Romeo Echo Delta \ Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (2011)
ROMEO ECHO DELTA was a new sound project by artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. Commissioned and produced especially for AND, it was inspired by a long line of hoax alien invasions and fake UFO scares, most famously, Orson Welles’ radio play of H.G Well’s science fiction novel War of the Worlds broadcast for Halloween in 1938.
BBC Radio Merseyside broadcast the event on 31 October 2011 and was accompanied by an ominous red light in the night sky above Birkenhead. Dense with speculation, confusion and repetition, the transmission began with the arrival of a studio guest, former X Factor finalist Maria Lawson. Her interview was interrupted with the breaking news of the unexplained RED light.
The artists worked with acclaimed author and actor Ben Moor to write the script for this 30-minute radio drama. Their cast includes Saira Choudhry (Hollyoaks), local comedian and actress Pauline Daniels and celebrity paranormal investigator Dr. Ciaran O’Keeffe.
Plugging into an age-old fascination with the red planet and the possibility of earth invasion from another world, Forsyth & Pollard aimed to unpick the nature of contemporary reporting, where breaking news stories are frequently caught in a suspended limbo before any real facts emerge.
ROMEO ECHO DELTA also toured to Kate MacGarry Gallery, London from 10 November – 17 December 2011.
Forsyth & Pollard initially became known for pioneering the use of re-enactment within contemporary visual art. A series of major live works were commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts, culminating in their critically acclaimed A Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide (1998), a painstakingly faithful live re-creation of David Bowie’s final performance as Ziggy Stardust, 25 years after the original event. In 2003 they produced File under Sacred Music a remake of an infamous bootleg of The Cramps playing at Napa State Mental Institute, California in 1978. The artists meticulously re-staged this performance with an audience from local mental health arts organisations, in order to re-shoot each pan, tilt, zoom and jitter of the original material. Their work crosses the illusion of cinema with the presence of theatre, conjuring a psychological, conceptual and physical state between reality and hallucination.