Wednesday 23 July 2008

Extended Recollections

Ruinous Recollections at Upperspace has been extended until 1 August 2008. Thanks to Bec Garland for these images of the installation.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Curator's Recollections

On Saturday 5th July at 2pm, curators Rob and Darien will be leading a guided tour of the exhibition Ruinous Recollections. Meet at Upperspace in the gallery, all welcome!

Ruinous Opening

Last Friday saw the successful opening of Ruinous Recollections: Artistic Drifts Through Post-Industrial Manchester at Upperspace, Newton Street, Manchester. Massive thanks and congratulations to everyone who helped us put the exhibition together, especially to our artists.

The exhibition runs until Tuesday 22nd July, come visit!

Thursday 12 June 2008

Searching for Sebald

Victoria Lem's photographs trace memories of place, the remnants of past activities. For Ruinous Recollections, Vic is searching for Sebald, the German author who discovered echoes of his own traumatic past in Manchester and Salford's industrial shadows. The image above from Castlefield basin represents the initial experience of Vic's exploration of Sebald's spatial memories. Visit her blog for more insight into her thoughts on the project.

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Describing Industrial Ruins

The language used to describe the industrial ruin is closely in tune with the vocabulary of death and decay. Identified with decomposition and the corpse, industrial ruins are verbally described as sites that rot through the passing of time, architectures that ultimately present a skeleton of their original form. To align ruins with death implies a collection of negative connotations. Within this dialogue, ruins are unpleasant blemishes upon the urban fabric, cancerous sites in the city. Industrial ruins crumble, collapse, decay, disintegrate, decompose, fragment and perish. The literal allusions to death are magnified as these buildings become mouldy, smelling and rotting like cadavers. Despite the olfactory and visual analogies to the deceased corpse, industrial ruins are not dead, useless spaces. It is their decay that allows them to be sites of memory, where the ghosts to the past can inhabit the present.

Flyering Recollections

Above is the great new flyer for Ruinous Recollections at Upper Space Gallery, opening Friday 27th June 2008. Special thanks to Nick for designing it and to Bec for letting us use her work in progress photograph of Cecil Street. Please come along to the exhibition, and see what our five fantastic artists have been discovering & creating!

Tuesday 3 June 2008

From Sackville to Tiergarten

Visit Paul Harfleet's excellent blog to discover more of his thoughts on researching for Ruinous Recollections. Paul recently exhibited in Berlin, and whilst there had chance to visit the new National Memorial for Homosexual Victims of National Socialism in Tiergarten. In his post, he links this site with the Sackville Park location of Turing's monument, bringing both into his work's exploration of the depiction of gayness in the heteronormative public environment.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Quote of the Day

"We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty that needs to be done" — Alan Turing.

Ruinous Lecture

Darien and Rob will be speaking about Ruinous Recollections at MMU’s psychogeography festival TRIP, whilst Paul will be presenting his Pansy Project as well - come along to hear more! (We're on first thing on Thursday 19th June)

Private Views

Ruinous Recollections will open at the Upper Space Gallery, Sunshine Studios, Newton Street on Friday 27th June 2008. The exhibition is intended as a works-in-progress look at the projects our artists are working on: the displays will evolve over the course of the exhibition, as layers of stories are uncovered through their interactions and explorations through Manchester's post-industrial cityscape.

Loiterers Resist

Drifting through the city of Manchester one finds fellow wanderers walking in the same direction, or perhaps just loitering…like our friends from the Loiterers Resistance Movement, whose Second Accidental International Festival of Psychogeography is on now. Have a dérive across to the address below for more details…

Xaverian Orange

Barney Francis has joined Ruinous Recollections. Barney will present proposals for transcriptions in the city drawing on the memory, literature and presence of Anthony Burgess. Burgess grew up and studied at Xaverian College in Manchester, before leaving the city to fight in WW2. Barney's art will work dystopian palimpsests of the city, mixing the sites of Burgess' childhood with the images of his later writings.

Dissecting the Map

Illustrator Nick Hamilton will be producing new work for Ruinous Recollections. Nick is part of the Sketch City collective of urban artists, and will be looking at the Manchester links of Peter Mark Roget, who is famous for devising the Thesaurus. Roget first drafted his Thesaurus whilst a doctor in the city, using the lists he compiled as a personal therapeutic device. Drawing on influences from anatomical illustrations, linguistics and mapping Nick will produce illustrations that re-imagine Roget's Manchester in multi-layered personal narratives. Above is an example of Nick's bold graphic style.

Salford Drifting

In his novel The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald memorably draws upon his own experiences of Manchester to evoke a walk along the Manchester Ship Canal into Salford. The encounters with the built environment he details upon the way develop into an affective topography of the industrial vista. This episode will form the basis for Victoria Lem's works for Ruinous Recollections. Vic photographs post-industrial ruins, uncovering ghostly remnants of preserved memory, often adding extra layers of palimpsestuous reading to her artefacts by using a time-based pin hole camera techniques and by making spectral fragmented screen prints of the images she captures - the dramatic photograph above is from a series Vic took at Barnes Hospital. Re-tracing the footsteps of Sebald, Vic will add her own memories and fictions to the city.

Streets Dissolve

Using a Holga Camera, Bec Garland has taken haunting photos of the sites where Engels and the Burns sisters used to live in Manchester. The Holga gives the images their distinctive diffuse edge, creatively suggesting the dissolution that these streets have experienced in the 150 years since Engels lived there: an archaeology of memory layered onto buildings past and present.

Sisters of Industry

Bec Garland has joined the Ruinous Recollections project. Bec works in the space between image and text, juxtaposing photography, word and illustration. Looking at the spectral sites where Manchester-Irish factory girls Mary and Lizzie Burns lived with Friedrich Engels in Manchester, her artworks will aim to discover imaginary spaces and dialogues hidden beneath the current city.

The Apple and the Mathematician

Paul Harfleet will be creating new works for Ruinous Recollections. Paul is perhaps best known for his internationally-renowned Pansy Project, which documents instances of homophobic abuse by the planting of pansies at the site. For RR, Paul will be exploring the life and death of Alan Turing in Manchester. The founder of modern computing worked in the city after WW2 before committing suicide with a cyanide-laced apple. Using the statue of Turing in Sackville Park as a starting point, Paul aims to explore the symbolism of the apple, and map different myths of gay Manchester in the 1950s and today. Here is an example of the Pansy Project, plus an example of Paul's initial sketches for the project.

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Stories from the City

Behind the visible built environment of the city lurk fictions and memories latent within urban space. The abandoned stories and neglected narratives that echo through the red-brick ruins of post-industrial Manchester represent a drift of deleterious dereliction, a literary psychogeography of the city where spectres of a forgotten past ghost-write their tales onto the decaying urban fabric. Part of Ruinous Recollections is unearthing these stories, and connecting them with contemporary artists, who through their work can elaborate upon the myths of city space.

Ruinous Beginnings

Ruinous Recollections is an art project established by two Manchester-based curators, Darien Jane Rozentals and Robert Knifton. Taking multiple stories of the city as its start point, it will create works that etch memories into Manchester's urban canvas, re-imagining and adding layers to an already fluid city. This blog will document the project as it evolves...