Open Air Screens

21 March 2012

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Films on Fridges from above. A temporary cinema near the London 2012 Olympic site. Photography by Matt Brown.Films on Fridges from above. A temporary cinema near the London 2012 Olympic site. Photography by Matt Brown.

Screen and cinema summer open-air seasons in London parks fill me with romantic trepidation.

The great outdoor experience in the UK, with blankets and beers is the only time each summer that I sit out on the ground for a good few hours, in the open air, with friends around me but surrounded by strangers.

Watching a film on an open air screen while adjusting buttocks as the damp ground seeps through the blanket, shorts and underwear is a rare treat, but I often think how much more civilized it looks across the rest of Europe where the restaurants of the town furnish the square with chairs and tables, vin rouge and Gauloise cigarettes and silence falls as the film noir rolls.

But, who cares about sophistication really? I love the freedom and fun of the outdoor movie nights – many a laugh had on Clapham Common as friends struggle off to find a loo, as groups of people sitting around speak in hushed tones and the enveloping sense of silence as the film reaches the crescendo.

In homage to the massive screen, we all sit staring and looking in the same direction, in an ordered fashion of clusters, the screen lights the night sky with a hazy, bluey fog and the sound system randomly adorns the park with a slight delay from one speaker to the next and to the next.

The screen, standing erect – technology shooting up from the grass, like an electronic eruption from the earth – and we are enraptured, but somehow we are often remiss at looking round the screen, at the trees, the plants, the sky, the world. There is something ironic about watching nature in the films but the screen is blocking the physical world of nature from us.


Post by our lovely guest blogger Square Dancer.

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