Nativity of The Beasts

Lanternhouse, Ulverston, Cumbria
17 November to 21 December 2001
Nativity of the Beasts

Excerpts from the "Nativity of the Beasts" Program.

Although "Nativity of the Beasts" was an elegy to the death of animals, it was also a creative response containing a song of hope celebrating birth and fresh growth.

A number of complex and sometimes contradictory themes run through the work: farming, factory farming, butchering, the manufacture of "pedigree" pork pies and the birth of a calf to name a few. Memories and their release are woven together in a small symphony.

Created by seven Welfare State International artists in a month, "The Nativity" lasted about twenty minutes. It was a mixed media installation, fusing electronically generated animation, video, sculpture (made with elemental and basic materials - paper, wood, fire, charcoal), lighting and music. All the images and sound track had been specially composed for this occasion. The process was able to be followed a little through reference to artists' sketchbooks, and photographs displayed in Welfare State International's foyer.

As the moods shift, there was a space for meditation and time for silence. As in real life, there is no fast forward button, but in the midst of the everyday maelstrom there can be a pause for contemplation.


Alec Bell, Caroline Menis,Martin Brockman, Simon Byford, Dan Fox, Jon Bielstein

Josephine Broekhuizen and Tim Pomeroy for introducing us to Arran farmers Alec and Stewart Reid.
The dairy farmer on the Isle of Arran for the midnight 'phone call to witness the birth of a calf
Paul Tinning for digital video transfer to CD-ROM

Online version of 'From Pig to Pie', an animation from Nativity of the Beasts