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  • Davy & Kristin McGuire

December 2018: Still Lives for Urban Legends

We thought we'd give you some more information on our current 3 window displays on Whitefriargate in Hull. Below you'll find some dates and location coordinates, but also some work in progress shots and some background information on the characters' stories:


The projections on the window displays will run from the 29th November to the 2nd December from 5pm to 10pm as part of Hull's Urban Legends Festival. Thereafter a non-interactive version of the work will continue to be on display until the 6th of January 2019 with projections running after dark, from 4pm to 8pm.


The 3 window displays are located on Whitefriargate in Hull town centre within 5min walking distance from the train station.

The pieces are free and wheel chair accessible.

The Snow Queen

In Andersen’s story the Snow Queen is depicted as a mysterious figure who abducts a small boy upon which he looses his emotions and empathy. Her character has ignited people’s imaginations beyond her modest appearance in the original story. In popular culture her elusiveness and perfection make her a figure of fantasy and desire, in a similar way to the unobtainable beauty and perfection of contemporary models in fashion advertisements. Although the snow queen may be perfect, this perfection brings loneliness and we wanted to present the snow queen as not only a figure of danger and glamour but also a character who is isolated and trapped in a gilded, frozen cage.

This window display is a confession of the snow queen from her contemplative point of view.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is a young female sea creature that longs for the love of human prince and therefore sacrifices her beautiful voice, her mermaid tail and her habitat in return for the ability to walk on land and attract the prince’s attention. This attempt to fit into a world that seems more desirable, and to be loved fails however, as she is ignored and left to die, unloved, in a body that causes tremendous physical pain. We believe that her story resonates with peoples` desire to sacrifice their natural appearance and wellbeing, in an attempt to reach an unobtainable ideal, please an unavailable lover and fit into a judgemental world.

This window display reintroduces the pre-Disney sentiment of the little mermaid’s character in beautifully melancholic song.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The emperor in Andersen’s story commissions a tailor to make him a new suit. Blinded by his own vanity and by the tailor’s compliments, the emperor is fooled into revealing himself naked in public, with the conviction that he is wearing the most beautiful outfit ever made. His story could be seen as a reflection on today’s selfie culture where people’s fragile self esteem and identity is upheld by empty compliments and exaggerated affirmations by superficial friends off and online.

This window display is interactive during the Urban Legends Festival where the audience will get the opportunity to humorously probe the emperor’s motivations and beliefs.

After the festival this window display will run with a prerecorded monologue.

The creative team behind Still Lives include:

Concept and Design: Studio McGuire

Co-designer: Bluebeany

Writer: Richard Hurford

Composer: Michelle Eaton

Live Performers: Rick Bland and Jack Chamberlain

Voices: Jack Chamberlain (Emperor), Kristin McGuire (Snow Queen), Michelle Eaton (Mermaid)

Technical Assistance: Ed Grimoldsby and Jon Witts

Commissioned by Absolutely Cultured for Urban Legends; Northern Lights.

Many thanks to our administrator Sharon Worsnop and all the people who've lend us a helping hand: Meg and Graham Reedier, Chris Head, Mark Pollard, Paul Benson, Dylan Allan, Sebastian Bell and Annemarie Tickle.


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