Bohemia: Merge Festival

By Jo Phillips

Its the fifth year for Merge Bankside Festival and this year comes a full swing of beautiful and interactive art, the best part about Merge is the majority of it is free. In the heart of London’s Bankside Merge takes over the streets to create ” A collection of talented artists will be making use of the rich heritage and contemporary culture of the area to create engaging and interactive art installations”  Merge opened on the 18th of September and will be running until the 18th of October.

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.Cent was invited to a preview of the festival and we had a really lovely treat and whole team were so welcome and even paid for us to get a taxi in the pouring London rain, for the invite and the day we are thankful. Our first stop of the day was to see and test out ‘On Your Wavelength’ -“This site-specific installation uses participants’ brain data and the latest technology to create a large-scale immersivelight and sound installation. The spontaneously choreographed digital artwork will be created from intersecting thought patterns, via an EEG headset. The laser and sound will then amplify their brain activities to an epic, architectural scale”
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This was not only our personal favourite piece of the day but it gave us an experience that we would never forget. Watching the lights react with music and the mind is not only beautiful but deeply moving and seeing how different peoples minds create different patterns in the light. But physically putting on the headset and watching your mind projected in-front of you if something that can never forget, but its actually hard to put into words how you feel. Looking straight into the lights makes the lights tunnel seem to go on for miles. Straight from the busy London streets into your own mind was outstanding. On Your Wavelength is created by the geniuses Marcus Lyall and Rob Thomas.
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Next was the beautiful Colourful Crossings by Adam Frank and Morgan Silk. We were blessed to have Adam Frank talk us though his concept and vision for his interactive piece at Merge. “Southwark Street,transformed into an outdoor gallery with a series of on-street public artworks; which will bring pedestrian crossings to life. Award winning photographer Morgan Silk will be creating a large-scale anamorphic scene. This illusionary piece, where the road will appear to reveal a hidden world, then disappear when the viewer moves from the vantage point is interactive”
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 15.57.36This piece was one that we were telling our friends about for days, it was so fun to see peoples reactions to the crowd and noticing that the more movement the louder and happier the crowd got, this is an amazing experience that really does lighten up the streets of London.

Our next stop was to the beautiful Blue Fin Building to one of Merge and TV Times collaborations.
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 16.04.01This 60 Years, 60 Iconic Images was a fun and intimate was of look all celebrities over the past 60 years, majority of the images have never been seen before so it was amazing to know that you can enter and see exclusive images though the most iconic eras of British entertainment.
11998513_10207502104258158_2047960395_n12025457_10207502104298159_870361326_nTV Times and Merge did not only come together to showcase 60 Years, 60 Iconic Images, but also bring you Interplay – curated by Illuminate Productions. This cute location that really made you feel at home in London showcased never before seen images from the 60-80 biggest stars.
12042167_10207502104658168_1085170050_nThis exhibition not only allows to you to see British history, an insight to the icons lives but it also adds a realness to the celebrities.
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Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 16.06.59Of course Merge has much much more all in the heart of Bankside this includes: The Chamber of Wishes, Time To Be Late, Caravan Theatre, Chain Reaction, Nursery Original Series, Food Demonstration Gone Wrong, Resonance, DAB Originals, The Riverside Stag, The Song and the Bottle, Tunesday,Rendezvous at Midnight and Happenings. Visit Merge Festival.co.uk to find out how you can visit our favourites and explore your own.