We have come to quite a monumental decision in the run up to the Fun Palaces weekend. At the start of this whole process, we were told ‘you can’t programme for everyone’. This was difficult to swallow, as part of the Fun Palaces brief is to get everyone together and let old mingle with young. It’s a tricky thing to take into account when you’re working in an organisation like Watershed, where different audiences come in ebbs and flows, and which can contain a wholly different atmosphere from one day to the next, depending on what is screening.
That being said, we have decided to split Fun Palaces into two sort of separate events – an evening of music, games and a live screening, and a more family focused day of activities.
We recently held an open meeting at Watershed, where we invited members of the public to come and chat to us about what they might want from the event. A lot of the people who turned up had ideas about how they themselves could contribute. We had some brilliant discussions and confirmed some interesting workshops, games and performances.
It is quite terrifying how quickly a programme can become packed (especially on such a wide brief as this) with things that don’t seem to relate to each other. It was difficult to reign back our enthusiasm and make sure we all had a chance to chat to each other about what we were confirming. This has continued to be an issue throughout the programming process, and one that has taught us a lot of lessons already. I’m worried our programme has become a bit of a runway train… We have had a few discussions within our team about whether our slightly ramshackle, miscellaneous programme is exactly how we should be approaching the Fun Palace brief. We all agree that it is far too late to change our line-up now. We will try our hardest to make it work, and see how it turns out on the night!
Despite these worries, it’s really exciting to be at a point where we know exactly what we are programming. On Saturday, we are having a free screening, live performances from the Cube Cinema Orchestra and Memotone, and UV ping pong, and a debate station, where people can come to muse on the future. We are also having Richard Sewell‘s Giant Staring Eye (inflatable, luminous, motion sensing, swivelling robot) in the bar, which we have managed to poach from Bristol Hackspace for the occasion. On Sunday, we are having a huge making station for kids, and some brilliant projects from Hackspace, including Tune on a Stick, Sketchy and John Honnibal‘s Pisano wheels. Tangible Networks will be setting up an installation, and PM Studio resident, Silas Adekunle is bringing in some of his latest Mechamonster prototypes. Bristol Con are holding a Sci-Fi writing workshop, we will have UV ping-pong and Alex Latham of Bristol Urban Games has conjured up a special sci-fi game called ‘Gorb the Cyborg’. It all feels jam-packed and quite daunting, and we hope we can pull it all together… And now to crack on with trying to fit all this into straightforward copy!…