Piece Hall 2017 with Commentary.mp4 (219.4 MB)

Piece Hall, Halifax 2017 (with Commentary)

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posted on 23.06.2020 by James Macpherson

This time-lapse film is part of my doctoral research into contemporary UK outdoor arts. I use time-lapse videography to document the durational relationships between space, audience and performance.


The film was made at the re-opening event for Halifax’s Piece Hall on the 19th and 20th August 2017. The Piece Hall is a large two and three-storey colonnade configured in a rectangle and surrounding a sizeable square. It was built in the late 18th century in the neo-classical style as a trading centre for the cloth industry. Today the colonnade houses a range of shops, restaurants and bars and the square is used for a range of open-air events and markets. Whilst the square is enclosed, there are entrances on the North, South and West sides which lead to Halifax’s commercial areas and transport hubs. The camera was sited on a second floor balcony on the southern side of the space looking roughly north.

In the film there are five groups performing: Circus Raj; The Fairly Famous Family; Osadia; The Grand Theatre of Lemmings and The Desperate Men. The festival was programmed by Jeremy Shine and generally features longstanding outdoor arts companies with extensive experience of the form. The density of performances in a relatively small, enclosed space led to a lively competition for audiences and perhaps to those audiences being unusually mobile.


The edit focuses on a 40-minute period on Sunday the 20th August in which there is a good view of The Desperate Men’s show from around 10 minutes before the start until the end. Motion graphics and a commentary analysing the data have been added to the film.

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