Voodoo Science Park

A filmic essay which cross-cuts between Thomas Hobbes, William Blake, the science of accident investigation and the psychogeography of the Peak District.


Voodoo Science Park started life as a poetic film about the science of accident investigation practised by the Health and Safety Laboratory in the Peak District of England. In the book of the film, Victoria Halford and Steve Beard reveal the thinking that went into the preparation of the script. The Health and Safety Lab is the place where large-scale accidents such as tunnel collapses, fires and rail crashes are recreated to examine their destructive pathways. Halford and Beard explore the connections with imitative magic, drawing on the secret histories of dissident religious sects, miners and shamans as well as the prophecies of William Blake. They rethink the lab’s industrial safety rigs as monstrous emblems of the state, as theorised by Thomas Hobbes, and retrace the steps of a journey the political philosopher took through the hollow lands of the Peak in 1626. Testimony from highwaymen, ramblers and urban explorers is collected along the way. The book is composed in a fragmentary style which weaves together philosophy, travelogue, history of science, sociology and religious study.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
  • Voodoo Science Park convincingly demonstrates that history is only ever rewritten and that there can consequently be little room for ‘accidents’ in any of our accepted historical accounts. If this text overturns all orthodox readings of the documented past, it does so simply in the name of prophecy, the authors being bold enough to let the existing state of affairs speak for itself. Such eloquent restraint is extremely rare, extracting a simple yet undeniable poetry from the unearthing of connections between events. Through this gently persistent accumulation of facts, an enigmatic half-hidden landscape is gradually transformed into the starkest of mythologies.

    ~ Ken Hollings, Author of Welcome to Mars
  • Combining compelling archive with contemporary footage of the Health and Safety Laboratory in the Peak District, Derbyshire, Voodoo Science Park summons the poetic and political archetypes of Leviathan, Albion and Gogmagog in order to anatomise the powers of accident, reenactment, sacrifice, punishment, artificial life, magic, sleep and civil war in the state of Britain. Part video-essay, video-poem and video-guide, VoodooScience Parkis a vivid and erudite conjuration that redreams the history of our present with a passion and a purpose that is entirely visionary.       

    ~ Kodwo Eshun, on the film-of-the-book
  • “Here maverick theorist Steve Beard, working with Victoria Halford, fashions a fascinating, Keiller-esque meditation on Hobbes’s Leviathan, the covert geographies of Albion and post-Ballardian crash theory.”

    ~ Sukhdev Sandhu, on the film-of-the-book
SHARE IT


DETAILS

SEE ALSO