The outward appearance of Mexborough Business Centre very much belies the nature of certain events which have taken place within. The immersive entertainment company Faceless Ventures often utilise the space for various shows and experiences, many of which feature dark themes and/or horror content. Last night was no exception, as the venue played host to the ‘Born in Blood’ exhibition, presented by Strange Playgrounds in collaboration with Faceless Ventures. The evening was an exploration into Abarise, a mythological state comprised of neurosis, trauma, insanity and suffering. The ‘Born in Blood’ collective represents Abarise in multiple formats, encompassing photography (Nick Hardy), writing (George Daniel Lea), and film (Alex De Luca). The evening served as an imaginative platform from which all of these works could be showcased.
The photography presentation was of particular interest to us, as this had been incorporated into a live theatrical piece in the basement of the business centre. The photos themselves adorned the walls, nestled under plastic sheeting and lashings of blood, echoing the imagery in the pictures and thus creating a seamless connection between the space and what was being exhibited. We were given small torches to help us explore our surroundings, and I got a good jump scare as I made my way through. This was followed by a dramatic actor-led scene, culminating in an unexpected (and extremely physical) finale. The dialogue in this sequence really brought the concept to life; overall, this small show was the highlight of our evening.
Later in the evening we were shown a short film titled ‘Hymns of Abarise – Megan’, which was another step into the the world of Abarise. While I loved the inclusion of a short film in general, the film itself wasn’t for me. It is worth pointing out that as a programmer for a film festival, short films are submitted to us in their hundreds, and by watching these over the years I’ve probably developed a more critical eye than most. ‘Difficult to please’ might be a better way of putting it! Nevertheless, the concept of Abarise is a plentiful source of inspiration; a solid foundation on which all manner of ideas can be built, so tapping into this via the medium of film seems like a promising journey to embark on. I look forward to seeing how the film progresses, as there was talk of developing it into a feature.
A resounding sense of community is what made this evening special for us. The members of the local community who had come to see the exhibition. The artistic community of Abarise, who had used their creativity to help support mental health charities. And of course, the haunt community, doing what they love most. A pleasure to spend time with as always. Well done to everyone involved in this exhibition – it was an intriguing and truly unique event.