Lucy in the sky -Beatles in a box

Denmark    6 | See all    Henrik Bak
Project Overview
Beatles in a box
– creative design and cultural heritage
Try to create an image of this lyric:    So we sailed into the sun,
Till’ we found the sea of green
And we lived beneath the waves
In our yellow submarine
Or how about this one:   Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marsh mellow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high
5’th and 6’th graders visiting the culture house Nicolai for Children were presented with this task in a workshop in the autumn 2010. The text fragments are historical documents - they are part of The Beatles’ song catalogue - and the workshop was prompted by an exhibition in a neighbouring cultural institution, Koldinghus,- the old castle of Kolding- celebrating the 50’th anniversary of The Beatles’ formation.
The purpose was to give students the opportunity to "move into the music" and reflect on the expressions and meanings related to Beatles’ music and lyrical universe. We wanted to give the students the opportunity to work with design and aesthetics using music, text and the sixties as an outset and to establish linkages across different types of aesthetic expressions.

Fifth and sixth classes spent a whole day within The Beatles’ universe. They started with a guided tour of the Beatles exhibition at the museum of Koldinghus. Afterwards they went to Nicolai for Children and spent the rest of the day immersed in creating their own versions of The Beatles’ universe in cardboard boxes with the help of professional intermediaries.

The workshop:
Pupils were greeted by the staff at Nicolai for Children and started to talk about the exhibition, The Beatles' music and their sometimes bizarre lyrics. Sitting or lying on the floor looking up into a big mirror ceiling students listened to a select Beatles song, for example, Octopus' Garden, Yellow submarine or Lucy in the Sky med Diamonds.
They were then divided into groups of three. Each group was given a cardboard box, which was closed in the bottom and sides but open at the top. In each box was a selection of creative materials (newspapers, small cardboard boxes, paint, tape, fabric etc.)  and a verse translated into Danish from the song they had just listened to. Both materials and verse varied for each group.
The task was to transform the Beatles’ lyrics into a visual universe inside the cardboard box. As a dogma promoting the creativity of the children a bit of each sort of material from the box had to be used in the final design in one way or another.
The pupils were helped with practical details by their class teachers and the intermediaries in Nicolai for Children but took full charge of the design process themselves.
Some students chose to cut two full sides out of their boxes to give insight into what was built up inside, others made small peepholes or doors and windows.
During the process they talked amongst themselves about the designs they were creating, making small narratives about periscopes spying on the neighbours, wargames in the belly of a submarine etc. The children seemed totally engaged in the play full flow of designing the boxes and they forgot all about breaks and lunch.
Upon finishing the boxes each school class stacked all their boxes. Put on top of each other the boxes formed a complete Beatles tower with a song universe visually expressed in each box.

The Box towers each represented "The Apple Building" – Beatles’ studio in London - where the band held their last concert in 1969. With the towers created by the children the circle was closed back to the exhibition at Koldinghus that had a copy of the rooftop concert setup as a centre piece in the exhibition.
Furthermore The Repeatles - a Beatles copy band - recreated the original final concert on a rooftop in the centre of Kolding in autumn 2010. In many respects Beatles in a Box ended up making a lot of connections within the community and applying the term Fantasy Design in a way, that on one side enabled children to engage in aesthetic design activities, and on the other side reconnected them with cultural heritage and tied strings within the community.

Kristina Høier, design graduate and senior facilitator of the project wanted to make the past a starting point for a contemporary interpretation of The Beatles. - We wanted to give the children a full bodied experience where impressions from the visit at the museum got under the skin of the children, became expressed, processed and transformed in the dynamic interaction between children and design professionals/ intermediaries.
The children participating in the box-projects displayed in the exhibition are 12-13 years old and they all go to school at Sdr. Stenderup School and Sjølund-Hejls School in Kolding, Denmark.
Note for Beatles in a Box – text to put in the exhibition next to the boxes:
Created by pupils aged 12-13 from Sdr Stenderup School and Sjølund-Hejls Skole, Kolding, Denmark in collaboration with intermediaries at the culture house Nicolai for Children.
The children participated in a three hour workshop in the culture house Nicolai for Children with The Beatles as an overall theme for the day.
Using Beatles’ lyrics from “Yellow submarine” as a starting point, the pupils set out to create a visual interpretation of the song within a cardboard box. Groups of three children each gave life to one verse from the song.
Rikke Winther Revshøj-Nikolaj for Children,Kolding
Lykke Andersen
Rikke Revsholm

All works in Fantasy Design Gallery reflect the views only of the author, and the project cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.