Archive | September, 2010

That’s all folks! Urbis has (finally) left the building

30 Sep

Urbis.  Image © Julia Delvaux
Today effectively sees the end of Urbis in Manchester as the final members of the team that turned the building into a vibrant centre exploring the best in pop-culture make an exit from the giant greenhouse for the last time.

Since it opened in 2002 the building has seen its fair share of ups and downs however, while the original manifestation as “The Museum of City Life” fell foul to the burden of expectation that sank many a millennium project, the team that took the helm over the last six years made a significant impact on the cultural landscape.

Transforming the building from a static museum experience into a dynamic, democratic and convention defying space saw a team develop that deftly negotiated the fine lines between museum, gallery, community centre and educational establishment. While exhibitions covered everything from hidden spaces to hip hop, club culture to civil rights (developing a distinctive aesthetic in the process) a team of dedicated hosts ran one of the most wide ranging programmes of events and tours (now widely imitated) and the education and community programme established a new high-watermark for community engagement thanks to the ground-breaking RECLAIM programme. Even the front of house team defied gallery convention by being consistently attentive, friendly and genuinely interested in the exhibitions and events that they dutifully patrolled day in day out.

Urbis exhibition posters

It is sad to see the last vestiges of the organisation making final bows, however the talented, energetic and ambitious people that gave the organisation its heart and soul are going on to create new spaces and experiences building on their time spent in an environment that embraced risk-taking and experimentation.

Essentially Urbis became a crucible for a broad section of young creative Manchester that has allowed the RECLAIM project to take flight on its own; established the Urbis Research Forum as part of the University of Manchester (the latest instalment of which will be available here as a podcast soon); seen team members move on to the Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery and Cornerhouse; and, of course, had a part to play in the launch of Curated Place.

So with a heavy heart it is finally time to say good-bye to Urbis and a time to start building the new creative places to play.


The End of History – Package design goes feral

24 Sep

Brew Dog - The End of History

Upsetting animal rights activists, drinksafe campaigners and Francis Fukuyama all in one fell swoop is no mean feat, but Brew Dog, the enfant terrible of the Scottish micro-brewery world, just might have managed it.

In a bid to reclaim their crown as brewers of the world’s strongest beer the duo behind the brand infamous for its forays into ‘extreme ABV brewing’ have come up with The End of History – a beer brewed to 55% ABV and packaged in either a taxidermied grey squirrel or stoat.

Brew Dog - pushing packaging into new and useless directions since 2010

The name of the beer is lifted from Fukuyama’s 1989/1999 essay and book of the same title that declared the end of the Cold War was not simply the passing of a period of post-war history, but the end of history as such- the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution.  The drink, so say Brew Dog, is similarly the end point in beer’s ideological evolution.

Whether you see it as a landmark in the brewing industry or undrinkable publicity stunt, all 12 bottles in existence have already sold out (although retailing at £500/£700 each – depending on the furry packaging).  Whatever your view it seems pretty clear that in terms of packaging design Brew Dog are pushing boundaries – though I’m not entirely sure to what end.

Tate Liverpool|City Limits

23 Sep

One and Other

With protests, petitions and various polemics taking place around arts funding at the minute there’s no better time for the upcoming public discussion instigated by Tate Liverpool in partnership with Sky Arts –  “City Limits“.

Chaired by broadcaster and curator Tim Marlow a panel will discuss the motion “Are large-scale public events nothing more than a waste of resources and a drain on the public purse?”

La Machine

The panel will include  Helen King, Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside Police; Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, Lewis Biggs, Artistic Director Liverpool Biennial, and Helen Marriage, Co-Director of Artichoke who produce large and highly visible public events such as La Machine and Gormley’s One an Other.

Perhaps fittingly the discussion will take place in the extraordinary surroundings of the Williamson Tunnels, a seemingly insane project borne out of eccentric patronage that took place in earlier times of recession and economic hardship.

The talk takes place on Thursday 7 October from 18.45–20.00
with free short tours of the Tunnels available between 18.00 and 18.35

Tickets are £7 or £4 concessions with booking required

For tickets book online or call 0151 702 7400

The Old Stable Yard
Smithdown Lane
L7 3EE

Williamson Tunnels Installation

Linotype: The Film

19 Sep

This appeals on so many levels.

via Swiss-miss

“A seismic shift in culture and communications”

17 Sep

Want to hear a grown up “important message about the arts”? Then forget David Shrigley’s daft animations calling for the government to protect funding and instead watch Ben Cameron making the case for protecting and developing the arts through harsh economic and political times.

Not just for those involved in the performing arts, this is must watch material for anyone that holds an opinion about cultural funding.

How to set up a SPEED SHOW | F.A.T.

16 Sep

1. Curate a show, make a call or  invite your friends to show their works.

2. Announce the show all over the internetz!

3. Go to your local Internet shop and rent all machines they have.

4. Exhibit for one night screen based in your city!Go for it! It’s an open format! Let’s meet up in your local shop!SPEED SHOW manifest here

via How to set up a SPEED SHOW | F.A.T. (and Jon).

Curated Place at The Edinburgh Lectures – tickets available now

14 Sep

Talking Cities - The Edinburgh Lectures 2010/11

Today tickets for the Edinburgh Lectures go on sale with some very flattering coverage showing up in The Guardian referring to the forthcoming lecture from Curated Place’s Andy Brydon and Andrew Brooks as “one of the visual highlights on the line-up”.

We’ve been invited by the loverly Queen Margaret’s University to be their guest speakers after they heard about our forthcoming exhibition Edinburgh: Secret City that we’re aiming to reveal as part of the 2012 Edinburgh Festival.  There’s an incredible line-up for the entire series including  Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, Alberto Magnaghi, professor of territorial planning at the University of Florence and Professor Bruce J. Katz, urban policy expert and adviser to the Obama administration. And us.

Edinburgh Observatory

In the lecture, “Never Let the Facts Get in The Way of a Good Story: Memory, History, Authenticity and Truth” we want to explore how our work taps into the mechanisms by which cities create their memories, at once embedded in the past and yet lived, and living, in the present. We’re looking to tease out the tensions between history, memory, truth and identity, firstly by examining images of Edinburgh presented in film and literature, but also by drawing on the stories we’ve already collected from British urban subcultures and by revealing some of the stories that are informing our work as we make our way around the cellars, towers, undercrofts and back alleys of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: Secret City - Brooks & Brydon on location in Edinburgh

If you know of anyone with good stories from the Scots capital we’d love to talk to them as well as hearing any suggestions of lesser known films, literature or locations that shape your imaginings of the city – just leave a comment below or contact us through the Curated Place production pages.

But more than that we’d love to see you at the Scottish Storytelling Centre early next year when we get up on stage to deliver both the lecture and a sneak peek at the incredible imagery that we’re creating in one of the most charismatic cities in the world – if we get enough interest from the North West we might even arrange a Curated Place jolly north of the border.

Never Let the Facts Get in The Way of a Good Story: Memory, History, Authenticity and Truth
Thursday 24 March 2011 from 6.00pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre
Tickets available now at just £5.00

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