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Watching the skies

07 October 2014

I recently attended the ‘Watch the Skies’ outdoor screening event at Jodrell Bank Obervatory, curated by Abandon Normal Devices. This unique night was a treat for sci-fi fans and anyone interested in all things astronomy and science.

The mood was set with an impressive and hypnotic film of motion graphics and soundtracks produced by Manchesters’ Soup Creative projected onto the giant Lovell Telescope.

This was followed by short intros from Dr Tim O’Brien (of BBC Stargazing Live fame) and Roger Caras, former close assistant of the late Stanley Kubrick. In a bumpy but charismatic speech, Caras’ revealed that Kubrick had interviewed the worlds top scientists (including Sir Bernard Lovell) as research for his 2001: A Space Odyssey film. He also bemoaned modern Hollywood for its reliance on CGI and an omittance of plot, a point which raised a number of claps and chuckles of approval.

The main event was a screening of Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. I haven’t seen the film for years and forgot how big it is… in scale and concept. It was amazing to watch a film that’s an genuine attack on the senses – on the large screen, and in such an atmospheric setting. Even the growing wind during the evening occasionally creating a ripple effect on the screen – added to the ambience.

Overall, a memorable night that fueled plenty of discussion about the thought-provoking film on the car journey home.