100ft of Deep Time and the Deep Time: Meteor film Pod

From the outside, it looks like a huge meteor embedded into the ground; inside, it’s a cinema in which you’re invited to watch a collection of newly made films from internationally renowned artists, inspired by the concept of ‘Deep Time’.Responding to a call out for ideas by Mayes Creative, as part of its Dark Skies: Bright Stars programme, 8 selected artists have used 100ft of film to create their personal response to the theme. Each film will be premiered inside the special pod, created by artists Andrew Bird and Christina Romero Cross. Joanna Mayes, in collaboration with Software Cornwall and Ben Chew, will bring an added dimension using data from a mini cosmic ray detector to affect the way in which the films are shown, depending on the timing and/or quantity of cosmic ray (deep space radiation) activity.With everything from the indexical trace of the sun to prehistoric landscapes explored, this will be a programme of artistic and film making firsts, led by artist Joanna Mayes. Information about selected films and artists here.

The Dark Skies:Bright Stars programme is supported by Arts Council England, Feast & Heritage Lottery Fund. Cosmic Ray detector research funded by the Cornwall Industrial Trust. Programme created and commissioned by Mayes Creative with support from LUX and Plymouth University. Thanks to Cultivator, European Regional Development Fund and Cornwall Council for funding support for Pod screening equipment.

An amazing sculptural film pod

The film pod is a self-contained, meteor shaped, ‘mini cinema’ and has all the equipment required to screen the films. It is approximately 4 metres long by 3 metres wide and almost 2.5 metres high. It is open at one end and up to 6 people can enter to watch a rolling programme of the specially commissioned artist films which will be projected on the inside surface.From it’s beginnings as an idea for a dry indoor space to view films and extraordinary collaboration came about between artists Andrew Bird & Christina Romero-Cross and Joanna Mayes from Mayes Creative, where a pod was devised which could host digital films, within a pod which could function as a sculpture in its own right. Funded as part of Arts Council and Feast funded strand of the Dark Skies: Bright Stars programme, it was intended as a public engagement opportunity with the ideas behind the programme.

Cosmic Ray Detector
In addition to this, Joanna Mayes is working with Ben Chew, our Creative Technologist, to take forward Mayes Creative’s previous work with mini Cosmic Ray Detectors in collaboration with Software Cornwall and funded by the Cornwall Industrial Trust, used for our Deep Space research project and performance at Sterts Theatre. Working with a Raspberry Pi as the low-cost processing heart of the device, Ben has updated our initial version into a streamlined low-cost detector with an associated Pi with code which can run our Deep Time films, with playback intervened on by cosmic ray detection events! We have also added random playback of sound samples (created by Michelson Morley) in response to these events.


The story of the pod….The Meteor was created by Andrew and Christina in a coal yard in Wadebridge.

‘Our idea was to create a Sculptural structure that was reminiscent of a meteor that has crash landed on earth, which would create an external standalone Cinema Pod to show the films by artists on the theme of Deep Time and Space.

“Our first step was to create a super-structure; using bamboo and ties  to make the general shape to create a dome.  By testing various materials we decided that shrink wrap (pallet wrap) would give us the best surfaced to cast from.  We used fibreglass and fireproof resin for structural integrity then came a layer of foam insulation blocks which we carved by hand to give us the fine detail of the shape of the meteor and then another layer of fibreglass and resin.  It was required  to use waterproof light materials to achieve a large self supporting structure. We have tried to use recycled and minimum materials to achieve a monumental object .

The colour and surface  rock texture were achieved with a mixture of grit, quarry dust, copper powder, slate powder and aluminium which was applied before the top coat was dry.

The Meteor was built at Dan’s Our Space Studio in Wadebridge and has spent the last few months in a field at Benbole Farm near St Kew (massive thanks to  Dan ,Antonina and Jeremy)  where is has been used for picnics and apparently the sheep and geese have used it as a shelter in wet weather.”

Andrew & Christina

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/VZWIV2EacY4