Interactive window displays
Kwesi Johnson is the Creative Director of The Cultural Assembly.
We work at the intersection of the arts, digital creativity and placemaking. Currently specialising in the transformation of the high streets using creativity, community and culture. Solstice is the latest experience in our commitment to transform the high street using art and culture.
I conceived the idea of interactive windows some time ago when creating ideas on how we can reinvent the high street. So when Dance East approached us because of the digital work we have been doing around and place activation and the high street, we jumped at it. You know they say no such thing as luck it’s being prepared for the opportunity.
Initially we talked about projection mapping buildings and using the concept of our augmented reality app called Up My Street. You can find a link to that at the bottom of the page.
We streamlined the idea from taking over a shop windows and buildings because we didn’t know what restrictions on our freedom of movement we would be facing over the Christmas period and we needed to get it installed fast.
Although it was a piece that would run over the Christmas season neither of us wanted to focus on the commercialisation of Christmas.
I knew that the origins of Christmas came from many stories, festivals and myths placed together such as:
THE PIECE WORK IS THE RESULT OF MY RESEARCH. I ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO YOUR OWN.
- Ausar & Auset
They all celebrate elements of the birth of the new light. Sun/Son, The Winter Solstice.
There’s reference to the above in the dance movement in the Drum and Bass sequence I created, for example:
- The shape of crown of Auset
- Placing lights for Diwali
- The zodiac of Sagittarius
- Symbol of Sankofa
- Eye of Horus
The graphic design is inspired by:
- Orion’s belt star constellation (Also known in ancient times as The Three Wise Men)
- The glow/light of the new light coming after the solstice
- The lights of Diwali
The lyrics and themes of songs such as:
- Here comes the sun (Shaun Escoffery, Days Like This)
- Night in Tunisia (Art Blakey)
- Coro Miyare (Fania All Stars)
The translated lyrics reflected why I think many performing artists are currently.
How difficult it is to work … in the villa of the Lord.
Because we do not want to submit to the call of his voice.
It’s morning and I’m walking through the streets of the city
God by my side and my sword in my hands.
There are souls to rescue
I’m very tired discouraged but it gives me strength.
I looked at The Kemetic story of Ausar & Auset (Kemet = Egypt before being renamed by the Greeks)
It depicts the Immaculate Conception and resurrection in the birth of Horus.
Massive thanks to my collaborators:
Mohammed Ali Aerosol – Graphic Design #MohammedAliAerosol, Soul City Arts (@soulcityarts) •Instagram photos and videos
Thanks to the dancers:
Jorgia Vaughn – https://www.instagram.com/jorgieevaughan/
Rosy May – https://www.instagram.com/rosymaydancer/
Rikkai Scott – https://www.instagram.com/kai_4sure/
Reece Calvin – https://www.instagram.com/calvernater/
Make up and styling – Jack Parry – https://www.instagram.com/rougedmilk/
Photos – Chris Nash – https://www.chrisnashphoto.com/dance
The Cultural Assembly – https://www.theculturalassembly.com
Kwesi Johnson – https://www.kwesijohnson.net
Up My Street – https://upmystreet.theculturalassembly.com/wp/52-2/
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