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Terminus – Liverpool Overhead Railway Film

imageTERMINUS: George’s Dock Building, Pier Head : 28 October – 2 November 2008
Historic journey of Liverpool Overhead Railway reconstructed in a stunning large-scale projection in city’s iconic waterfront.

Liverpool is to celebrate the recreation of one of Cinema’s defining moments.

In 1897 the pioneering Lumiere brothers famously filmed the world’s first tracking shot to capture the magic of the world’s first electric overhead railway – the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR).

Now 51 years after the LOR was demolished, the public are being invited to enjoy the ride one more time thanks to an equally technologically audacious new film.

Terminus is a newly commissioned cinematic reconstruction of the entire Liverpool dock complex as could be witnessed from a journey on what was affectionately known as ‘The Dockers Umbrella‘ from 1893-1957.

Created by local artist Ben Parry the hour long film is made up of a single, real time tracking shot at an elevation of 8m (the height of LOR), taking the viewer along the length of the docks from Wapping Dock into Seaforth container port at the mouth of the River Mersey. The film is split into two journeys from South to North, day to night, back and forth with only a vague sense of beginning or end.

Referencing the birth of cinema and Lumiere’s film from the LOR in 1897, the work has been created using the latest in cinema technology employed in Hollywood action films with the support of the UK’s leading new media organisation FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology).

The film will be projected from dusk until dawn onto the east wall of George’s Dock Building at Pier Head between October 28 – November 2, with the support of Merseytravel. The spectacular projection will been seen by well over 500,000 people on foot and by car as they travel through the iconic waterfront landscape.

Ben, who is based in Liverpool with arts organisation Jump Ship Rat, said his inspiration grew out of his fascination with the scale and history of the city’s docks having worked there for the past 10 years.

He added: “The disciplined unflinching gaze through the camera lens contains both past and present and simultaneously signals the future. Terminus is a dynamic exploration of Liverpool’s unique industrial landscape whose engineering legacy and technological innovation were exemplified by Jess Hartley’s integrated dock system and the world’s first electric overhead railway. Merging actuality with fiction Terminus re-ignites folklore, exposes the spaces of geographic dislocation and makes the invisible visible. “

The commission has been part-funded by Liverpool Culture Company under the Cities on the Edge Programme, with Jump Ship Rat and the Arts Council England North West.

Sir Bob Scott, International Director, Liverpool Culture Company, said: “Waterfronts are the crucial shared physical characteristic of the six great cities that make up the network of Cities on the Edge. The Bay at Naples, the Bosphorus that divides Istanbul, the old Port at Marseilles, the Shipyards that soar over the city of Gdansk are equalled by Liverpool’s iconic Waterfront with the Albert Dock and the 3 Graces. Ben Parry’s wonderful Liverpool film brings back the great days of one of the busiest waterfronts in the world. Young and old Liverpudlians will be profoundly moved.”

Footage from Terminus has already been used in Terence Davies critically acclaimed new film Of Time and the City, which was also commissioned for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture.

And in response to Terminus, FACT will present a special screening of the original Lumiere’s footage in an outdoor projection on Art House Square, Fleet Street during the Liverpool Biennial’s Long Night on 30 October.

Mike Stubbs, Director and CEO, FACT: said: “FACT is proud to have supported this innovative experiment and the idiosyncratic work of Ben Parry.  This public realm film projection references some of the earliest moving image technologies important to industrial development of this city and profoundly influencing how we see the world, through the birth of the tracking shot.  Re-creating or remembering the iconic view from the Dockers Umbrella could only have been possible through collaboration, high technology and knowledge normally associated with the top end of the movie industry, bringing together creative technological invention familiar in Liverpool and to FACT.”