Festival Hot Seat...The Hum
Breathing new life into the mundane,The Hum takes over Brighton this year to remind us of the beauty in the everyday. We caught up with director, Nic Sandiland, to find out more.
Can you tell us what your show is about?
Yes, it’s about looking at the detail of our everyday and mundane activities within the City; things we take for granted and don’t give a moment’s notice because of their overfamiliarity. Cinema is very good at showing us this; it gives us an opportunity to dwell and reflect on such details. For The Hum, we’re simply taking some standard filmic techniques: narration and soundtrack, and using a smartphone to overlay these onto the live visuals of each site; it’s like an inside out cinema.
How and where will the work be staged?
At 15 locations around the City, each within walking distance of each other. The public uses a free app to guide them to each place which, on arrival, plays a narrated soundtrack which accompanies the day to day choreography which takes place there.
Why should someone come and see your show?
To re-experience the city from a different perspective, to hear some thought provoking text set to an emotive musical score.
Where did the idea and inspiration come from?
I was looking to develop a location-based app to give more people access to our work. Our projects are very visual but we quite quickly realised that a tiny Iphone screen was no match for the surrounding environment, however dull it seemed to be. This made me consider what it was that smartphones could bring to such environments and how we could look at these places anew. In this case, it was navigation and sound playback. Put these ingredients together and you get The Hum.
Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?
So much mainstream cinema and theatre is about the big events, things that most people don’t really experience in their day to day lives. The Hum, on the other hand, is about the world of the everyday, it reflects on acts such as: waiting at a bus stop, standing on an escalator or walking down the road. These are the places that we spend most of our time in, so why not elevate their status and place frames around them.
What sort of person is going to love this show?
It’s not an action movie, it’s more a reflective and emotive one. Perhaps this is for those who want to avoid the rush of the city and “stand and stare” as W.H.Davies famously said.
What’s going to surprise people about this show?
Possibly its simplicity, but mainly its content. Being an app-based event one might assume that the dramatic or reflective content is not such a priority; however, this is at the core to the work. It is a very personal and contemplative piece, mainly thanks to the dexterity and sensitivity of the writers involved.
What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?
The Festival is a focal point of culture and new challenging work. I have many favourite moments over the years. Last year Simon McBurney’s The Encounter was a beautiful application of new technology. Embracing digital forms of presentation whist holding onto the intimate narrative he managed to conjure up a transfixing performance in an adept manner.
What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?
I’d like to see Theo Clinkard’s new piece, he’s working with James Keane, a fabulously talented composer who also created the soundtracks to The Hum!