Islington International Festival

Feature in Issue 7-3 | Autumn 1995

The beginning of June saw the first ever Islington International Festival. The theme behind the programming seemed to be a little vague though there was a definite desire to encourage the unusual and the experimental. In this spirit the festival organisers commissioned Dutch Artist Erik Hobijn to create a ‘monumental fire sculpture’ at Islington Town Hall entitled Dante’s Organ.

Sarah Dawson, who witnessed the event, said ‘the sculpture consisted of huge pillars of flame on the side of the building accompanied by their amplified sound. The whole event was computerised, programmed to begin at a certain level of darkness and develop in a circular crescendo of flame activity. Despite its scale, the “sculpture” placed within a festival context never really rose above a fireworks display.’

Also appearing at the festival on Highbury Fields was the Cirque du Docteur Paradi with Hop! Ma Non Troppo, which Paul Vates went to see. After frustrating delays he was ‘amazed at how one woman walking bashfully through curtains could wipe away your doom and gloom and reduce you to a laughing, gasping child within seconds, as she stumbled in and found herself the Ringmaster’s Assistant. With the skill and dexterity of the eight-strong ensemble, what better way to spend a rainy afternoon than to become deeply involved in the antics of this award winning show?’

Here’s to next year!

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Issue 7-3
p. 21