Have you heard? The Skeleton Park Arts Festival is kicking off on June 20-24! This festival does a beautiful job at sharing and displaying the work of Kingston’s most talented artists and brings the community together for great food and music. A very exciting installation being featured is by Don Maynard called the Skeye Project. It will feature the work of local filmmakers on a floating movie screen held up by helium balloons. Oh the whimsy! Something you should be sure to check out. Don has answered a few questions via email about his work and upcoming show (June 22 – 9 pm in Friendship Park) below. Read on to learn more.
Keep up with Kingston: Please share a bit of your background in creative projects like the Skeye Project?
Don Maynard: It was ten years ago in 2007 in Kingston that I did a similar project, Tidal Mass at the NGB studios, which involved a large public installation in collaboration with about 13 musicians. NGB Studios, Kingston. There were 1,850 used fluorescent light bulbs, steel, 250 compact fluorescent light bulbs, steel rods and it was 29″ x 32′ x 54′.
When I was working on Tidal Mass I was reading The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery. Inspired by the melting of the polar ice caps, Tidal Mass floods the entire floor of a warehouse with thousands of used fluorescent light bulbs. The piece is illuminated from both below and above, giving the impression of undulating waves. Commonplace objects, in this case fluorescent light bulbs, are transformed into a hybrid natural landscape through their use and repetition on a large scale.
13 local musicians played from 12 midnight to 6 am for this 24 hour event.
KUWK: Tell me why you chose the method of projecting local film artist’s work on a floating movie screen?
DM: A friend of mine Bill Penner asked me if I had any completely crazy ideas that I wanted to do. Three years later we developed the Skeye project.
To my knowledge a projection like this has never been done before anywhere else in the world. The screens unique characteristic that it is dynamically changing its shape adds an interactive and live component to the video that is being projected onto it. The artists have to consider these qualities when creating their work; its moving and flying 6o feet over the audience heads all in the context of the night sky. It’s an exciting challenge.
KUWK: Tell me about the filmmakers you chose for this project and why?
DM: These are artists whose work I consider to be experimental and whose work I thought might suit this unique type of projection, they have done some great work and I am very excited to see what it is like on the screen. It will be a surprise for everyone involved.
KUWK: How long did it take to get the logistics of the floating down?
DM: A lot of discussion and planning was involved, about 2 years. Its still evolving, I consider each show an experiment.
KUWK: Tell me about the local musicians who will also be taking part in the event?
DM: Its a fabulous fusion of improvisational jazz and experimental music. These are some of Kingston’s best musicians.The lead is the amazing Hugh Box who has brought this five-piece group together.
Claire Bouvier – Violin
Hugh Box – Keyboard
Scott Carey – Trombone
Andy Pesz – drums
John Torres – guitar
I chose these musicians having played with most of them and knowing that they all have a passion for improvisational music. Andy, Scott and I have created some loose formal frameworks for the performance. We workshopped a wide variety of ideas and musical moods while viewing various segments of video shared by Don. The process was whimsically organic and entirely collaborative. We discovered as we “composed” that each of us had some musical gifts to bring to the whole.
We seem to bridge a wide spectrum of genres, from soulful to jazzy to funky and ambient. It’s a unique sound I believe.
KUWK: What do you love about the opportunity to participate in the Skeleton Park Arts Festival?
DM: The community is out in droves celebrating its the music and its art- everyone knocks themselves out to make this a sensational experience for all involved. Kudos to Greg Tilson and his team, the artistic director for making it happen!
KUWK: Anything else you would like to share?
DM: If you miss this show you will kick yourself.