Friday 30th August
Saturday 31st August – Sunday 1st September
Thrills in Blackpool!
Join us for a trip to Blackpool, once Britain’s most spectacular seaside resort. Enjoy over 10 km of beach and promenade, the piers, fortune-tellers, the only surviving first-generation tramway of this country, fish and chip shops, the Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussauds, the attractions of the Pleasure Beach as well as an exhibition by artist Zoe Beloff, “Dreamland: The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and Their Circle, 1926-1972”. Walk the city with local guide, Kelly Walker, for a tour taking in the Winter Gardens, Comedy Carpet, Town Hall, Central Library and North Pier, then stay overnight for the opening of the famous Blackpool Illuminations.
Sunday 1st September
A day of wonderful open houses and guided tours around some of London’s most fascinating buildings. We’ve plenty of suggestions for places for you to visit on your own and peruse at your leisure, or join us for a guided tour;
4-5.30pm, ‘Secret Bloomsbury: Spies, Sorcerers and Scientists‘, with Mark Pilkington, writer and curator, and Ross MacFarlane, Research Officer at the Wellcome Library.
Click here for further information.
Monday 2nd September
2-3pm, ‘Occult Atlas: Aleister Crowley at the Warburg Institute’
Meet at the main entrance of the Warburg Institute, University of London, Woburn Square, WC1H 0AB (map).
A private viewing of the Gerald Yorke Scrapbooks on Aleister Crowley at the Warburg Institute with librarian Philip Young and artists Suzanne Treister & Richard Grayson. Click here for further information.
7pm, ‘Shows of London: Illegitimate Entertainment and Shop Shows in London 1800 to 1900’
Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT (map).
With Vanessa Toulmin, Director of the National Fairground Archive, Professor at the University of Sheffield.
Tuesday 3rd September
Tonight, make your way up the vertiginous winding staircase of the atmospheric Old Operating Theatre – the oldest in Europe, in the roof space of an English baroque church – for a night dedicated to Spectacular Anatomies. First, join Art Macabre for a drawing workshop in which you will have the opportunity to draw a real life Anatomical Venus. Following, enjoy two illustrated talks on the human body as spectacular object with Anna Maerker, Senior Lecturer, History of Medicine, King’s College London and John Troyer, Deputy Director, Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath. If you wish to draw, please bring paper; all other materials provided.
Thursday 5th September
From the heyday of Victorian spiritualism to the darkest hours of the Cold War, tonight’s presentations look at two of the more unusual directions taken by photographers and their chosen medium.
Alex Murray, Assistant Librarian and Archivist at Swedenborg House, will present a selection of unique, nineteenth century spiritualist images, texts, and artefacts from Swedenborg House’s Wilkinson Collection.
Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men, Far Out, and Strange Attractor overlord, will talk about the history of Kirlian photography and its role in US and Soviet espionage at the height of the Cold War.
Artist Alison Gill (London, UK) and photographer/independent researcher Shannon Taggart (Brooklyn, USA) will discuss the role of Kirlian photographic techniques in their own work, followed by a workshop demonstration during which Shannon will give everyone a chance to have their hands photographed.
Friday 6th September
Tonight, join Pat Morris, Lecturer in Zoology and mammal ecologist as well as author of the new book Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy (Constable and Robinson, 2013) at The Grant Museum for a lecture on the life and work of the iconic Victorian anthropomorphic taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. Following the talk will be a premiere of “The Walter Potter Suite” by musicians The Real Tuesday Weld, screenings of Potter related shorts, and musical accompaniment from DJ Stephen Coates to a Potter slide show. Books will be available for sale as well as signing and refreshments will be served.
Saturday 7th September – Sunday 8th September
Generally, the word spectacle refers to an event that is memorable for the appearance it creates. In nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship, spectacle has been frequently described as simultaneously enticing, deceptive and superficial, but above all as the domination of mass media, consumption and surveillance, which reduces citizens to spectators by political neutralisation. From this elitist view the audiences for spectacles have been described as passive consumers while the agency of those creating content is rarely addressed. We want to exactly challenge the very opposition between viewing (or writing about) and acting. How one can actively translate and interpret scientific spectacles and how can the boundaries between looking and doing be blurred: What can we learn from an encounter with performers, objects and spaces that create spectacles? Can counter-spaces and interventionist critiques be created?
Join us for two days of exciting and spectacular debates around these topics. To view the full programme please click here.