David Blandy introduces his work for Art Across The City 2012

I’ve made a Guitar Hero-type game that pits two Swansea figures against each other, Dylan Thomas and the Swansea Devil. I was reading Thomas’s “And Death shall have no dominion”, and it really reminded me of some 90’s rock lyrics, like the Melvins or Jesus Lizard. So I worked with this band, The Wailingest Cats, to create a dissonant rock song version of the poem. I guess I wanted to point at the way we find meaning and insight in strange places, like thinking about world politics while playing along to Black Sabbath’s War Pigs on Guitar Hero 2.

I like to work with things that already exist, like songs, films and games, changing their contexts to try to work out what they mean, how we interact with them, and how they might change us.
It makes things like this “Battle of the Soul: Swansea Devil vs Dylan Thomas” feel familiar, approachable.

It’s been a great process, gathering Manga artist Inko’s interpretations of Thomas, a guitar wielding Devil, and the gates of hell, and The Wailingest Cat’s interpretation of the poem, and trying to weld them together using a DIY song game programme called Frets on Fire. I’m glad the machine is going to move around (in a converted Horse Box!), haunting different spots with its crunching guitars and gaudy graphics. I’m hoping it’s not obviously “art”, but something that engages people’s attention enough to make them try to figure out what it might be, what it might mean.


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