Alma Mater 4**** Press Acclaim
Nov 2010 08

Alma Mater is over for the time being, but we are exploring future incarnations for what The Herald called a ‘portable time-warp’, an artwork that vividly brings Mackintosh’s Scotland Street School to life.

Hundreds of visitors from around the world came to the school last week to experience Alma Mater’s immersive film and music tour of the building.  We were bowled over by the overwhelming response: people loved it!

We will blog again when we have processed the audience responses, for the time being here are excerpts from the press.

Mary Brennan gave Alma Mater 4**** in The Herald last Friday, saying that:

This site-specific IETM commission adds another dimension to the building and its history. Fish and Game – the company name that harbours the talents of Eilidh MacAskill and Robert Walton – has created a kind of portable time-warp that has you seeing the past even as the present.  The device in hand is an iPad. Don headphones, switch on and a video guides you on a journey filled with haunting details of a strictly regimented attitude to schooling. It extended beyond the three Rs into aspects of play, “acceptable” behaviour and the process of becoming a worthwhile adult.

[…] It’s so vividly produced, you constantly expect to see these persuasive ghosts appear beside you as you walk. The intricacies of the camerawork, the nuances of behaviour, all connect superbly to the building and its previous life – would that Alma Mater could be a more permanent part of what the museum offers.

Joyce McMillan said in The Scotsman that,

Fish & Game’s new show Alma Mater, specially commissioned for this week’s International European Theatre Meeting in Glasgow, is one of the first Scottish-made shows not only to use an audio soundtrack but also a hand-held video presentation running on an iPad, to guide audiences through a promenade experience. It emerges as a strange, haunting event.

[…] Like little ghosts from the past, schoolchildren in old-fashioned dress appear on the iPad image, beckoning us through the corridors, sitting in the desks of the old classrooms we visit, hiding in the corners of cloakrooms, cowering from the tawse; the image is of an education system both cruelly tough and oddly effective, emotionally brutal, but intellectually generous.  […] It’s an interesting half-hour, illuminated at every turn by the beauty and originality of Mackintosh’s building.

Click here to visit the Alma Mater project page.

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