Arts Council Funding approved

I am very pleased to announce that we were successful in getting support from the Arts Council for the development of Prometheus. The mechanical set builds are well under way and should be completed for the next phase of the projects development in August. Pictures to follow and a bit more detail when I get the chance.

Prometheus’ Garden

Homunculus complete

Prometheus’ Garden is a performance/installation project, which uses as inspiration and metaphor, the myth of Prometheus. In Greek mythology the best understood story is that Zeus punished Prometheus for stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to mankind; for this he was chained to a rock for 1000 years to have his liver pecked out each day by an eagle.

By taking the fire element from the myth as a metaphor for technology and the garden as a symbol of the world and mindset we now inhabit, we intend to produce an installation piece that will operate as a mechanical sculpture garden during daylight and then morph into a full blown, multi media performance after dark.

The show does not aim to retell the Prometheus myth in a modern form, but more importantly provide an allegory for our modern times, offering a mirror to the spectator and articulating ideas of change both social and environmental. We live in a unique period of human history, where mass consumption is both encouraged to maintain economic and social stability and discouraged to protect our habitat. The show will both create wonder and beauty and offer poetic, dark and playful narrative to modern issues of mankind’s relationship to technology and dependency on energy, without inculcation or dogma.

The showcase will be produced on the 13th October 2012 at Elsecar Industrial Heritage Centre, we expect to invest the show with the companies technical resources and generous quantities of pyrotechnic and combustible consumables to create the most fully realised performance possible for our audience.

The Homunculus is finished! This machine is one of two main characters that combine to become the flame and fire section of the performance. Work is now underway on the ‘Chariot’ build, this machine is complex in its movements and houses part of the video projection equipment.

Chariot gear box detail

Design  and maquette making has started on all the other  main elements for the installation and show. We have plans to build a giant Orrery, Flame Engine, Oracle platform for the performer and an hydraulic Telescope, more on these later, along with news on our funding bids for the project.


Greetings to all out there!

In the workshops with one of the almost finished homunculi.

Hello and welcome to my first post. At this point I would like to outline what I think this blog is for and the motivation for having one connected to our new and shiny External Combustion web site (many thanks to Nik at Remix for such a fantastic job!).

The blog gives me the opportunity to present my personal side projects, which do not generally feature in the show and fireworks display productions of the company. However, I am now becoming much more interested in creating new performances that will bring in my own machine sculpture and video work, with an eye to developing shows that are less concerned with very large scale spectacle and more to do with visual detail, nuance and intimacy for an audience.

The first project to combine the infrastructure of External Combustion and my work is ‘Prometheus’ Garden’, which I am delighted to announce has the venue, date and generous funding in kind and real money from Barnsley Culture Team. More on this to follow, after we complete some indoor pyro gigs and a big roof top pyromusical at the end of the month.

Thanks for reading.

Doug Nicholson