Calderstones Park
8th – 12th October 2008, 7.30pm - 10pm
Tickets £3 advance door £5/£3 concessions

Reviewed by Alfonso Barata

Liverpool and beautiful Victorian Parks may not be the first image that springs to mind to most people who do not know the city yet one of the main surprises for the visitor or newcomer is the wealth of green spaces that dot the city, which are overall accessible and kept in good condition, something that comes close to what used to be called civic pride.

Parks such as Sefton or Princes’ Park are well-known for hosting different community and arts events throughout the year whereas Calderstones Park, an equally outstanding and prominent park does not normally feature large cutting-edge events.

So it is pleasingly surprising to see that the organisers of this ‘sound and light art installation’, as they put it, considered Calderstones as a site for this event, an excuse to go back to a fantastic setting.

As sunset falls, the park becomes a feast for the senses, stimulated by the mesmerising combination of sound, light, music, sculpture and the spoken word, creating an atmospheric environment that engulf the visitor on a trail of mixed media through parts of the park, which perfectly plays its role of host to a delightful guest.

Like in a maze, the visitor is lead through different spots where a surprise awaits, be this an old gramophone playing uncanny sounds, a display of flames following the rhythm of playful music or colourful and vibrant flowerbeds spinning around.

Wandering around this evocative installation, the visitor is invited to enter and explore the compelling world of sound and image that lays amongst the surroundings of Calderstones Park, a world full of mysteries that remain in between the realms of reality and fiction.

This project was originally commissioned by the Oxford Contemporary Music together with the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens and it brings together a number of artists who took their inspiration from the gardens.

It is part of the Capital of Culture 08 programme and one feels that this large and intriguing installation will be one of the highlights of this year’s programme.

It will not draw neither the crowds nor the media attention in the same way La Machine did, but this is collaborative and uncompromising art at its best.

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