Between the Acts (2018) is an artist poster commissioned by Flying Leaps and created in response to the Brexit negotiations. The iconic image of the white cliffs at Seven Sisters in Sussex is coupled with a quotation from Virginia Woolf’s posthumously published work ‘Between the Acts’.
“They looked at the view; they looked at what they knew, to see if what they knew might perhaps be different today. Most days it was the same.” Virginia Woolf (1941)
The photograph was created the week that Theresa May signed Article 50 triggering the official transition period and Brexit negotiations to take the UK out of the EU. Visitors to the Seven Sisters are warned not to approach the edge because it is unstable. However, when faced with an abyss – whether natural or man-made – it’s difficult to resist staring into it. The aim of presenting this poster in the public space was to create unexpected, thought-provoking contributions to the urban spectacle, turning the street into a platform to challenge ideas and attitudes towards Brexit.
The poster was originally put up on billboards and fly-poster sites in Bristol, Glasgow, London and Manchester in February and March 2018. After a successful application to Arts Council England the poster was subsequently displayed on advertising hoardings and poster sites across Brighton during the 2018 Photo Fringe festival. Within days the posters were removed from several locations around the city after an intervention by Brighton & Hove City Council which felt the image of a local landmark, associated with suicide and accidental deaths, was inappropriate. Instead of curtailing the artistic impulse, this intervention prompted an abstract re-imagining of the poster without the identifiable features of the cliff, and the new version was installed around the city, thereby opening up a wider conversation about civic power and censorship.
Both versions of Between the Acts are available as limited edition blue-back posters here.
View a video showing the posters displayed on sites in Brighton here