I was intrigued by artist Louise K Wilson’s additions to the 1975 movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. Her new work Missing Scenes: An Evening at Hanging Rock was commissioned by Spacex as part of Topophobia and presented at Exeter Phoenix as a one-off event on 6th July.
Louise K Wilson showed Peter Weir’s (shorter) director’s cut in its entirety, along with various audio and visual interventions, the most prominent of which were snippets of recorded interviews with Devon locals Val Bogan, Joe Loxton and Michael Calver. They talked informally about their impressions of the book by Joan Lindsay, on which the film is based. Wilson also gave a tantalising hint of the contents of the final (missing) chapter, which offers a solution to the mystery at the heart of the story.
I enjoyed seeing this excellent film again, and hearing different views of the novel as we went along (though, as my companion pointed out, it was bit like watching TV when someone else has control of the remote and keeps hitting pause). However, I confess to feeling slightly puzzled about what Louise K Wilson intended by taking on this iconic film for a rework. The event felt like an exploration of mystery and uncertainty, the activities of speculation and explanation, the inevitable blurring of fact and fiction and the multi-layered meanings of texts…
Perhaps it’s only right that I really can’t be sure.
Permission to post this text kindly granted by Gabrielle Hoad
We’re really looking forward to this week of Arts Award activities (6–10 August), we’ve had a lot of interest and are aiming for it to be a vibrant and dynamic experience for the young people involved, with excellent value for money.
It’s a first for us to offer this Award in a week – both Spacex and Exeter Phoenix have been running Arts Award for a few years now but thought it’d be a good idea to offer this focussed time within a holiday club format to achieve the award and really get it under your belt. Going back to school in September with a certificate under your belt should be a real springboard into the new school year. We’ll be taking the young people around a range of venues around town – the museum, other galleries, theatres – maybe even ECFC! Both Spacex and Exeter Phoenix have good links with a variety of organisations and artists and other creative practitioners and it’ll be great to share these with the young people. Arts Award is a brilliant way for young people to gain new skills and meet with like minds, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that this pilot will become a regular part of what we offer. For more info click here or to book a place email firstname.lastname@example.org
Topophobia curator Anne Eggebert talks about the current exhibition Topophobia. See below…