A portal was created in the 404th Wall between 30th October and 8th November 2014 when Alexia Mellor and Anthony Schrag crossed the threshold to explore what lies on the other side. During this period they used Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Six Memos for the Next Millennium as guidebooks for their explorations. Each day, they navigated this new land with one of Calvino’s memos: lightness, quickness, multiplicity, exactitude, visibility and constancy. Their findings were sent back to the team of Extra Dimensional Explorers (EDE) and invited guests at the NewBridge Project Space in Newcastle who interpreted and responded to a variety of artefacts. Mellor and Schrag connected with the EDE team using livestreams, which have been archived in a top secret vault. As a new recruit to the EDE team, you can access these videos as you prepare for your own mission of crossing the 404th divide. Search the archive below. Don’t worry. There is no need for a chewing-gum stretching machine afterwards.
DAY 1: THE FIRST MISSION: THESE ARE THE STARS WE SEE
The eye does not see things but images of things that mean other things
Alexia and Anthony have arrived on the other side of the 404th divide and describe their first mission to the Extra Dimensional Explorer team in Newcastle. They tell the tales of treacherous adventures of crossing four zones, rows of lights in underground cities, and an electronic navigator named Serena, while describing the patterns of lights in the sky that they could see from their shelter. The EDE team responded, mapping out the stars seen from Dubai onto the NewBridge Project Lab Space.
DAY 2: PLAY: CITIES AND DESIRE – Inter-dimensional game night with visiting bon viveur Peter Law 5- 7pm UK Time
This city which cannot be expunged from the mind is like an armature, a honeycomb in whose cells each of us can place the things he wants to remember.
The team of EDEs in Newcastle were joined by artist and game designer Peter Law, along with our explorers Alexia and Anthony, to design an inter-dimensional game of draughts. With half of a game board in the NewBridge Project Space and half in Dubai, the team were tasked with creating a game with new rule sets adapted to be able to cross the 404th divide. What happens when a piece crosses to the other side? Well, it becomes a flapjack, of course!
DAY 3: PLAY: CITIES AND DESIRE – Making Islands – Scratch ideas and discussion.
All the rest is silent and interchangeable; trees and stones are only what they are
The Extra Dimensional Explorer team in Newcastle reviewed findings and artefacts, struggling to make sense of this new place. The technology failed and we are left with this clip and these sounds (below), and the appearance of the 404th commissions.
DAY 4: SOUND: CITIES AND MEMORY – John Bowers and Tim Shaw – Sound and field experiments – Headphone event
Each city receives its form from the desert it opposes
Now, from each city Marco described to him, the Great Khan’s mind set out on its own, and after dismantling the city piece by piece, he reconstructed it in other ways, substituting components, shifting them, inverting them.
Sound artists John Bowers and Tim Shaw joined the EDE team in Newcastle to create an interpreted soundscape, mashing up the audio files transmitted by Alexia and Anthony of the everyday sounds encountered in their navigation of the 404th wall. You are invited to create your own soundscape using the provided files: https://soundcloud.com/404th/sets
Day 5: CARTOGRAPHY: CITIES AND SIGNS – Remote Extra Dimensional Explorers and improvisations from Musee Imaginaire
Our team of Remote EDEs collaborated with our team in Newcastle, interpreting the data sent from Duabi into their own locational contexts. Connecting across the 404th divide, we attempt to create a common language.
Day 6: CARTOGRAPHY: CITIES AND SIGNS
Each city replaces its form from the desert it opposes.
Creating shared archetypal language and metrics, the Dubai team choreograph the movements of the EDE team in Newcastle. Time and distance are measured in Adhans, Greggs’ sausage rolls and breaths.
DAY 7: Uproot it, dismantle it, take it off – Gateway Studio
Dancing around architecture
Martin and Debbie Hylton of Gateway Studio in Gateshead (UK) mapped Alexia and Anthony’s movements around a neighbourhood in Dubai into the NewBridge Project Space. Using audio instructions (see audio file below), and supplied diagrams, Martin and Debbie choreographed movements around the space, tracking them with a web of string.
DAY 8: Continuous Cities – The final STREAMPOSIUM
A livestreamed symposium, the STREAMPOSIUM, in collaboration with Rebecca Huggan of Tea Owl, brought our teams together to reflect on the first ever mission to cross the 404th wall.