#ROMEOECHODELTA: Look to the skies…

Admittedly, I have never been a massive partaker in Halloween, in fact I’ve got to the age of 20 and never been ‘Trick or Treating’. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, I wish fancy dress was acceptable every day of the year and for Lady Gaga it is but I’m more of a voyeur than the vampire itself. So, as a lot of you were smearing on the fake blood and probably taking full advantage of the ‘license to slut’ dress code that seems to have attached itself to one of the worlds most historical traditions, I was sat in the bar of FACT (off Liverpool, Bold Street), behind my MacBook, eagerly awaiting the exhibition of Romeo Echo Delta.

Romeo Echo Delta, or RED for short, is a new sound project and the brainchild of Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, commissioned by the Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival, which I had volunteered at a few weeks previously. I was thrilled to be invited back as a part of AND Fest and keen to learn more about the project as I’m sure you are right now so let me tell you a little bit more about RED…

Iain and Jane were inspired by the incalculable array of hoax UFO sightings and supposed alien invasions and wanted to follow in the footsteps of Orson Welles who famously broadcast H. G. Wells‘ Sci-Fi novel, War of the Worlds on the Halloween of 1938. More than seven decades later, Iain and Jane are recreating the infamous event in Liverpool’s most successful arthouse cinema, broadcasting over BBC Radio Merseyside.

Image courtesy of Soup Collective

Linda McDermott‘s regular late slot on the radio show was unusually followed by an interview with X Factor finalist, Maria Lawson interrupted with a breaking news broadcast telling of a mysterious red light over Birkenhead. Unbeknownst to the public, the demon, ‘cherry red’ beam had been set up earlier on that day, ready to confuse and initiate hysteria amongst the all-ready spooked, Halloween celebrators in the surrounding areas. Public witnesses, tales missing reporters and children in danger caused an undeniable atmosphere of confusion and panic as the half hour long transmission played out. Of course equilibrium was restored as the broadcast revealed the drama was the crafty work of two cunning artists and we all lived happily ever after.

Type ‘Romeo Echo Delta’ into Google and you’re not going to find pages and pages of results. This is because the event was kept extremely hush hush by the artists themselves, FACT and  the people of AND Festival to maintain an air of mystery and speculation around the event. Keeping the exhibition ‘Top Secret’ was certainly a nice idea, brilliant in concept and exciting for me to be a part of but for me, lead to a disappointing turn out.

Having said this, whilst Tweeting and hash-tagging until my keyboard set alight throughout the broadcast, boosting the Social Media buzz around the event, it was interesting to see and listen to the heated discussions that the project provoked and isn’t that what Art is all about; inspiring thought and personal opinion? The profound expressions and faces struck with genuine concern as the transmission played were definitely the most interesting and exciting part of the exhibition for me, leaving no doubt that Iain and Jane were more than successful in their artistic intentions.

Check out @FACT_Liverpool, @ANDFestival, my personal Twitter (@StephWhalley) and the @unknownjourno (who was set up to cause spectulation) for live Tweets from the event – a story in themselves!

Read my post about my previous voluntary work for AND Festival here.

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