Music, film and visual trickery joined forces last night for Mail, Maps & Motion, a one-off event as part of this year’s See No Evil. Brunel’s original terminal building at Bristol Temple Meads, usually a car park, was transformed for one night only into a playground for the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed in collaboration with Joanie Lemercier of projection experts AntiVJ with the musical creativity of Adrian Utley from Portishead.
It was a spectacularly ambitious event, which was free to attend, being not just part of See No Evil but also the London 2012 Festival. £3.50 for a can of Thatcher’s Gold would have kept the money men happy, however, but that was my only major grumble of an evening that will live long in the memory.
Old black and white footage of trains was beamed onto two screens hanging from a skeleton built within the historic building, there was footage of some of Brunel’s original sketches, and there was live iPad drawing from Bristol graffiti artist Inkie, one of the main organisers of See No Evil.
But all this was the precursor to the main event as Utley joined forces with a whole host of other musicians including Will Gregory of Goldfrapp to bring the evening to a thrilling climax with a specially composed composition, conducted by Charles Hazlewood, alongside AntiVJ visuals.
The massed guitars reminded me of the massed brass who gathered at the Colston Hall foyer for its inauguration, but here it was accompanied by visuals which for one section was like being in Inception as the dream world folded in on itself, only this time it was the steel girders of the old station’s roof enclosed within a 360-degree projection.
Squid tentacles mixed with smoke in some of the other visual elements of the show, which combined many different art forms in a joyfully coherent whole within an exceptional space for this ambitious and wonderfully conceived visual spectacular.