Follow the Yellow

Archive of ‘manchester’ category

not in manchester

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself because I’m not in Manchester this week… During my hour-long commute back from work on the very hot, sticky and generally bad-tempered tube, I unexpectedly found myself feeling strangely nostalgic for the delights of the 142 bus up Oxford Road. At lunchtime, I sighed over my overpriced prawn and crayfish baguette, dreaming of chips and gravy from the chip shop on Liverpool Road. And right now, I’m wishing that I could go along to the launch of the lovely new Corridor 8 launch, taking place at Urbis tonight…

Corridor 8 is a brand new annual title, which aims to be “the new cultural voice of the north” and will be showcasing the very best in the region’s contemporary visual arts, writing, architecture, photography and more. The theme for issue 1 is SuperCity – the idea of an urban ‘corridor’ linking cities and towns across the north from Liverpool to Hull, and reaching overseas to Ireland in the West and Denmark in the East. There will be contributions around the theme from such luminaries such as Will Alsop and Peter Saville, as well as features about artists working across the SuperCity region including Bob Levene, Rachel Goodyear and the Freee Collective. Personally, I’m especially excited about a unique “literary documentary” about the area commissioned from the writer and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair for this first issue – here’s a little taster:

‘Wandering Deansgate was like finding yourself in the middle of some dark fantasy for which you had no instructions. Cliffs of unreason. Deansgate as a river of human traffic, the Irwell its liquid margin.’

Iain Sinclair will be giving a talk at the launch event tonight, but if like me, you can’t make it, you can still share Sinclair’s walk through Manchester – “a meandering poetic journey designed to shed new light on a city once ancient and contemporary” – by listening to a special podcast Listening for the Corncrake on the Urbis website.The podcast has been designed so that you can listen as you go, so you can even perform your own psychogeographic wanderings through the city! Next time I’m in Manchester I’ll definitely be having a go: in the meantime, I’ll be following tonight’s event via the liveblog on twitter, and of course, I’m looking forward to reading the magazine itself very soon! (For more on Iain Sinclair at the Corridor 8 launch check out Richard‘s post about the event here)

Staying with the literary theme, I’m also missing out on the Manchester Book Market this weekend. This excellent event, organised by Literature NorthWest, will take place in St Ann’s Square from Friday to Sunday as part of the Manchester International Festival. The market will bring together the very best of the UK’s leading independent publishers, as well as back-to-back performances from some of the North West’s most exciting spoken word talent. Readers will include Joe Stretch, Elizabeth Baines, Eleanor Rees, Annie Clarkson and Segun Lee French amongst many more.

Other weekend highlights will include Manchester International Festival’s Festival Feast (yum!), a special tour of Procession: An Exhibition on Sunday, and of course De La Soul at The Ritz. Meanwhile I’ll be off for another day of packing myself sardine-style into the tube, and risking my sanity trying to get across Waterloo station at rush hour. Not fair!

Anyway, for now I’m off to console myself with Vietnamese food, and planning some exciting art adventures here in London for the weekend. Manchester peoples, let me know how you enjoy this weekend’s hi-jinks…

Creative Tourist + More on Procession

Creative Tourist, launched today by the Manchester Museums Consortium is a brand new online magazine about art and culture in Manchester.

Issue 1 features Jeremy Deller, Ansuman Biswas (aka the Manchester Hermit), Marina Abramovic in conversation with Maria Balshaw, Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery, Andrew Shanahan’s guide to videogames and Dea Birkett on children in galleries, as well as much more.

And as if all this wasn’t enough, Kate Feld (of Manchizzle fame) will be working alongside editor Susie Stubbs to bring in content from Manchester’s lively blogging community, commissioning guest posts from bloggers who write about art and culture… and guess who you’ll find in the very first issue?

That’s right, it’s me! Check out my post about Jeremy Deller’s Procession here. I was delighted to be the very first blogger commissioned to contribute to Creative Tourist, and I was even more delighted to be asked to write about such a fantastic event. If you read the piece, I’d love to know what you think – and whether or not I’ve managed to capture the unique atmosphere of this very special Manchester experience!

PS You can also keep up with Creative Tourist via the magic of twitter. Looking forward to reading more soon!

[Photo courtesy of the very talented Duncan Hay]

Manchester International Festival and more…

I’ve just returned from a fantastic weekend of art and adventures in Manchester. First up was a visit to Manchester Art Gallery to check out Zaha Hadid’s installation for Manchester International Festival created in response to the solo works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Walking through this unique and highly intimate chamber music space is like being in the clean white interior of a giant nautilus shell: I just wish I’d had the chance to hear the acoustics. I would have loved to catch one of the free lunchtime concerts being performed by students from RNCM and Chetham’s Music School, which will be held daily for the duration of the festival, to experience the installation in full.

Next stop was Manchester’s Peace Gardens to take a look at Gustav Metzger’s Flailing Trees, another Manchester International Festival commission. This new piece of public art comprises 21 inverted willow trees, which the artist intends to represent “ a subversion of the natural order that brings nature and the environment into sharp focus.”

Then on to Deansgate, for the highlight of the day: Jeremy Deller’s fabulous Procession: a spectacular celebration of Manchester, its history, its culture, its communities and its people. I’ll be writing more about this one soon, but for now, all I can say is – what a perfect way to end my very happy three and a half years in Manchester.

Finally I finished the day with a visit to Will Alsop’s CHIPS building, where Contemporary Art Manchester were holding the opening of their inaugral project, Trade City. Held in association with the International Festival, this exhibition brings together work selected by a number of the member organisations of CAM, a new not-for-profit visual arts consortium of independent galleries, artist-run projects and curatorial agencies. Loosely centred around notions of trade, exchange, and alternative economies, the work on display included pieces by artists including Antifreeze, Rob Bailey, Andrea Booker, Andrew Bracey and Cherry Tenneson amongst many more.

I only wish I had the opportunity to stay around and see more of the International Festival highlights. I’d love to be going along to the opening of Procession: An Exhibition at Cornerhouse on Wednesday, not to mention checking out Marina Abramović at the Whitworth, Carlos Acosta with the BBC Philharmonic and It Felt Like A Kiss. But for me, it’s goodbye for now to Manchester, and time to do some exploring in London Town…

countdown to manchester international festival

It’s now just 13 days until the international festival hits Manchester. In the meantime, there are lots of things to see and do. It’s a while since I’ve written about art in Manchester, so I thought I’d mention a few highlights:

1. Between Tracks: The Salford Restoration Office & The International 3

Between Tracks (until 18 July) is an exhibition of new work by nine British and Swiss artists, developed in collaboration with the St. Gallen based artist group NETEX. The aim of the show is to encourage discussion between artists who are based outside their respective country’s main art centres. In May of this year, twelve Manchester artists exhibited alongside six Swiss artists in St. Gallen’s disused Badhaus building: Between Tracks is the second part of the exchange process, showing work by five Swiss artists alongside four British artists. Highlights for me were Aleksandra Signer’s video works, David Sherry’s quirky drawings and Dave Griffiths’ playful and intriguing Nataraja.

2. POI: Moving, Mapping, Memory: Cornerhouse

POI is the first in a new series of exhibitions at Cornerhouse entitled Editions – an annual month-long venture to provide a showcase for new, innovative and experimental art, and a testing-ground for risk-taking ideas and cross-disciplinary collaborations. POI (which stands for both ‘P.O.I.’ or point of interest, and for ‘poi’, the Maori art of spinning objects through space) brings together a range of media artworks by eight artists to explore notions of how we understand, map and remember both time and space. This varied exhibition brings together video installations, sound sculptures, textile media and interactive installations: highlights for me were Rob Strongitham’s atmospheric piece Ar Dievu, and Eimer Birkbek’s sound installation Instantanés (Marseille)

3. The Cutting Room Experiment

The votes are in, and the schedule for Saturday has been announced! As well as musical statues, clothes swapping, extreme space hopper racing, record-breaking conga lines and a silent disco, visitors will have the opportunity to join in with writing a collabotative ‘Book of 1000 authors’ and check out an unveiling of a new work by artist Dan Dubowitz. To see the full schedule go here.

4. MMU Degree Show

It’s that time of year again! The MMU Degree shows will be open to the public from Saturday 20 June – Sunday 28 June, and the private view is tonight! Always good fun, and a great opportunity to spot Manchester’s newest up and coming talents…

5. Artist Book Fair: A Foundation

OK, so it’s not a Manchester event, but it’s a mere train ride away. A Foundation will be holding the second Liverpool Artist’s Book Fair on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June, complete with stalls, book-related performances (including one from the excellent Publish & Be Damned), readings, games and (most important of all) delicious cakes. Artists, illustrators and small presses from across the UK will be showcasing a whole selection of their books, zines and paper-based work: take home a unique work of art from as little as £1! And if you’re over that way, why not also check out the Colour Chart exhibition at Tate Liverpool or the End of the Line exhibition at the Bluecoat which explores fresh approaches to contemporary drawing?

If you’re still short of things to do in the coming week, have a gander at Soup o’ th’ Day, a handy new visual representation of what’s going on in Manchester on any given day!

And finally, not forgetting this year’s Best of Manchester Awards! The shortlist has now been announced: shortlisted in the Art category are Manchester luminaries Rachel Goodyear, Contents May Vary and Owl Project, with special mentions also going to Maurice Carlin and Nick Jordan. The winner will be announced on 23 July. And keep your eyes peeled for the mysterious spoof BOMA posters around town, as seen above… find out more about the mystery here.

zombies + austen in ancoats? the cutting-room experiment

I’m currently intrigued by the buzz around The Cutting Room Experiment. This unique new project is “an attempt to create the world’s biggest user generated event in the world.” Taking place right here in Manchester on 20 June, it’s going to transform Cutting Room, a new public space in Ancoats, into a unique events space for a one-day, one-off “mass participation event” which the audience themselves will design and shape.

By logging on the interactive website here, anyone can submit ideas for events themed around everything from art, design and architecture through to music and film: once they are submitted, people can vote for the ideas they like best, and the twelve most popular events will make up the programme on 20 June. There isn’t much time left to suggest or vote for ideas though: this Friday 29 May is the deadline for idea generation and voting, and the final line-up for the “experiment” will be announced next week!

It looks likely to be an entertaining day: ideas already submitted range from space-hopper racing to lego art to guerilla knitting to experiments in relay film-making to a mass performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. I’m particularly looking forward to finding out which of the literature events will take place on the day: will it be writing a collaborative novel, enacting Where’s Wally? around Ancoats, or (my personal favourite) fancy dress, Pride and Prejudice-meets-zombies stylee? Who knows what will happen – but there’s no doubt it’s going to be an interesting one – Ancoats may never be the same again! Check out the website here to find out more more.