In Rainbowhead was a one-off guerrilla cinema event that took place on the 12th September, 2010 in ‘Moulsecomb Wild Park’ on the outskirts of Brighton. The publicly inclusive event – free of financial obligation – was an audio/visual screening of Radiohead’s seminal double disc album ‘In Rainbows’ for which nine amateur artists collaborated to produce eighteen original video’s to coincide with each track of the heartening alternative rock/electronic collection. Themes explored in the artwork produced were social exclusion, freedom [or lose off], spirituality, disjunction, metaphysics and existence.
The night was a huge success, attracting approximately one hundred fans and friends from across the country. For some of those attending, one of the events most enduring successes will have been how the event succeeded in creating a deeply intimate audio/visual experience in a wholly natural and uncommodified rural environment. For others it was how the event successed in provoking what one person described as a “momentary universal consciousness” which surpassed the superficial pleasures of aesthetic and aural satisfaction and touched on something of a much more profound and spiritual nature. One thing that is for sure however, is how ‘In Rainbowhead’, in its production and execution, not only spatially transcended government and market control of live music and art entertainment experiences but also how it transgressed the commercial music industries normative processes of the production and consumption of artistic material.
Unique to this particular project, was the mode by which the artists and film-makers engaged collaboratively and creatively in the production of the artwork for the eighteen tracks. Off great significance in this instance was the manner in which this particular mode of production and participatory engagement by fans effectively dissolves – or at very least intervenes – in the conventional top-down ‘producer/consumer’ relationship, which elevates the art and music industries beyond rudimentary civic involvement. Instead, the participants of ‘In Rainbowhead’ succeeded in creating a platform which finds a thoroughly engaged and deeply rewarding middle ground where those touched by the music acted upon their latent but nascent artistic and emotional reactions. Through actions, words, art, moving image and film, those involved visually articulated their deeply personnel feelings and emotions in a bottom-up approach to the production and consumption of music and its visual manifestations and subsequently contributed to how this particular music is experienced, perceived and remembered in the future.
For fans and artists alike, this event will be remembered as an evening that commendably celebrated a truly great album, by a truly great band in grandiose fashion. For all those who were involved in the events production, which saw passive observers turn into active participants, the most profound feature may turn out to be the emphatic realisation that just because it didn’t come at a cost and no money was made, doesn’t mean it is defunct of value.