artSUOTH commission, High Down Rocket Test Site, Isle of Wight 2013
Midnight is a collaborative project commissioned by artSOUTH. It came about from a chance meeting between the artist Tom Hall visiting this rocket site and the ex-rocketeer and now National Trust volunteer, Mike Elliott.
The project re-imagines the test site in the fifties in the grips of the cold war when the predictive ‘Doomsday Clock’ was set at its closest to midnight. The work draws on historic photographs and the intriguing technical discussions with Mike mixed with his captivating personal narratives and life around this sensitive facility. Tom has constructed a ‘near reality’ based on concepts of a global catastrophe. The installation uses the National Trust’s approaches to reconstruction and bringing to life of heritage sites. This scene is set when all clocks are at midnight and the blast doors are shut and the test rooms abandoned. A lingering sense of its inhabitants clings to the atmosphere and the remaining personal effects. This is interspersed with out of place historic objects such as an American civil war crutch and a North Korean missile both echoing the uncertainty of the political situations that surround us today.