odd enjinears

April 2, 2007

shadow show welding projector
The welding projector

This trick was invented and produced by Harry Kentrotas and Simon Dunckley from Cape Town. We used the trick in several shows during 2002.
You need an arc welder. It’s not only useful to do metal work but can also be used perfectly as a light source to create a shadow puppet story: very bright, and within an actual light source less than a centimetre across.

The distances between the light source, the puppets and the projection surface (a wall, a container, etc.) can influence the size of the projected shadows, but doesn’t effect the sharpness: there’s always a clear-cut shadow. To prevent the audience from looking into a light that is far too bright but to allow them only to enjoy the projected images, we welded it in a small wooden box. In that, we cut out a small window, which defines the frame of the projected surface.

In the shows ‘BlackSmith’, ‘VeeEyeEye’ and ‘Rollin’ Rumour’ the stories of the welding projector were accompanied by tracks by the Colombian Hammond organ virtuoso Jaime Llano Gonzalez.

The objects we used so far for puppet stories were made by Harry Kentrotas. His sculpture work, in which he melts scrap steel into completely new shapes, gave the stories a unique signature.


Site specific show in Cape Town, January 2002 BlackSmith was a unique series of eleven shows made in the Blacksmith Forge, a genuie forge workshop in Observatory, Cape Town. The show BlackSmith was based on the traditional skill of the blacksmith with all its contents: hot glowing steel, fireplaces and big pneumatic force are fascinating elements. The opportunity to come across these things for us as theatremakers was really a ‘one-of’ chance. Starting off with abstract materials-theatre, the show turned out to tell the past and present stories of this particular place.
The Blacksmith Forge is the biggest Forgeworkshop in South Africa, housed in a formal Art Deco cinema wich was burned down several times in Apartheid times. All equipment present such as pneumatic hammers, guillotine cutters, eightteen (!) anvils, antique drills and several fireplaces are old, restored with care and in excellent condition.
For the show we used the stories of this particular place: books about 1902 steam engines, heroic poetry about blacksmithing as a state of being, old newspaper articles in Afrikaans: “In vroeer dae het die meisies oor hulle voete geval vir n lekker aandjie met n Grofsmid…”. But as well a recording of a childrens song: “Blacksmith blacksmith good and true, will you make my horse new shoes? Hammer-hammer marylee go tickidee-tickidee tack”.
Besides all of this, the available equipment of the Forge was a big theatrical challenge.
A hectic percussion piece for pneumatic hammer, bass barrel drums, carhooters and screaming trainflute was made. With an arc welder as main lightsource a moody shadowpuppet story was projected on the blackened walls. Puppets made of scrap steel turned out to be the shadow alter-egos of the main characters in the actual show. It referred to the history of the building: once this was a cinema, burned out due to the apartheidsregime, nowadays a metal workshop, and with the current facilities… a cinema again.

interactive exhibition inside fridges
Freezin’ Fair

Touring exhibition 2004-2006
What happens behind the closed door of your fridge?
What does a second-hand vegetable drawer sound like?
Ever dropped into your freezer to cool off?

‘Freezin’ Fair’ is a travelling gallery with a unique sound exhibition. The collection is made up of a unique gaggle of musical fridges into which viewers have to stick their heads. Each fridge has been converted by the sound or visual artist into an “acoustic mini theatre”. ‘Freezin’ Fair’ is interactive: the spectators themselves steer the show with a handle or a foot pump on the outside of the fridge.

‘Freezin’ Fair’ can play six hours a day continuously as an exhibition. The exhibition can be experienced in the widest variety of venues, from theatre and music festivals to culinary events.
From 2006, teaching material is available which accompanies it as an arts and culture project in schools.
‘Freezin’ Fair’ is produced by:
Linda Bais, Fiona de Bell, Guido Bevers, Jeroen Henstra, Geert Jonkers, Robbert Kamphuis, Tristan Kruithof, Ted van Leeuwen, Yarre Stooker, Mark O’Donovan, Pé Okx, Martin van der Putte, Paul Vendel / Sandra de Wolf, Danielle van Vree.
As Freezin Fair moves on, new fridges are added each season.

Bookings and further information about ‘Freezin’ Fair’ can be obtained from HH producties in Amsterdam: p http://www.hhproducties.nl

The project is initially supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and the VSBfonds.


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