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MERGE Festival Returns to Bankside for 2015

Now in its fifth year, immersive arts festival MERGE returns to Bankside with a month-long programme set to transform the London riverside destination.
Nicole Gordon

Now in its fifth year, immersive arts festival MERGE returns to Bankside with a month-long programme set to transform the London riverside destination.

This year’s diverse programme includes a collection of talented artists who will be making use of the rich heritage and contemporary culture of Bankside to create engaging and interactive art installations. Major names and emerging talent from the UK and international art world will transform historic buildings and Bankside open spaces as they stage interactive installations, experimental theatre and live music.

‘On Your Wavelength’ is a mind-powered laser and sound installation, created by Marcus Lyall, the British artist behind award-winning stage visuals for the Chemical Brothers and Metallica, with a soundtrack by Rob Thomas. Become part of the installation by wearing a headset that uses the latest technology to transmit brain activity into spontaneously choreographed digital artwork on an architectural scale. Or visit the installation, located in a dark railway arch, and experience the epic light and sound show.

Bompas and Parr invite you to make a wish in the ‘Bioluminescent Chamber of Wishes’ for an interactive installation that takes inspiration from the lost springs, wells and grottos of London's Bankside. The piece uses the rare phenomenon of bioluminescent sea water, created with the help of Microbiologist Dr. Simon Park. By entering a magical grotto, guests will be able to see a phosphorus shimmer and then view and interact with the algae’s luminescence. 

‘Colourful Crossings’ sees one of the main arteries in Bankside, 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 so that the public can become part of the artwork.

Watch as you walk down Blackfriars Road in September as ‘Time to be Late’ takes to the street. Part evocative bus journey, part site-specific theatrical experience, the commuters’ daily journey to and from work will come alive through a series of energetic and humorous scenes taking place at bus stops and on buses along Blackfriars Road. Performers include Award Winning Natural Theatre Company and a unique cabaret show from Scotty the Blue Bunny.

The Caravan Theatre and Riverside Stage will return to the river walkway outside Tate Modern. Working with emerging writers, directors and actors, Caravan Theatre brings unique theatre productions to intimate four-person audiences.  Performers this year include Sammy Kissin, Natalie Smith and Croft and Pearce. The Riverside Stage will showcase a range of musical talents to support original song writing and new British music.Bands this year include winner of the BBC2 Folk Awards ‘Stick in the Wheel’ and adventurous seven-piece band ‘Mishaped Pearls’, nominated for Best Song and Folk Singer in The Independent Music Awards 2014.

MERGE Bankside is curated by Illuminate Productions and is supported by Tate Modern and Better Bankside. 

Created Aug 27 2015