The journal’s editor, Chloe Lane, says the 16 sides of the light boxes will become 16 pages for an issue that’s themed around ‘collisions’.“We’re calling it the collisions issue,” says editor Chloe Lane. “The idea for collisions comes from thinking of Hue & Cry as a collision of communities and genres - the whole literary slash art thing. And I like the idea that the light boxes demand a sort of collision - in the form of a distraction for people walking down the street or riding on buses.”
Eleven writers and four artists have contributed to the collisions issue. The two key restrictions were that the works had to be text-based (this includes the artists), and for the writers, the word count had to be small.
“Because of this, the work we received was surprising, in a good way. A lot of contributors used the project as an opportunity to try out something new, there’s even a collaboration between a short story writer and a novelist on one text.
“The writers and artists interpreted the brief in very different ways. In some pieces the collisions are literal, other contributors have used the theme to talk about bigger issues.
“Some of the artists took the restrictions literally, producing text-only works. While it was the removing of text that defined others.”
The big challenge of the project was scale - to take something that’s designed for just one person’s view and turn it into something for a much bigger audience.
“We wanted the light boxes to work in two ways. Firstly, the bus-riding public, and people walking on the other side of Courtenay Place had to be able to take something from it. So the text had to have the same effect as a graphic installation or large street poster. But we also wanted the works to function on a more intimate level. We wanted to encourage people to stop and read further - to engage with the writing in a more personal way. So we’ve extracted a line from each story or poem, enlarged it and arranged it at the top of the light box. The complete text is beneath it in a smaller type,” says Lane.
All of the pieces - literary and art - were commissioned especially for the light box project. Authors and artists who have a strong connection to both Wellington and Hue & Cry were selected, and all have contributed to previous issues of Hue & Cry.
“I think one of the strengths of the light boxes is they open up the public art arena to projects by groups who don’t normally work at this scale. The result is some very interesting and unexpected new work.”
Hue & Cry: Against The Prevailing Winds. The Public / Collisions Issue runs from 19 April until 5 August 2013.