Hey guys!! Back in September, you may recall that I wrote a post about Hull’s ‘Open Bridges’ event where all the bridges that connect East and West Hull, opened to allow 3 vessels that represented 3 centuries through (HMS Pickle, Humber Keel Comrade and MV Syntan). This was a truly spectacular experience because Hull is a city that has the most bridges over the length of a navigable river and it was lovely to see these bridges celebrated for how they bring the city together. Several months on from that, the creator’s of Hull’s ‘Open Bridges’ event Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard invited me to the premiere of the ‘Open Bridges’ Video and Exhibition that further show the concept of freedom that the event explored and the amazing team of people that came together to make the event possible. The event was a really enjoyable experience and it taught me a lot more about the background of the ‘Open Bridges’ event and really opened my eyes to the concepts it explores. So in today’s post, I’m reviewing the ‘Open Bridges’ film and exhibition and giving you my honest opinion of it.
‘OPEN BRIDGES’ VIDEO
There were 3 different videos at the ‘Open Bridges’ event, shown to us at the premiere, that all focused on different perspectives of the night when Hull was split in half. However the first two just gave us some information about what happened on the night; the third one was what we were there to see. We watched these at the Kardomah94 which was a lovely venue. The first video focused on the HMS Pickle which was one of the boats that travelled down the river as all the bridges went up for the event. It featured an interview with the captain of the ship and gave you an insight to the adventures they experienced on board and problems they had to overcome like when Humber rescue had to tow them into a better position because they got stuck.
The second video by Octovision featured a drone which films and takes pictures of events from the sky. This video captured the event from above and it really showcased the beauty of the city from the night sky when all the buildings are lit up. It also offered a different angle of the bridges entirely.
The final video was exactly 20 minutes and 17 seconds long (linking in with 2017 city of culture and the time all the bridges opened) and it was by Humber Film Creative Community. This video stood out because it was the official video to represent the ‘Open Bridges’ event and it showed a really artistic take on the various themes the event tackles. ‘Moments in Time’ by John Stead was composed especially for this video and it was amazing to be one of the first people to hear it as it received its world premiere. The piece was devised from recordings of the noises the machinery of bridges make such as the clang of metal on metal, the whirring of cogs and the tapping of little pieces of metal. The music faded in and out to fit the scene in the video for example, in a shot filled with nature, it appeared to be more delicate and quiet whereas in a shot filled with machinery, it gradually became louder and sharper. The piece really had an eerie feel to it and it was as though it was anticipating all 13 bridges to open. The ‘ Open Bridges’ video primarily displays the 13 bridges opening to allow the vessel Syntan through. However, its key concept was ‘freedom’ compared with ‘freedom withheld’ and the video features a number of shots which really emphasize this point. At several times during the video, red lights were shown which are thought to represent stopping people and refraining (freedom witheld). Green lights were also shown which are thought to represent allowing people to go, expressing freedom. The lights were stopping traffic (freedom witheld?) and letting the ships go through the open bridges (freedom?). Also, at different stages in the video, the camera filmed from behind thick metal bars which seemed to be symbolic of a prison cell which often traps people against their will. The start of the video was at the place where Syntan is usually moored at the Beverley Beck, blossoming with unique wildlife everywhere but this quickly transitioned from rural to urban with massive factories and machinery becoming the focus of the video. Nature is so free and beautiful however its often overpowered by our desire for movement in technology and you could almost say we are prisoners to technology since we rely on it to complete so many different jobs for us. Towards the end of the video, certain objects such as the bridges machinery and traffic control lights were distorted so that they reflected themselves and appeared like insects which was a really intruiging effect. Just watching the videos was brilliant but going beneath the surface and looking deeper into the video’s concepts really helped me grasp the meaning of the ‘Open Bridges’ event.
‘OPEN BRIDGES’ EXHIBITION
After we’d watched the 3 videos, we walked over to Scale Lane Bridge, one of the bridges that was featured in the event, which has a room within that can be used for exhibitions. The exhibition explaining the event in more detail was split into 11 different parts which were: an introduction to the event briefly explaining all the elements of it, the 13 bridges of Hull, the vessels, the workshops Lou held in local schools alongside novelist Russ Litten and creative writer Christina Lewis, the newspaper reviews after the event, some radio transcripts from the boats on the evening, the engines and insects artwork, ‘Moments in Time’ music composition, pictures of the crews of the vessels and illustrations of the boats and ‘Open Bridges’ from the night sky. There were also some intricate pieces of art work taken from the machinery in the bridges which had been distorted so they reflected themselves and appeared like insects as mentioned earlier. The exhibition added to my knowledge of ‘Open Bridges’ as a whole because it gave lots of different perspectives of the event and background work that had gone on to pull the event together. It was a privilege to be on the bridge as it opened especially for our party and it was the perfect way to end the afternoon. I’m very grateful to Rich and Lou to inviting me along to this event and you can click here to view their post on it.
Amelia Grace a.k.a Amelia in Hull