Once Upon a Time in a Gallery

 (We have a Facebook page now – do come and “like” us and say hi)

OK, so the reason this sounds weird with me referring to myself all 3rd person isn’t that I’ve gone experimental. This is the official press release for Once Upon a Time in a Gallery. Use it freely to promote the event and submission call. Let’s make this event come alive, and make people think about their deepest-rooted desires.

Into the Desert at Oxford's O3 Gallery. Image by Kimberly Menozzi

Once Upon a Time in a Gallery

Modern fairytales presented in a new way, examining our oldest aspirations and fears.

Once Upon a Time in a Gallery is a new way of presenting a modern book of fairytales that combines technology with work from some of the world’s most exciting writers and artists to cast a fresh light on some of our oldest stories. Running through February and March 2011 and consisting of an online exhibition and a live launch show at Oxford’s O3 Gallery on January 27th, this is the second exhibition from eight cuts gallery, the literary project run by Oxford-based writer Dan Holloway.

eight cuts gallery is a project designed to blur the boundaries between literature and other art forms, and make the public think about what literature is, as well as about a series of important cultural questions. “I want to do things that aren’t possible with a traditional anthology or storybook,” says project creator Dan Holloway, a writer, arts event organiser, and spoken word performer.

Like the first exhibition, Into the Desert, which featured stories, poetry, photography, art, music and film by 19 writers from around the world, the virtual exhibition will guide readers through the pieces using hyperlinks. “Once inside, people can click on pictures, or words and phrases within a piece, and by choosing where those links take them, I can make people question their presuppositions about the nature not only of fairytales but of literature,” Holloway explains. “I can also create an experience that’s different every time someone visits. It’ll be like being lost in a forest and trying to find your way out – what could be more perfect for a fairytale experience.”

The live show, held in the fairytale setting of the O3 Gallery, housed in a turret of Oxford Castle, is an essential part of the experience. “Storytelling began as something spoken,” says Holloway. “And fairytales are all about society’s collective subconscious, about the aspirations and fears we all share, and figuring a way as a group to achieve or overcome them. Too often today, even at spoken word events, we lose with literature something we have never lost with art – that experience of watching other people’s immediate reactions to material, of figuring out in our own mind but also in the light of that reaction what we think about something. It’s that individual but also shared experience that has always been key to fairytales, making them not just expressions of our subconscious but foundation myths for our social groups.”

As well as exhibitions, eight cuts gallery also runs a small press publishing the very best contemporary writing across genres and formats, but always with an unexpected edge. It also produces Wafer Thins, a serial publication each 30p issue of which features a single short story.

The call for submissions to Once Upon a time in a Gallery is open until January 15th. Full details can be found at https://eightcuts.wordpress.com

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4 Responses to Once Upon a Time in a Gallery

  1. Bravo, Dan what an exciting project. I wish I lived closer than 12,000 miles…*sigh*

    We have little avenue available here at the moment for this wonderful connected artistry. Hopefully that will change, when more people become excited at the endless possibilities this marriage of art presents.

  2. I love everything about this idea.

    Fairy tales are the basis for all our stories aren’t they. They are reassuring – no matter how gruesome – because they tap into our fears and make them containable and tap into our dreams and make them seem possible. They help us make sense of an, at times, incomprehensible world.

    What a fab opportunity for storytelling.

  3. danholloway says:

    Thank you 🙂
    Sooz – most of what we’re doing is online – it would be lovely to have you involved

    Anne – yes, there is something about fairytales – there’s a reason they’re timeless, that we keep coming back again and again to the same archetypes and making them fresh for our time. I also think there’s been toomuhc rather colourless literary fiction of late – shallow and blank and lacking in beauty – and I think we’re ready for something a little more colourful.

  4. Grins…I am busy pounding away on the keyboard, trying to elicit some magic for my own ‘fractured fairytale’.


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