‘Bootlegging Black Maria’

(Click individual images to enlarge)

‘Bootlegging Black Maria’ was an installation inside dubbing suite 5 of ‘De Lane Lea’, the recently retired Warner Brothers post production facility. It featured a bootlegged reconstruction of ‘Black Maria’, in which the entire building functions as a giant radio dial. When swivelled, the reconstruction can be used to manually scroll through sounds playing from the room’s speakers.

Employing the bootleg as a valid mode of cultural production, the process behind the project formed part of its gesture. Mining the original design from online sources required a set of new homespun methods to be developed in collaboration with Turner Prize winning architects ‘Assemble’. ‘Bootlegging Black Maria’ explores the unique history of a structure, a location and a collision between the two.

(‘The Black Maria’ was Thomas Edison’s personal film studio, built in 1893. The whole makeshift structure was designed around experiments which led to the development of the first moving image technologies. Constructed on a circular base plate with a retractable roof, the whole building could swivel 360 degrees, channeling the sun’s light as it moves across the sky.)