Coming Soon to a Fleapit Near You: Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend

The Fleapit marquee is coming along nicely – getting ready for showing some Cary Grant related material in the run up to the Cary Grant Comes Home For the Weekend Festival.

Fleapit Now Showing Cary Grant

Decorating the marquee and signage.

You get to play projectionist: you are invited to get the cinema ready by dimming the lights, opening the curtains and queuing the films, which include a selection of vintage 1950s Pearl & Dean advertising (thanks to Peter Seabrook-Harris for permissions), trailers for Arsenic and Old Lace and North by Northwest (the festival gala double bill) and a film about Archie Leach’s Pastry Fork.

Testing back-lighting by inserting iPad inside!

Testing back-lighting by inserting iPad inside!

The next stage is for Tarim to fit LED lights to the marquee and auditorium, complete the electronics, give the auditorium one final coat of paint and Bob’s your Auntie’s live-in lover. I can’t wait to see the marquee in situ on the rest of the cinema!

Close up

Close up


Tiny Fleapit nearing completion

The tiny Fleapit is due to be revealed shortly.  Once Tarim has finished working on the curtain mechanism we can put the finishing touches on it and display it in Encounters reception at Watershed.  We’ll let you know when it’s live. Here are some photos of work in progress to whet your appetite, including me adding the fringe to the curtains, flocking the beautifully hand-carved seats (made by Simon Dorgan at Urbi et Orbi), the view through the projection booth windows and a mock up of what the curtains will look like once they’re hung.




Projection booth windows

Fleapit_in progress

I couldn’t resist taking a shot of this miniature popcorn stand and little tubs of popcorn with my fingers in shot to show the actual scale.


Setting up at the Parlour Showrooms

Tarim and I were invited to install a giant version of The Fleapit in the Parlour Showrooms as part of Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival’s fringe events this year.  Here are some photos of us setting up with fringe events co-ordinator, Steve Presence and Bert and Joe from Know Alternative.



Ladies bloomers at Parlour Showroom


There’s something rather lovely about these curtains popping up in a shop window – gives a whole new meaning to window shopping.  Tarim suggested calling it Window Screen and we also had Window Jacker as a suggested title, but we decided to stick with Pop-up Fleapit as the film programme and interaction is essentially the same as the tiny version.

Up-scaling the installation to this size has been a huge learning curve, particularly in terms of the physics of back-projection, issues around scanning the QR codes in daylight and the fact that Know Alternative were tasked with setting up Encounters’ Swiss Chalet behind the screen which meant we didn’t have as long a run as we’d like.  But it’s whetted my appetite for further pop-up cinema events in shop windows so watch this space, or get in touch if you have any ideas.

I’m editing a short video documentation of the interactive curtains in action, which I’ll post here soon.

Ladies bloomers cinema curtains

Whilst making the “ladies bloomers” style cinema curtains I strung them across my mum’s kitchen. As you may already know, I’m addicted to cinema curtains.  I don’t know what the attraction is and have ruminated on it a bit here, but I just might have to find space for them at home…

Ladies bloomers cinema curtains

Fleapit update

We are making progress with the digital fleapit with the first stage of the box that will become the cinema now completed by Simon Dorgan of Urbi et Orbi.


Now Tarim is working on the innards and I will soon be sewing the curtains. All very exciting!

Cardboard fleapit

Tarim revealed the cardboard prototype today:


As per Projection Hero the flea pit will situate the spectator in the role of the projectionist, controlling the cinema, hence the little projection booth windows (see close up through one of the windows below). I’m loving the arcade game look. We’ve added a back board which will function as a marquee where we can advertise what’s being programmed, as per the aesthetic of these beautiful cinema hoardings.

The key difference from Projection Hero is the size – we’re designing this one to be super portable, to fit in the suitcase pictured below. Next step is another slightly smaller cardboard prototype, drawing up the dimensions for the box and getting Urbi et Orbi to fashion the shell of the box so Tarim can get down to the nitty gritty of fitting the mechanism and circuitry and I can start sewing the curtains…

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Digital Fleapit – Coming Soon

Work is underway to develop the Digital Flea Pit, a collaboration between Charlotte Crofts (UWE) and Tarim (Media Playgrounds).  Tarim is working on a cardboard prototype to test the dimensions, both in terms of the interior of the miniature cinema and how it fits into the suitcase we’re going to use to protect it in transit. Will update next week.  Very excited!