»Welcome to Derry« is now my fifth free piece of work and – just like the earlier »Catacombs of Bookholm« – it has been a long-cherished wish of mine. This time the subject of my implementation was a novel that has accompanied me from my early teenager days and still is one of my favourites: Stephen King’s »IT« – a simply hair-raising, frightening story and from a psychological point with regard to its contents a finely-nuanced epic about the manifestation of the evil and the power of naive faith.
Above all it is amazing to see how my view of the novel has changed throughout the years without losing one single spark of fascination. After my first reading at the age of 12, I was so badly horrified that I started chewing my pillow and for weeks I avoided going to the bathroom at night time. Today, 23 years and even more readings later, the story of the seven Loosers causes a warm and yearning empathy inside me that hardly any other novel ever achieved.
Derry is home to me; a visit there is like visiting an old friend. Like always, a walk on memory lane is associated with mixed feelings but once in a while you feel the need to take a look.
Why have I not started work earlier when there is so much enthusiasm and fluffy praise?
I simply didn’t have the guts to start this icon.
There are so many emotions associated with this book, so many images and last but not least there is so much fear – it takes a thoroughly researched piece of work prior to even think of starting one’s own Derry Project. The realization was supposed to show both sides of Derry: the romantic sepia-toned as much as the dark-insidious feature, nostalgia aside with horror – and all that embedded in the frame of the Fifties.
And as it always goes with project ideas that you have had on your mind for years, that every now and then you worked on a little, that God knows why wouldn’t work out for a perfect whole – sometimes it takes only one initial kick, one link and everything is just fine. In my case it was an old stereo corner unit from 1958.
My Derry – including its underground world of the sewers – is now integrated in that furniture. The novel, with all its references to Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Fifties has merged into a whole with that furniture, and has become part of it. The surface represents the romantic sight of a Derry street bathed in the golden light of a late summer day. Only when you flip open the cabinet door you do see what is underneath: The sewage pipes way down below... in the green glowig light of the deadlights.
It has always been a dream to realize this special project, a pleasure that you rarely have. (As always a look at the genesis and development of the project is available in the Work-in-Progress documentary).
Even though a visual-physical presentation that reflects the countless sides of the fictional setting is almost impossible, this work is my very personal, most authentic approach, my private memorial for this so beloved epic story that has accompanied, warmed, frightened, and comforted me for so many years.
It's my way to say »Thank you« to the author Stephen King for giving the world this great, great novel - and to Andy Muschietti who is actually facing the challenge of turning this icon into a wide screen movie (Andy, THANK YOU! I have been waiting 20 years for this to happen!)
With this in mind: Welcome to Derry! :)