Quays Culture in partnership with the University of Salford celebrates digital art with spring upcoming event Future City Festival, which will take place in Manchester public spaces of Salford Quays and MediaCityUK from the 21st of March to the 26th of April.
The programme will showcase artworks and installations over four weekends in the stunning location of the Quays, a privileged site and symbol of the city of Manchester; part of an intense programme of events, talks and cultural initiatives promoted by Quays Culture taking place in the recently redeveloped area. The organization is currently supported by several institutions such as Arts Council England, AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities), The Lowry and many others, and mainly works with artists who adopt innovative methods and digital tools.
The Future City Festival will promote both the Quays and the city of Manchester and will also offer the chance to the public to enjoy for free some of the most cutting edge works in the contemporary art scenario. Among the featured artists we find Craig Morrison, Ray Lee, Thomson and Craighead, Simon Faithfull and Liz West.
The first weekend (21 – 28 March between 5pm and 11pm) and start of the festival will showcase Morrison’s work “Thank you”, a light installation realized with laser beams of light projected over the waterfront skyline at night from the top of The Lowry and spelling the words “thank you” in Morse Code. The work, commissioned by the Wales’ Arts Council, commemorates the people who served during the First and Second World War and in particular the figure of British mathematician Alan Turing who helped deciphering Nazi Germany’s Enigma code.
Another interesting project is “Chorus” by multimedia artist Ray Lee, a “sound sculpture” realized with several tripods with rotating arms equipped with loudspeakers emitting sounds like a siren call and with lighting that evokes the effect of planets in motions. The installation engages the public at different sensorial levels and generates an uplifting and captivating experience.
Two other important works will be “0°00 Navigation” by Simon Faithfull and “Vanishing Boundaries” by Liz West. The first artist, whose work is often developed around geographical matters and the conceptual theme of journey, has realized a video commissioned by Landscape + Arts Network Services which narrates the journey of a man along the Greenwich Meridian from Peace Haven in Hampshire to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire. On the weekend of the 24 – 26 of April the video will be projected outdoors on a big screen outside The Lowry.
Away from the spectacular and dynamic character of the previously mentioned artworks yet nonetheless one of the most interesting installations showcased during the Festival, will be Liz West’s “Vanishing Boundaries” (the only work displayed indoors). Partly influenced by American minimalist artist Dan Flavin she mainly works focusing on the combination of light and color and repetitive collection of objects. Vanishing Boundaries is a light installation made out of reflective discs laid on the floor and backlit with different colorful lights which transform the floor in a colourful field; at the same time the discs, reflecting the ceiling or the surrounding environment, duplicate and animate dynamically the floor surface.
The Future City Festival is a unique event which combines the iconic potential of the urban environment with original digital and multimedia artworks. The quays and the outdoor installations complement each other, bringing together past and present, history and aesthetic character of the city and the ephemeral and eternal nature of every artistic project.
What can be the impact of the Future City Festival on the image and cultural industry of Manchester and how will the event be received by the general public?