In Parenthesis: Field

Welsh National Opera

Field is an interactive digital memorial commemorating 923 soldiers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers who died in the engagement at Mametz Wood during the Battle of the Somme. The memorial was created to sit alongside the Welsh National Opera’s performance of In Parenthesis; an opera based on David Jones’ epic poem of the same name. The memorial was installed in the lobby of the Wales Millennium Centre from 13th May 1st July 2016.  

In the projected memorial’s idle state it presents a slow pan of a decimated western front landscape containing 923 shell-shattered trees; one for each of the fallen. When a user approaches the installation, they are detected by a Kinect sensor. This stops the panning movement across the scene and presents the war graves commission data of a single soldier as well as playing audio from the In Parenthesis production.

Initially a soldier’s rank, initials, surname and honours are displayed along with the insignia of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. However this then transitions to display their full name and age, with the insignia changing to a Welsh dragon. The memorial then holds on this information until the user leaves.

The installation seeks to move away from traditional military memorials. Instead of presenting a depersonalised wall of initials and ranks, it aims to actively form a direct link with each visitor to one of the welshmen who died in a tragic and senseless conflict.

I was responsible for concept and art direction.

Please note that a separate installation developed by Squid Soup, also titled Field, was installed outside the Wales Millennium Centre. I was not involved it its production. Work produced at Play Nicely.