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Devlin In The Details

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Come Home Again

We've filming with Es Devlin today.

We're rolling on the forthcoming documentary feature "People In A Film" and Carney and Graham have been in conversation with the extraordinary artist and designer, Es Devlin.  

Es Devlin has become increasingly well known for her evocative sets for concerts, operas, plays and runway shows using light, film, sculpture and even rain.  She has created some of the most renowned stage sculptures (with Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Kanye West, U2, Jay Z, Florence And The Machine, Imogen Heap, Pet Shop Boys, Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish) seen by mass audiences in stadia and arena around the world.

Kanye West was inspired to contact Es Devlin for his 2005 Touch The Sky tour after seeing Wire's 2003 gig "Flag: Burning" at the Barbican; Es Devlin's first rock show.

Speaking on Abstract, Devlin explains, "I said "why don't we put them all in their own little box?  You can go in here, Mr Drummer.  You can go in here, Mr Guitarist. I put a gauze on the front, which is a kind of netting and I put a mirror all over the sides.  A very cheap, crap mirror, because I didn't have much money. And my idea was to sort of deconstruct the anatomy of this four-piece band. So you just saw the vocalist's mouth, the drummer's nose, the guitarist's eye and the bass player's ear. But in my excitement I neglected to remember that this was their farewell gig and they would need to take a bow and step out and be seen by their adoring fans. So I just stapled this front gauze on and also, once they were in, I stapled the rear projection screen on so they actually couldn't get out. 

  

Devlin's sculpture Come Home Again is currently in the Tate Modern Garden until 1st October 2022.  An illuminated choral sculpture, highlighting the 243 species on London’s priority list - moths, birds, beetles, wildflowers, fish and fungi - opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral. The large-scale public artwork, commissioned by Cartier, proposes that a first step towards protecting the biosphere is to pay detailed attention to its inhabitants: to observe and draw them, to learn their names and remember their stories.

‘I want to help people learn the names of these animals,’ explains Devlin ‘Once you know their names, you make a place for them in your imagination – it’s like the memory palace. And you’ll always think of them differently.’

In Devlin’s work, the viewer becomes a participant. she developed her deep understanding of the terms of audience engagement through two decades of collaborations in theatre - designing the Lehman Trilogy, National Theatre London, NYC, LA); Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican, A Number, Girls And Boys, The Nether (Royal Court), Chimerica , The Hunt (Almeida), Faith Healer (Donmar), operas including Don Giovanni, Salome, Les Troyens and Mahagonny at The Royal Opera House, Carmen On The Lake at Bregenz, Austria, Olympic Ceremonies (London and Rio), Super Bowl Halftime shows (Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar et al 2022 and the Weeknd 2021). 

Since August 2018, Crows Nest have been thoroughly enjoying working on Wire's autiobiographical feature documentary People In A Film with Malcolm Boyle and Graham Duff.  We've had the distinct pleasure of filming some of the band's performances and conducted interviews with the art rockers at Rockfield Studios.  Having already sought an audience at the homes of Colin Newman, Robert Grey and Bruce Gilbert, and Edvard Graham Lewis in Sweden we've also had the opporutunity to meet and work with some of the greatest artists of our time, who have shared tales of the band's influence on their lives and work. 

For the first time Wire are collaborating on a film about themselves and their work.  This film aims to express the very essence of Wire – the personalities, their music, their worldview, their history and their future.   This is a film which will go beyond the over-familiar conventions of the  standard music documentary.   Wire are working with seasoned director and producer Malcolm Boyle and award winning writer and producer Graham Duff, to create a film that has the humour, the unpredictability, the surrealist edge and creative agility of a Wire song.