Mail, Maps and Motion

The Passenger Shed - which was designed by world-famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel - is now a car park next to Bristol Temple Meads, but it was once Bristol's main train station. In August 2012 a crowd of 2500 people gathered to see Mail, Maps and Motion, an evening which combined live music and moving image on a huge scale to celebrate Bristol’s industrial history. Inspired by the work of Brunel, Mail, Maps and Motion took the audience on a breathtaking journey through Bristol’s industrial past to its electric future, exploring themes of industry, design and modernity.

Mail, Maps, and Motion opened with a screening of films from the extraordinary film archive of the General Post Office Film Unit, followed by a musical and visual performance by BEAM (Bristol Exchange of Arts and Music) which combined live music and iPad art inspired by the GPO Unit films. Partly written and part improvised, a specially assembled band was led by Scott Hendy (Malachai/Boca45) and included Si John (Roni Size/Reprazent), SJ Esau (Anticon Records), and drummer Andy Sutor. The band were joined on stage by Inkie, curator of See No Evil and one of the UK's most distinctive street artists, who created live iPad art projected onto an enormous screen in the Passenger Shed building.

The finale of the evening was the event’s namesake; Mail, Maps and Motion a specially commissioned performance which combined Anti VJ’s breathtaking immersive visuals with a stunning score for fifteen guitars composed by Adrian Utley and conducted by Charles Hazlewood. In the performance, a wall of orchestral dissonance accompanied huge mapped projections, bringing a ghostlike vision of Bristol’s industrial past into the electric future.

This video is a making-of documentary of Mail, Maps and Motion, and offers a unique glimpse into the sights, sounds, and scale of this incredible one-off event. 

Mail, Maps and Motion was produced and curated by Watershed.

Posted on Fri 17 Aug 2012.

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