Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity

Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity Blog


Our ‘Art & Airships’ Creative Forum, was well received and it gave our guests an opportunity to view our immersive digital artwork, Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity, and then discuss it.

The artwork’s creative team were joined by writers, curators, historians, and academics to explore its complex themes, unpacking the creative process behind the final artwork, and considering the questions it raises about travel, environment, colonialism and our eternal human desire to escape gravity or just … to escape.

Our contributors to the Forum included Skinder Hundal (British Council), Martin Mahony (University of East Anglia), Hannah Redler Hawes (Curator), Rob La Frenais (Curator/Writer/Lecturer) and the creative team of Escaping Gravity: Roland DenningDave LynchRoger IllingworthRob StrachanMike Stubbs and Sam Wiehl.

If you’d like to listen to their contribution, please click here.

Context of the Forum

In making Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity a collaborative team of artists interrogate the tension that existed between the optimism of pioneering endeavour and the consequences of hubris, ambition, and folly behind the Imperial Airship Scheme of the 1920s – a scheme that would have made Bedford the centre of carbon-neutral luxury passenger travel by airship but instead ended in tragedy.

Made during the pandemic, the work reflects on our contemporary political & cultural landscape using a unique blend of gaming technology, archive film and a newly composed symphony of sound. The Forum explored how creative works like this, pushing the boundaries of art & tech, have a role in challenging, debating and exploring the world of transport & the environment in a post-pandemic world.

Format of the Day

The day started with an introduction from Skinder Hundal, Director of Arts for the British Council.

Then a keynote speech from Martin Mahony, University of East Anglia on “Imperial Monstrosities” contextualizing the historic background.  The discussion was then be opened up to a panel to explore: “Fuel for the Flight – sharing the processing of mining airship history to inspire an artwork.”

The creative team behind the artwork discussed the process of forming the work and the technology, artforms and processes used in the backdrop of a pandemic.

The final keynote speech of the day was by Rob La Frenais, art curator, who will look at the future of transport and where art and science meet.