INTERVIEW: Elliot Galvin reflects on the Dreamland installation at Turner Contemporary




Pianist/composer Elliot Galvin was commissioned by Turner Contemporary in Margate to create a multimedia installation there, on August 13th and 14th 2014. We asked him to reflect on how it went: 


LondonJazz News: Your debut album was entitled Dreamland. What gave you the idea to take the inspiration of the burnt-down Margate theme park further, with this installation at Turner Contemporary?

Elliot Galvin: I am really fascinated by the aesthetic of the dilapidated and ruined when it comes together with the kitsch and pop. Dreamland and Margate in general is a really interesting example of this, with a rich social history surrounding it. I thought there was a lot there to be explored, so I wanted to keep exploring it. Stuart Brough, Joe Wright and Alex Morley (as well as the members of my trio Simon Roth and Tom McCredie) were the obvious choice of people to work with it as well, since they have similar sensibilities to what I wanted to explore and I really admire all their work.

LJN: How did you go about playing live to the film?

EG:  Alex Morley knows our music well and created the film with it in mind, so it worked really well when it came to putting the two together. The film consisted of a few clear sections and to each of these sections I chose a piece of music that we play as a trio, in a kind of collage approach with improvisation to bind it together.

LJN: Was there a lot of planning involved?

EG: There was yes. In terms of organizing everything and everyone to make sure it all came together as a complete integrated collaboration, it took a lot of planning from myself and everyone involved.

LJN: Stuart Brough's sculptures - what was the idea behind those?

EG: Well, in the weeks before the installation we collected local resident’s memories of the theme park with the Dreamland Memory Recorder, which is an interactive talking sculpture that Stuart Brough and Joe Wright created. We then used the recordings we collected to create a series of sound emitting sculpture for the installation. The idea was to explore people’s memories of Dreamland, and create a kind of dreamlike sound space from them for the installation, which was reflected in the visuals of the sculptures themselves.

LJN: And you worked closely with the others involved in preparing this project? 

EG: I believe in giving people a strong theme and a clearly defined role and then letting them get on with it. Alex’s specialty is film, Stuart’s is sculpture, Joe’s is sound art and mine is music. I made sure everyone had autonomy within their own specialties. It was bound together by the shared theme.

LJN: What was the audience reaction like, and what are own your feelings in retrospect about how it went?

EG: The audience reaction was generally very positive - there are some in the video above. People seemed to really engage with it, which was fantastic. I’m also really happy with how it turned out.

LondonJazz News: Are there any plans for the installation in the future?

Elliot Galvin: We are currently trying to put a tour together in art galleries up and down the UK. The plan is to use the memory recorder to record people’s memories from these different regional areas, to be used in the installation.

The installation received support from the Dreamland Trust and Help Musicians UK

LINK: Our Jan 2014 interview with Elliot Galvin about the Dreamland album

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