Victoria Halford and Steve Beard make art about accidents. Their intention is to narrate a cultural poetics of the accident from an expanded reframing of the evidence base.
This approach goes beyond mechanics, surveying and official archives to take into account dreams, psychogeography and secret history. Halford & Beard contributed to the artworld journal Inventory between 1998 and 2005.
Voodoo Science Park
Victoria Halford and Steve Beard’s film Voodoo Science Park traces a secret geography of the Health and Safety Laboratory situated in the Peak District of Derbyshire, a place that conducts investigations of large-scale accidents, such as fires, explosions, tunnel collapses, bridge failures and rail crashes, in order to
examine their destructive pathways. The film reflects on the landscape of the Peak District and its relationship with the deep history of engineering, alighting from ancient conical hills and drystone walls to mines research labs and industrial testing ranges. Mixing fact and fiction, as well as documentary and archive footage, the film imagines a delayed encounter between poet William Blake and political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, one of the pioneers of mechanics, drawing affinities to this unique site.
Directors: Victoria Halford and Steve Beard
Script: Steve Beard
Original music: Scanner
Voiceover: Jeff Noon
Producers: The Arts Catalyst and SCAN
Length: 25 mins
Format: DV PAL
Aspect ratio: 16/9
‘Dark Places’, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK
Trajector Art Fair, Brussels, Isis Gallery
Berliner Liste Art Fair, Isis Gallery
'Hexen' Maison Populaire, Montreuil, France
Book of the film
Voodoo Science Park, the book of the film, was published by Zero Books in early 2011. It reveals the thinking that went into preparation of the script. The book is composed in a fragmentary style which weaves together philosophy, travelogue, history of science, sociology and religious study.
Click the link here to purchase the book from Zero Books.
Victoria Halford is a visual artist who has exhibited internationally since 1996. She studied Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art, London, Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London and film at Columbia University, New York. Her work has covered writing, photography, film-making and performance.
Steve Beard is a writer who experiments with making fictions from theory, testimony and deep topography. He has collaborated as a script-writer with London Fieldworks (Hibernator: Prince of the Petrified Forest, Beaconsfield Gallery, London, 2007; Syzygy, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1999) and written the artist’s book Perfumed Head (Book Works: New Writing Series, 1999). His latest novel is Meat Puppet Cabaret (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2006).
Voodoo Science Park (2009, 25 mins) by Victoria Halford and Steve Beard - screen image.
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