What was it like 150 years ago in Patagonia?
Written by Andrew Thomas
Like most I imagine, I knew very little about the group of Welsh settlers who moved to Patagonia in the late 18th century; my knowledge was built from history lessons in secondary school, and a few friends that have visited and mentioned what its like, but I’d not really had the need to look into it. There was a part of me that was intrigued about a community who speak Welsh in another part of the world, and towards the end of 2014 I was fortunate to be put in that very position to learn a little more about it. Hoffi were asked to develop a digital project using archive material at the National Library of Wales with our friends YelloBrick. The project was lead by the artistic direction of Cardiff based artist Jorge Lizalde and digital producers YelloBrick, and explored what it would have been like to lead the Welsh immigration to Patagonia. This was inspired by the activities of Lewis Jones one of the main leaders of the movement and the guy who carried out the recce before the 153 Welsh immigrants sailed over on the Mimosa. I found the project exciting because it allowed us to explore web technologies that we didn’t tend to use within other Hoffi’s projects. Using such as HTML5 canvas and the Web Audio API, which we would have considered a little exclusive and indulgent to use on a website before this project. It was also an fantastic opportunity to meet some of the people behind the archive and to experience their enthusiasm for the 1885 Welsh immigration, which just made using the archive material held at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, all that more rewarding. However in the end I must admit being a little frustrated with the final piece; simply because it was only intended to be R&D and not really for public consumption, yet being so close to a polished project with the end in sight, it would be great to continue our work on the project even just to scratch my own itch... If you have time open it up and have a play, hopefully you won’t get too overwhelmed towards the end. YelloBrick and the National Library of Wales.