Beep Generation / Futurevisual / EVNTS / Exhibition / Conference / Participate

Futuresonic 2007 Art Exhibition

Art For

The Art For Shopping Centres exhibition at Futuresonic 2007 featured major commissioned artworks responding to the social context of one of the UK's main shopping centres. Thirty years after Brian Eno's Music For Airports, Futuresonic presented an art exhibition after which you will never look at a shopping centre the same again.

A flicker of movement is caught by a static camera. A hooded figure enters, clinging to walls. The CCTV camera pans out, catches a second figure vaulting an obstacle, zooms in again. Running, jumping, a blur of fluid motion...

Read Curatorial Statement by Drew Hemment on Art For Shopping Centres.

The exhibition took place in Manchester Arndale which had a footfall of 1 million people during the two weeks of the exhibition. There were only two news items on regional TV on the opening days of the exhibition, the resignation of Tony Blaire and the exhibition, which was watched by a TV audience of 4 million. One of the new artworks commissioned by Futuresonic in 2007 has been shown 18 times at international events, and identified by New York Times as the highlight of Eyebeam's Source Code exhibition. View The Duellists

Featuring three major new artworks commissioned by Futuresonic 2007 :

MediaShed ft Methods of Movement,
The Duellists

Parkour, or freerunning, involves fluid, uninterrupted movement, adapting motion to obstacles in the environment. Like free-media, freerunning makes use of and re-energises the infrastructure of the city. MediaShed ft Methods of Movement present an acrobatic parkour competition between two late-night traceurs, staged overnight in the Arndale shopping centre, filmed using only the in-house CCTV system, in the first official implementation of the GEARBOX free-media video toolkit, and shown on the screens inside the shopping centre, with an original soundtrack by Hybernation.

Katherine Moriwaki,
Everything Really Is
Connected After All

Visit the Arndale to discover a whole new shopping experience. Using a flock of mobile devices, emergent narratives adapt to the proximity of other people around you while you roam the plazas and arcades. The shopping centre is a 'non-place', a space that is unique but identical everywhere across the world. The stories are tales of everyday people encountered in this space. As a backdrop for desire, projection, and the acquisition of material objects, the Arndale and the experience of shopping is explored in order to locate and find experiences and concerns that bind us together in small and large ways.



Harwood seeks to uncover truths forgotten in the light reflected from the endless shop windows, in an ever-evolving 'network image' showing how the Arndale and Manchester city centre have risen from the ashes of the 1996 IRA bomb. Coinciding with the date Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams are scheduled to form an historic power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, Harwood revisits the legacy of the 1996 IRA bomb, which famously detonated just a few meters away from Manchester Arndale. Harwood's NetMonster software searches the internet for thematic content, sniffing out links and connections, creating a living, composite image from images splintered around the worlds media.

Art For Shopping Centres is the centrepiece of Urban Play, continuing
Futuresonic's focus since 2004 on taking artworks out of the galleries
and into urban space.

Curated by Drew Hemment

Free-media goes
UK wide

Learn more

The commissions form a part of a national activities project by Futuresonic, staged in partnership with MediaShed, Enter_, Access Space and Lovebytes.

An aim of the project is drawing together a national network, made up of, on the one hand, practitioners working in free-media and related fields, and, on the other, national media art festivals. The project will involve a network meeting with national partners and stakeholders to explore opportunities for further development and activity.

Schedule of National Activities:

/// A five day collaborative workshop at MediaShed will draw together the international artists to explore collaborative methodologies.

/// A public seminar at Enter_Unknown Territories will introduce the themes of the project and a participatory workshop will introduce the GEARBOX free-media video toolkit.

/// Futuresonic 2007 will host the Art For Shopping Centres exhibition at Futuresonic 2007, plus a free-media strand at the Social Technologies Summit.

/// A participatory workshop involving Access Space as a part of Lovebytes in Sheffield will involve hands-on experiments with free-media and "video sniffing", a technique in which signals are intercepted from wireless closed circuit video cameras in the urban environment.

/// A 2 day free-running and free-media workshop at Contact, led by MediaShed and Methods of Movement, produced by Contact Theatre.

Photography by Jan Dixon & Emily Dixon,