Hidden Wakefield in the Stars


On Wednesday November 30 artist Andy Abbott will reveal outcomes of a summer of research about ‘Hidden Wakefield’ at the bi-monthly Art Walk. Hidden Wakefield was a commission by Beam on behalf of the Wakefield Arts Partnership that aimed to find out more about what people in Wakefield value and their relationship to the city and district.


In a series of engagements that reached over 2700 people, Andy used a portable pyramid and augmented reality smartphone technology to have discussions about Hidden Wakefield. Members of the public were invited to ‘look inside’ the pyramid – called the Wakefield Centre for Dark Matter – using an iPad app that revealed constellations and star maps relating to people, groups, places, and events from Wakefield’s past, present and future. They were then invited to suggest what about the district they’d put in the pyramid for its next appearance.

Contributions ranged from pioneering conservationist and satirical taxidermist Charles Waterton, to the Pontefract Calligraphy Club, to the song Here We Go ‘Round The Mulberry Bush’ (apparently composed at Wakefield Prison), to local historian and ‘Wakefield Champion’ Kate Taylor, to Castleford-born Bioni Sampt the inventor of the honey-powered ‘Hive synthesiser’, to the ‘UK if not the world’s’ first independent record label and studio Holyground Records, to the Compton Cinema Organ in Ossett Town Hall and the community Iftar held last year at Lightwaves Community Centre.


Andy says –

“The research has been fascinating and has revealed a very different picture of Wakefield and the district to what I or others might expect. I got an overwhelming impression of a rural, peaceful, inventive and caring district with people that are proud of their heritage and keen to preserve that whilst being very open and welcoming to others.

 There’s also a naughty streak running throughout the history of Wakefield with the ’merrie city’, free festivals, illegal raves, independent and DIY culture – sometimes met with a tough love approach from the authorities – and a playful and sometimes bizarre side that includes Fish and Strips nights at Heppys and, of course, the world renowned pie shop.”

The contributions have been archived on an online gallery at www.darkmattercentre.com

and there’s still an opportunity to contribute your own via the web page and an online form.



Wakefield Artwalk Showcase

For the Wakefield Art Walk on November 30th Andy has worked with designer Ben Holden to produce a Wakefield Zodiac star chart print as well as performance for synthesiser and spoken word using Wakefield Horoscopes that will be performed as part of the Unity Words event at Unity Works at 7pm (door price is pay-as-you-feel).

If you visit the Prince Albert pop-up bar in Westgate Studios or the Wakefield Beer Exchange on Artwalk night keep an eye out for Wakefield Fortune Tellers who will be set up to offer to read your destiny through a specially designed set of Wakefield Dark Matter ‘tarot cards’.