FURIOUS FOLLY: Mark Anderson
A 14-18 NOW Commission
A very special type of event
Alexander Ray Edser looks at a major commission commemorating the 14-18 War.
FURIOUS FOLLY (Mark Anderson) is one of 27 art works commissioned to commemorate the anguish and loss experienced in the First World War. An earlier work, the red poppies at the Tower of London, BLOOD SWEPT LANDS AND SEAS OF RED, by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, captured the public imagination. FURIOUS FOLLY is quite different, but is certain to capture the imagination of those lucky enough to see it – probably more accurate to say ‘experience’ it.
It is a vast open air event, created by an artist who specialises in multi-media and large site specific events; FURIOUS FOLLY can play to audiences of up to two thousand each performance.
Three open air spaces have been selected, in Oxford, Birmingham and Stockton (17 and 18 June, 8 and 9 July, 4 and 5 August.) As night falls, audiences will imagine themselves in the no-man’s land between opposing forces. Audiences will find themselves immersed in a collage of sound, light, pyrotechnics and performance. Clearly the work carries and anti-war message.
In fact, the way the artist describes it, it clearly is also a message very much for today. Anderson has based the work on the philosophy of the Dadaist movement (c 1916); he describes them as a group of people who: ‘Rejected the propaganda and jingoism peddled by leaders, politicians, big business and the privileged elite . . . as they squabbled for power with their usual contempt for the lives of ordinary people and the destruction wrought in the process.’ If Anderson’s work puts even half that passion across we’re in for a powerful and moving event.
The Dadaists were iconoclastic demolishers of form, and Anderson partly bases this work on their practice; formal structure, or narrative, will be abandoned to place the audience in the middle of a thrilling anti-war performance built around the themes of dissent and desertion.
The Oxford performances are taking place ias this is written. The Birmingham performances are in Sutton Park on Friday and Saturday 8th and 9th July, the Stockton performances in Preston Park on Thursday and Friday, 4th and 5th August. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance. Birmingham tickets from the Hippodrome Theatre and Stockton ones from the Stockton International Riverside Festival; full information on the event and links to tickets on https://www.1418now.org.uk/commissions/furious-folly. ReviewsGate.com will carry a review of the 9 July performance.