Working with emerging writers, directors and actors, The Caravan Theatre programmed by Robin Steegman brought mystery and immersive theatre productions to a small intimate audience of 4 people at a time. Performers in the 70s gold safari caravan this year included: Sammy Kissin, Judith Amsenga, Annemiek van Elst and Robin Steegman.
TROPE, designers in choreographed time, became artists in residence at the Kirkaldy Testing Works, taking inspiration from the 1874 building made to house the first tensile testing machine in the world. ‘Chain Reaction’ explored the fluid nature of time through action and re-action, in a series of playful, interactive and mechanical artworks. TROPE, working alongside 12 engineers, developed an audio-visual installation that synthesised digital and analogue technology to resuscitate and reframe the guts of the museum. Visitors journeyed through an interactive, liminal and immersive world where the basement space of Kirkaldy Testing Works was re-animated in a unique, ghostly ballet.
‘Time to be Late’ took to the streets. Part evocative bus journey, part site-specific theatrical experience, the public’s daily journey to and from work came alive through a series of energetic and humourous scenes that took place at bus stops and buses along Blackfriars Road. Performers included the award winning Natural Theatre Company who have been making people laugh in nearly 80 countries for over 40 years, and Scotty the Blue Bunny who performed his unique cabaret show.
Bompas & Parr invited you to make a wish in ‘The Chamber of Wishes’ – an immersive interactive installation in which visitors were able to focus on their hopes and dreams, while also experiencing one of the ocean’s great mysteries up-close and personal. By unveiling the lost rich history of springs, wells and grottos in London’s Bankside, and the rare phenomenon of bioluminescent sea water, Bompas & Parr's aim was to facilitate a truly unique merger between art, science, folklore and the mystery of the natural world. They had enlisted the help of Microbiologist Dr Simon Park to bring one of the ocean’s great secrets to light.
The Riverside Stage was on the river walkway by Millennium Bridge and showcased live music throughout the festival. The stage was curated to showcase and promote original song writing and musical talent. Bands this year included winner of the BBC 2 Folk awards ‘Stick in the Wheel’ and the adventurous seven piece band ‘Mishaped Pearls’, nominated for Best Song- Folk Singer in The Independent Music Awards 2014.
A musician and a neuro physiologist will discuss how music has an effect on people who interact with it. The discussion will culminate with a networking event where people who work in the Sciences can meet and talk to their opposite numbers from the Arts. The event is delivered in collaboration with the Dennis Rosen Trust, and will be taking place for the fourth year at MERGE.
Colourful Crossings sees one of the main arteries in Bankside, Southwark Street, transformed into an outdoor gallery with a series of on-street artworks which will bring pedestrian crossings to life. Colourful Crossings marks the first commissions made through the Avenue of Art initiative which will take art out of its traditional gallery contexts and transform public spaces. Better Bankside, a Business Improvement District (BID) which exists to make Bankside a thriving place to live, work and visit, has commissioned three very different artists to bring colour and animation to Southwark Street.
‘On Your Wavelength’ by Marcus Lyall and Rob Thomas was a site-specific interactive installation which used participants brain data and the latest light and sound technology to create a large-scale immersive light and sound installation. A new commission for MERGE 2015, this spontaneously choreographed digital artwork was created from intersecting thought patterns, via an EEG headset. The laser and sound would then amplify their brain activities to epic, architectural scale.
In celebration of TV Times 60th anniversary, and as part of the 2015 Merge festival, TV Times and Illuminate Productions showcased a selection of exclusive images from the TV Times vast archives. Many of these, were never seen before images from 6 decades and was on show at 2 venues in the Bankside area, The Blue Fin Building and Platform Southwark.
MERGE collaborated with Resonance fm to produce 4 x 1 hour programmes featuring artists, musicians and performers from the festival. Artists talked about their work, musicians played live, with discussions on topics such as history and digital art. Hosted by Art Terry and Angie Dixon.