January 30, 2011

Events this week

The Other Room
Wednesday 2 February 7pm @ The Old Abbey Inn, 61 Pencroft Way, Manchester,
M15 6AY (Manchester Science Park)

Joseph Walton (aka Jow Lindsay) is a poet, fiction writer, and editor of Sad Press.
Posie Rider is author of the chapbook tristanundisolde from Arthur Shilling Press (2010) and, City Break Weekend Girl forthcoming from Critical Documents (2011).
Stephen Emmerson’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and journals including Jacket, Great Works, Cake, Poetry Salzburg Review, Freaklung, Sunfish and Department and Poems found at the scene of a murder (Zim Zalla, 2010).

Islington Mill
James St, Salford, M3 5HW
– Thursday 3 February 6pm
Irene Barberis, Australian artist and curator will deliver a talk about her work as part of the “Say Something Series”.

Counting Backwards is a series of text-sound-performance events. It takes place on the first Thursday of alternate months at Fuel Cafe Bar in Withington. The fifth evening in the series takes place on Thursday 3 February 2011 at 7.30pm with performances from Philip Davenport, James Davies, Juxtavoices, and Helen Shanahan.

January 27, 2011

wave us goodbye

Poetry films on the BBC Big Screen in Manchester will commemorate the Holocaust, bringing together the memories of older Jewish people.

The project, titled BRING LIGHT TOWARDS YOU, is one of many arts projects run by the arthur+martha arts organisation. In the build-up to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January, poetic texts created by the older people, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, will be displayed ‘in lights’ on the Screen at The Triangle in the city centre.

The Holocaust has often been linked to trains: millions of people, particularly Jews, were taken to concentration camps by train before being killed in the notorious Nazi ‘Final Solution’ during the Second World War. These 30-second films give fragments from accounts of their journeys: to destruction and journeys of escape.

Artist Lois Blackburn and poet Philip Davenport worked with older Jewish people living at The Morris Feinmann Home, Manchester, exploring issues related to the Holocaust. “To hear these stories has been a powerful, haunting experience,” said Davenport. “The poems are little pockets of emotion that bring alive one of the most notorious events in recent history. It's hard to imagine the reality of the Holocaust because it was so huge, so brutal. What these tiny moments of remembering do is connect to ordinary people's experience.”

Lois Blackburn added: “As in all our projects, we talked to people about the small details of their experience, because it is people’s everyday lives that collectively make history. It’s the sandwiches your mum made, or the look on your sister’s face as you said goodbye. The fact that we’ve been able to help people transform these memories into messages that will be seen my thousands is an extraordinary privilege.”

Some of the pieces were shown on the electronic billboard in Piccadilly Railway Station on Holocaust Memorial Day 2009, but this is the first time that the whole sequence has been seen. arthur+martha have continued to develop the project in partnership with Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, working with young people with special needs, Roma children and many others.

arthur+martha will be contributing A Map of You during the Text Festival. http://www.textfestival.com/education-and-projects/education-and-projects.php?eid=8

January 23, 2011

Irene Barberis and 5 Places

Irene Barberis arrived in Manchester yesterday for a two week residency at Bury Art Gallery. Melbourne-based Irene and I have begun work on various projects, of which this project is the first part of an international curatorial collaboration called 5 Places. The concept of 5 Places proceeds from the notion of mobility, unpredictability and interchangeability brought about in networks challenged through curatorial and artist dialogue. As the name suggests there will be shows in 5 international venues around the world. The next show will also be in Bury in October as part of the Manchester Asia Triennial, but after that shows are planned in Hong Kong, Melbourne, New York, and one other to be confirmed.


Showing alongside Irene's installation is Mike Parr's video project "Breathless", here he is talking about it.

January 13, 2011

Text progress report

I've not had time or brain space to blog much for a while now. Mainly tied up with pulling the Text Festival together and preparing the plans to save the Bury Arts & Museums Service from the onslaught of government destruction of public services. The Text Festival has been a massive undertaking this time but there's enough organised now that if I am run over by a bus the event won't notice my absence. As I am getting interesting stuff offered constantly, I may eventually be guilty of either putting too much in or missing out good people. Anyway, the website is pretty up to date now so it's worth a look. www.textfestival.com There are a number of set pieces which I am particularly pleased with:

- Ron Silliman's first public art commission - this will be unveiled as part of the Sentences show and after the Festival will be re-sited in a permanent prominent outdoor location.
- Christian Bök's first UK performance but more than that I'm pleased with the concept of that whole show mixing sound art and Eduard Escoffet from Spain and London-based Holly Pester. Holly is also working on a new work utilising the sound art commissions and recorded concerts of earlier festivals to be shown in the gallery.
- Satu Kaikkonen and Karri Kokko not only performing for the first time in the UK but also for the first time as a 'duet'. This gig should be very striking in Bury Parish Church: in addition to the Finns, the bill includes Ron's reading and Phil Minton's Feral Choir http://www.philminton.co.uk/feralchoir.html

- Phil Davenport's A Map of You project with homeless people which will see the participants doing workshops with Derek Beaulieu and Geof Huth and probably others...

Although previous festivals featured visual poetry, this is the first one to celebrate vispo in a show specifically curated with that work at its core. In addition to showing the work itself I am interested in questioning how vispo is usually shown - a curatorial vocabulary which has been limited I believe by the location of vispo near to poetry rather than visual art. I'll talk more about this when I have actually installed the show. By the way, I am still open to late submissions of vispo for this show - I'd particularly like more artists' books. There's also still work to do on the "Requiem" show at the Fusilier Museum so I am open to ideas for that too.

By the time the shows are ready for opening, I'll be more stressed by it than excited - though hopefully the audience will be more excited and not stressed. So the thing I am most looking forward to is the buzz that will be around all the great people who are coming. It's fascinating to think that in these times global networks of friendship exist but a lot of people have not actually met - something that I am really looking forward to witnessing at the Text gathering.