The Re:Fract Festival at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale kicks off 10 days of experiential performance, music and events, aiming to challenge the audience to see things differently, with the Re:Flect exhibition.
Re:Flect is a ‘please do touch’ interactive experience, curated by Chloe Knights and Ella Boston, to encourage the use of all our senses.
Ella’s practice centres around story-telling, immersion, play and education; whilst Chloe is a visual artist who uses object interaction and sensory play as a tool of connection and navigation. They challenged us use their space to be, to feel, to laugh and most, importantly, to play in order to combat over-stimulation.
The exhibition centres around the premise that often we are overwhelmed with the business of modern life and many of us don’t get the chance to interact with materials or creative activities from day to day. By bringing together familiar objects, colour, light and texture, the exhibition aims to create a sensory environment that encourages contemplation where people can rediscover their inner child.
The installations make us use all our senses; a large area of colourful balloons, bean bags, and toys in the centre of the room is a favourite for the kids attending. The adults prefer to walk around the edges, exploring the vessels that produce aromatic mists, illuminated with different lights, or the closed boxes, encouraging you to put your hand in to feel what’s inside. There are mirrors and beads hanging from the ceiling, to capture changes in the lighting, and even small sand pits which challenge you to enjoy the feel of sand running through your fingers.
As children, we have the ability to engage in creative activity without second thought. When we become adults, our creativity becomes self-conscious as it is influenced by both our own and society’s value of art and play. This is very apparent in the room, while the children are having a great time playing with the toys and balloons – completely oblivious to anyone else, the adults seem almost reluctant to ‘have a go’.
The quote provided on the wall really does ring true:
“We all have the gift of creativity, When you let go of the illusion of control and open to learning, your unique gifts of creativity will flow through you” – Margret Paul.
The exhibition is good, but with such a large room, I felt that there could have been a lot more in there. The premise was excellent, the kids certainly loved it, but with a few more installations, I think that it would have worked much better.