Sophie Michael’s The Watershow Extravaganza now available

Posted November 23rd, 2017 in New Acquisitions, New Films, News / Events

Sophie Michael is a London based artist working across film, photography and installation. Her 16mm films examine ideas around nostalgia and innocence, drawing on early experimental filmmaking and mid-twentieth century design to question our relationship to the past through the lens of the present. We are pleased to offer The Watershow Extravaganza for rental on 16mm.


The Watershow Extravaganza (2016 | 10.5 minutes | COLOR | SOUND)

The Watershow Extravaganza records the eponymous attraction at Watermouth Castle in North Devon, built for the 1951 Festival of Britain before being installed in the theme park in the 1980s. The show choreographs water and coloured light to music played by a 1920’s mechanical organ. Using in-camera editing techniques in her film, Michael re-weaves together the elements of the performance by superimposing imagery. Creating a secondary layer of synaesthesia between light and sound, she evokes early 20th century experiments with colour organs. Set in a child-sized, deserted theatre embellished with plastic flowers and union jacks, the weary water jets are conducted by the out of tune organ. Michael continuously explores the paradoxes of our contemporary responses to the past, and how vanished eras can be at once fascinating, outdated and slippery.”
– Elsa Coustou, Assistant Curator Tate Britain, July 2016

“A warbling 1920s Mighty Mortier organ accompanies the expiring vestiges of choreographed neon light and fountains in Sophie Michael’s trippy The Watershow Extravaganza, which records the eponymous, near-derelict attraction at Watermouth Castle theme park in Devon – a spectacle eerily devoid of spectators and on the verge of exhaustion and hysteria.”
– AndrĂ©a Picard, TIFF Programmer, September 2016