, ticket holders can join them to learn about the fictional Tophillians and Underhillians and plenty more.
The tales of the Portland Bois, a local gang enshrined in Dorset folklore, will be brought to life by Caitlin Akers, who is using the story of the gang to create a series of posters and flyers which will wryly examine, from an outsider’s point of view, the potential strangeness of growing up in a place unlike anywhere else in the UK.
A group of students from Budmouth College worked with Bootworks Theatre and produced a piece of theatre called We Could Be Heroes. The show explores the modern fascination with the idea of having a hero, while simultaneously looking at the evil lurking in the world today.
Visitors to b-side can have their image captured by artist Farhad Berahman, who is building an Afghan Camera Box (also known as a karma-e-faoree), a traditional method of capturing memories used by street photographers in Afghanistan and Iran. Copies of the photographs will be available within minutes for visitors to take away.
These are just a snapshot of the huge programme coming to b-side this year, with plenty of other shows, tours and experiences taking place across Portland.
Sandy Kirkby, Festival Producer explains: “This year the programme is more diverse than ever, with light installations, sound and dance all intertwined with Portand’s unique history and mythology. 2018 is set to be b-side’s biggest year yet and we’re inviting people to head down to explore the magic.”
Supporters and Funders:
Headline Sponsor: Pennsylvania Castle Estate
Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation
Heritage Lottery Fund
Kellie Hasbury, Plaster, T: 0117 9530320, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Izzy Salva, Plaster, T: 01179530320, E: email@example.com