Thinking Digital Arts commissioned Di to create a design fiction film inspired by the Sage, Gateshead – a concert venue and also a centre for musical education, located in Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne, in the North East of England. It was designed by Fosters and Partners and was opened in 2004 and is tenanted by the North Music Trust.
Drawing from the building’s unique architecture, shape, systems, staff and visitors, the film highlights the venues’ bespoke, designed structures. Imagining these structures as vital organs which make up the mechanism of a giant musical instrument, Di explored innovative ways to release the buildings voice, resonance and soul.
Inspired by the word “Sage” meaning a profoundly wise man or woman, I started to imagine the building as a living creature holding sounds, secrets and wisdom. The main character in the film is the janitor, a quiet and discreet woman who is a living extension of the building.
The film tells the story of this living musical architecture through a single character – the nighttime janitor, who one day discovers the building’s breath and begins to interact and communicate with the structure through sound. As time passes, the janitor finds creative ways to harness the Sage’s voice via fantastical musical devices that grow from the building’s fabric. One such instrument is called the Banistonica – a device that grows from jelly like seeds in the core of the building and able to slide up and down the banister changing in pitch as it goes. All of these sonic growths discovered by the janitor amplify the building’s voice , enabling the Sage to breathe, hum, and sing.
Di is currently submitting the film to festivals and so it will not be available to view until later in 2018.