Current Work

‘Augmented art trail’

Currently in initial stages of R&D. Watch this space for an augmented reality art project born out of thoughts behind Covid19 restrictions and enlivening neighbourhoods during Lock Down. Please see research tests below.

Augmented Spaces- test 2 from sarah-jane blake on Vimeo.

Augmented spaces- test 1 from sarah-jane blake on Vimeo.

‘A Fantastical Journey by Boat’

Developed for Splore Music Festival 2020 http://www.splore.net and with future touring in mind. A Fantastical Journey by Boat is an immersive performance and multimedia experience which takes you across a magical ocean. Join the Owl and the Pussy Cat on their Pea Green Boat and enter a transformed seascape where birds may fly backwards and icebergs could be pink. This is a one on one performance which explores virtual reality and eco-anxiety all with a nonsensical twist.

Audience feedback:Outstanding loved the messaging too.”,“First proper VR Trip. Amazing to be transported to another world. Important message too.”, “Stunning immersive experience.”,“Loved this experience-relevant, quirky and bringing VR down to earth.”, “Great creative experience with powerful hidden messages creating awareness for ocean pollution and care.”

Below is the Virtual Reality/360 film and further below a little bit about the performance and why it came about. Please note the VR film is to be used in conjunction with live performance and theatrical staging and is not intended to be watched without those in place. In performance a participant boards a real dinghy, either on sea or land, and the masked owl and cat take them for a row. While rowing the participant wears a VR headset and watches the film all incased inside a large fish head (mask). They are immersed into a different ocean landscape in another boat but with the same Owl and Cat (albeit film versions). The three in the boat, rowing, become a spectacle for audience/passers by. Watch this film on your phone and move the phone around to get a 360 view.

Film edited by James Blake @jamesblakefilm . Music composed by Alistair Maude-Roxby

Inspired by the fictionalised landscapes in the writing of the blog http://www.darthandstormy.com and not being able to carry many theatrical artifices on the boat VR appeared be an interesting option in terms of creating an immersive other world.

Within the imaginary seascape there’s an altered state, an underlying sense of unease , and confusion. The colours are saturated, there’s a chemical haze and the lens burns with heat, wildlife is not what it was . There are characters shouting but we can’t hear what they are saying, things are passing by but we can’t quite make them out. Ecological emergency symbols, broken toys from a child’s dream, scale changes as the Owl and Cat become puppets/dolls (frozen in their fate, they are pulled by larger forces). There are perhaps infinite dimensions of reality at play. 

The Owl and Cat are suffering from an overwhelming anxiety about the environmental future, about the changing seascape. All they do, for now, is row on. 

Sarah-Jane is in experimenting with multi- media to create new aesthetics and new meanings or emotional curiosities. Drawn towards false facades, the grotesque, fairground rides, games and play, the work blurs the boundaries between adult and childhood asking us to look back into our pasts and forward to our futures. 

This is a project in its early development stages. Perhaps the theatrics will go, the facade may collapse and we may face up to our adult selves. Perhaps the space of the owl and cat will be filled with real people in the real islands and landscapes we visit because fact, as it turns out so strongly in our current present, is stranger then fiction. 

‘Adventures by post’

Inspired by Edward Lears nonsense poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’ the Owl and Cat share their adventures, fictionalised ocean going stories, by writing postcards to individuals and posting them (the old fashioned way) each month. Each postcard reveals a secret AR (Augmented Reality) mixed media art work/art film integrated within the card. 

The post card project is an interactive art project with cards being sent to Subscribers, young and old, all over the world. Please see www.darthandstormy.com for more details.

Feedback: “Kids are still looking at it daily and checking out the AR very clever!”, “Great idea and so creative it is a bit of magic in the letterbox.”, “Can’t wait for the next instalment we all love reading the next adventure.”, “Ahoy there Owl and Cat, We are loving receiving your amazing postcards. I look forward to them every month. So fantastic.”