Commissioned by the 9th Earl De La Warr in 1935 and designed by architects Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, the De La Warr Pavilion was the UK‘s first public building designed in the Modernist style. Pioneering in structure as it was in spirit, the purpose of this steel and concrete Pavilion was to provide accessible culture and leisure for the people of Bexhill and beyond and so regenerate the economy of the town and the surrounding area.
In 1935 when the De La Warr Pavilion was being finished, Serge Chermayeff, one of its two architects, envisaged a 10ft statue of the ancient Greek goddess Persephone for the front of the building overlooking the seafront Lido. Neither the statue or the Lido were ever made - a marble bust of Persephone was commissioned, but it was decided that this kind of classical decorative flourish was out of step with the clean, modern streamline design ideal that the Pavilion embodied, so the full statue was never built.
Ditigal art collective MOTH were comissioned by UP Projects, an independent public art agency, to create a site specific audio/visual performance that responds to the De la Warr Pavilion. Inspired by the myth of Persephone and the story of the statue, they developed Plinth - a high definition video graffiti theatre experience inspired by the Modernist architecture of the De La Warr Pavilion, with music created by capturing sounds from inside the building itself as well as live audio sung by VC_Kristi and transmitted via wireless headsets. The performance headlined the DLWP's 'Random Fridays' evening on June 19th, as part of the South East's Festival of Architecture 2009.
The story follows Orpheus, a musician, as he leads the spirit of his wife Eurydice from Hades, after Persephone, Queen of Hades, makes a deal with them. Eurydice can leave the Underworld and return to life by following Orpheus, but only on the condition that he doesn’t turn to look at her before they reach the surface. If he does, he will lose her forever.