My first visit to the Higgins this summer after the long closure was to see the exhibition of images of Bedford, bringing together works from the Higgins which weave the story of Bedford as busy market town, source of riverside leisure and an example of the way history imprints itself on a place.
The curator’s comments are interesting. How did JMW Turner get his view of Bedford so wrong? Did he ever actually come here?
The surprise of my visit, however, was to be drawn into the “Airship Dreams, Escaping Gravity” installation. Mike Stubbs’ contemporary new media installation invites the viewer on a spectacular journey - weaving material generated in games software, immersive audio composition, choir, archive film, and interactive sculptural elements. A mix of dance, song, special effects and the story of the R101 is truly artistic in that it transports you to another level.
Alongside it in the Connections Gallery, and curated in partnership with the local community, visitors will discover community treasures, oral histories, artefacts, screened digital materials, animation, graphic design and young people’s responses to the airship themes.
The 40 minute installation will be shown on Tuesday – Saturday at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm and on Sunday at 2:30pm and 3.30pm in Sir William Harpur Gallery.and runs until 28th November 2021.