23rd April 2015, 9:31am
Literature-inspired art festival launches in Lincoln
Vonnegut Arts Festival A nightclub, a church, an underground Roman gateway and a 12th century Guildhall once used for storing royal wines are some of the unusual locations which will be transformed by a new literature-inspired arts festival.

Running for a week from Monday 4th May 2015 at venues across the city of Lincoln, UK, the event will offer audiences the chance to experience interactive installations inspired by the late American author Kurt Vonnegut.

Vonnegut, described as ’the counterculture’s novelist’, was a prisoner of war during World War II and survived the bombing of Dresden in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker used as an ad-hoc detention facility. This was the inspiration for his most famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, and his experience of war had a profound influence on much of his work.

The Vonnegut Arts Festival, launched by a group of 30 creative students from the School of Fine & Performing Arts at the University of Lincoln, will include five exhibitions located across the historic city. It will celebrate some of Vonnegut’s most acclaimed work and encourage new audiences to experience art through different mediums.

The festival is being organised by Jessica Smith and Ellen Young, both students on Lincoln’s Fine Art undergraduate degree.

Jessica said: “Bringing together emerging young artists studying at the University of Lincoln, we hope this exhibition will make art more readily available in Lincoln. The five exhibitions will be spread across the city in venues that may well be familiar to people, but which may not ordinarily be associated with art. By exhibiting in places that people are likely to visit as part of their daily lives, we hope to encourage new audiences to experience our work.”

Each of the exhibitions will draw on themes from a different Vonnegut novel. Slaughterhouse-Five will open in The Scene nightclub, Mother Night will take place in the ancient St. Swithin’s Church and The Sirens of Titan will transform Posterngate – the underground Roman gateway hidden underneath a bank in the centre of Lincoln.

The God Bless You, Mr Rosewater exhibition will take place in the basement of Circle nightclub, while Timequake will be housed in St Mary's Guildhall – thought to have been the property of Henry II and built for the crown-wearing ceremonies of Christmas 1157. Since its construction in the 12th century, the building has been used for royal wine storage, as a Guildhall, school, undertakers, shop, council venue, and now a temporary exhibition space.

The festival will include interactive artwork from painters, digital and sound artists, sculptors and textile makers, many of whom will draw on the theme of time – a prevalent subject throughout Vonnegut’s novels.

Installations include a specially-crafted paint machine, through which the artist relinquishes control of the final artwork and encourages the audience to take part in its creation, and a sound recorder which takes its audience back in time to hear their own voice of the past.

Paul Edwards, Senior Lecturer in the School of Fine & Performing Arts, said: "All the students have been creative and dynamic in the way that they have managed this ambitious, site-specific project that requires finding venues not ordinarily associated with the visual arts and then making work that negotiates the peculiarities, limitations and opportunities of each location.”

Details on exhibition premiers and opening times are available via the Vonnegut Arts Festival Facebook page: www.facebook.com/VonnegutArtsFestival
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