Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, May 2016
Manchester Left Writers were selected to undertake an exhibition as part of Castlefield Gallery’s ‘Launch Pad’ series, chosen by Jerwood Charitable Foundation Director Shonagh Manson.
The Powerhouse Liberation Movement brought together film, installation, music, performance and a new publication based on searches across the city, dubbed the 'economic powerhouse of the north of England' by Manchester City Council, for 'free' spaces where notions of commonality, free expression and liberation are discoverable and can be accessed by all. MLW recorded their exploratory journeys across the city, from the Gay Village and ancient earthwork the Nico Ditch, to the satellite towns of Stockport and Rochdale. This resulted in a series of lo-fi ‘Notebook films’ documenting places, encounters and experiences, which were displayed alongside maps, notes, photographs and objects found and made during the process of making the films. MLW also commissioned a critical essay by Dr Gavin Macdonald, Lecturer in Art History at Manchester Metropolitan University.
During the public preview, and repeated for Manchester After Hours, MLW performed new poems to accompany the work on show. In addition, the quintet Vocal Harum (of which MLW writer Bob Dickinson is a member) performed a set of a cappella songs about buildings, by Talking Heads among others. MLW also discussed and answered questions about their work and the exhibition at a public event chaired by Dr Gavin MacDonald.
The 'Notebook' films can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/drstevehanson/videos.
Manchester Left Writers were invited to repeat their 'Cacophony' performance to close Manchester University's 'Art of Devolution: Culture and the North' conference, which took place at Manchester's Old Granada Studios in June 2016. In addition, films from the Powerhouse Liberation Movement exhibition were shown throughout the day.
Image: Manchester Left Writers, Verbose, David Gaffney