Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity at The Higgins Bedford

Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity was commissioned by Bedford Creative Arts in partnership with The Higgins Bedford and the Airship Heritage Trust to examine Bedford’s history of Airships. 

The immersive artwork has been created with a team of artists; Mike Stubbs along with artists Roger Illingworth, Roland Denning, Dave Lynch, Rob Strachan and Sam Weihl. The work fills an entire wall of the exhibition space, using Computer Generated images to represent the life of the R101 Airship built in Bedford. Accompanying the projection is specially composed audio-scape that includes choral voices, the wind and airship sounds to fully engage the audience.

ArtAV were involved early on in the project, bought in to assist with a test installation to understand the feasibility from a technical point of view of what the team of artists wanted to do. With assistance from Epson’s Pro AV technical team, we were able to identify the best solution to filling the entire long wall in the exhibition space.

For the exhibition installation ArtAV sent down two senior technicians to install the main work and some additional AV equipment to bring the whole exhibition together. Over a space of a week two Epson EB1075U Laser projectors were installed and then edge blended together to fill the wide 12m wall. A Genelec 5.1 audio system was installed giving the artists an excellent range of frequencies to use and adds a real depth to the audio. The remaining walls were draped to help with ambient light reflections and the acoustics of the space. Playback was from a Brightsign HD224 playing a DCI 4K file which allows for a simple power on and play playback solution for the exhibition's duration. 

To allow for the best possible representation of the artists' vision, the final audio and video files were created in the space once the installation was complete. This meant the ArtAV team were on site to the final moments before opening working with artists to ensure there were no last minute technical issues, stemming from the timeframe of the final deliverables. 

The artwork will be shown in The Higgins’ William Harpur Gallery from 10th July – 28th November 2021 and will be exhibited alongside an exciting new community-sourced display of airship artefacts, stories, inspiration and memorabilia donated by airship enthusiasts from the local community and around the world.


Photos by Steve Holmes

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