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British Fusion

An augmented reality experience by Alistair Gentry, based on the weird discovery that in the early 1970s British Rail filed a patent for a flying saucer.

British Fusion concept drawing by Alistair Gentry

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A person sitting at a gold desk in front of a gold and pink sunburst pattern. They are wearing a knitted pink mask with big google eyes, a pink wig, a pink kimono with gold obi, and one white cotton glove. Next to them is DoxBox, a hot pink robot on wheels with an animated face on a screen.

Alistair Gentry

'Frankly disturbing' artist, writer, jack of all trades, master of some. Hot pink tech drag fake AI.

British Fusion is a project by Alistair Gentry that began as a Watershed Winter Residency 2021-22. Alistair is researching an augmented reality experience based on the weird discovery that in the early 1970s Charles Frederick– an employee of the then nationalised British Rail– filed a patent for a flying saucer as a means of public transport.

Alistair’s playful project will investigate British Rail’s patent filing for a flying saucer and explore the possibility of bringing this vivid example of British utopianism to life as an accessible AR/VR experience.

Alistair says:

"In 1973, the year I was born, British Rail filed a patent for a flying saucer. A lot of my work is about historical figures or movements that have been obscured by the passage of time, or alternate histories that could have been if circumstances had been different, like the UK’s nationalised railway company making new roads, vehicle pollution, energy scarcity and private transport obsolete by 2022. This is more in line with how I imagined the 2020s would be when I was a child, instead of the rampant neo-liberal, punitive austerity, nationalise-risk-and-privatise-profit narratives that continue to dominate our culture and our country. My ambition to manifest this lost future for the first time is complicated by the fact that for disability reasons I can’t fully experience many digital projects- especially VR/AR- so I’m also really excited to research visual technologies at the Pervasive Media Studio that bring this idea to life in ways that are more accessible to more people."

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