Blow Up (2019) x 3 looped

Blow Up is an artwork that reflects back to the days of children working at Sandwell Hall around the turn of the century, when it was a training facility for them to learn to work as servants. We engaged with…

Blow Up (2019) x 3 looped

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Blow Up is an artwork that reflects back to the days of children working at Sandwell Hall around the turn of the century, when it was a training facility for them to learn to work as servants. We engaged with children and young people at the Priory Primary School and the Phoenix Collegiate to explore what life may have been like, for someone like them, who were resident at Sandwell Hall at that time
(the Hall was built on the site of the Old Priory and was demolished in 1928).

On Thurs 9th May 2019 staff, children/young people and adult volunteers gathered together for a group photograph in front of a small audience. After a minutes silence, a pyrotechnic was set off nearby to create a very loud bang. This was the exact moment we wanted to capture, filmed in slow motion to scrutinise their involuntary responses to an invisible stimulus: instinctive reactions rather than intellectual ones. We wanted to burst the bubble of ‘cultural deference’ and symbolically release generations of children who lived in the past, from a life spent ‘in service’ and to celebrate the potential for social mobility and self determination.

Everybody involved was fully aware of what was going to happen, but how do you prepare yourself for such a moment?

Commissoned by Multistory as part of the Blast! festival.

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