FACT has been the cultural and artistic centre for emerging media in Liverpool since the iconic building was constructed in 2003. Here we take a look at the programme of events coming to the city in 2014.
Starting with Exhibitions, there will be three spectacles running in 2014 beginning in March and taking us through to the following February. While last year’s programme ends with the hugely popular Time & Motion exhibition, this year’s first offering is called Science Fiction: The New Death.
Kicking off on 27th March and running till 22nd June, this exhibition fittingly picks up the technological theme of it’s predecessor. It explores how everyday lives have become embedded by mass technology and narcissism, as well as the idea that science-fiction has become ingrained in the present, rather than being confined to the future.
Author China Mieville has written the script for this innovatively conceived ‘film’ which brings the set into the gallery.
Liverpool Biennial by Sharon Lockhart takes over from 5th July-26th October and will be the Massachusetts born artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK. It takes the form of a survey show and the exhibition will run as part of the city’s biennial art festival.
And to close the year and take us through to the new one (yes, this one’s only just started!), Script Movies (working title) will run from 13 November- 15 February 2015 and will present an archive of diverse script films, advertising, music videos and artworks from various countries, dating as far back as 1895. Think you’ve seen all the ‘oldies’? Think again.
We can take a sneak peak into the future and confirm that an exhibition called Group Therapy (working title) will launch in March 2015. It engages with mental health by suggesting technology may well be part of the solution in tackling these issues rather than the problem.
FACT will also be home to a series of Residencies and Pop-up Projects in 2014. There are various categories so take a look at which ones most intrigue you. We think they all sound great.
Youth and technology have always been faithful companions and what could be a better collaboration? Freehand is an ongoing project with three strands: Connects (a group of young FACT ambassadors you curate content centred around young people); Film (a bi-monthly showcase hoping to recharge young peoples film culture); and Makers (a space for youth to experiment and be creative).
What sounds really exciting though is the May launch of the Freehand smartphone app: In-Hand. It has been developed as a mental health support tool and according to acting Head of Engagement, Sarah Bailey, the app “responds to how the person using it is feeling”. The app asks the user how they feel, and depending on the response, the app produces an image, question or inspirational quote depending on their mood. No psychiatrist’s couch required.
Following on from the In-Hand app, Ideas Factory will present a free, two-day holiday camp for 11-16 year olds interested in creating apps, games, coding, digital art and entrepreneurship. Participants will get the chance to use the fascinating ‘Printcraft’ where the popular Minecraft building game is thrown together with a 3D-printer. Kind of like a Duplo/Lego workshop for secondary school kids.
Electric Blanket is a creative project working with residents’ groups of Liverpool Mutual Homes. It aims to encourage digital literacy among older people in an attempt to introduce new high quality media art, decrease isolation and improve participants confidence with technology.
FACT’s residencies are open to veterans of all ages and include the Bike Buddy cycling project where volunteers aid veterans with visual impairments on tandem bicycles. They will work with artists to produce soundscapes, writing and photography of routes which provide the best sensory experiences (from September).
Among FACT’s Research & Innovation projects, the two most intriguing are Games & Social Change and This is Not Detroit.
The former involves a network project which explores the potential of digital games as social change agents. With participants from as far and wide as Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Dartmouth University in USA, Research & Innovation manager, Roger McKinley says the project is “looking at the power of gaming” in more social aspects of life.
This is Not Detroit looks at four cities connected through the Opel car brand. It is a series of events in which artists and scientists from Liverpool (or rather, Ellesmere Port), Gliwice in Poland, Zaragoza in Spain and Detroit in the USA, discuss their experiences and strategies for dealing with economic issues when car production ceases/decreases.
This is set to be a very intriguing project for the city, with our own Opel (Vauxhall) site just over the water.
Meanwhile, Art Player is a series of networking events running from April till November. It aims to provide a space for people to present ideas and share knowledge of opportunities.
So that’s the pick of 2014 and there is plenty to pick from. It looks like this year is set to be as full of exciting, fresh and engaging ideas and art as the last one.
FACT, 88 Wood St, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 4DQ (Tel: 0151 707 4444)
By Joe Carroll