On Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October 2023, FACT celebrates its 20th Birthday with a weekend of free events for all to enjoy. Marking two decades since the opening of the acclaimed arts centre in Liverpool, the celebrations include the unveiling of two new major exhibitions, talks by contemporary artists and influential figures, family-friendly activities, the grand opening of Studio/Lab – a dedicated space for artistic experimentation, and a birthday party.
Friday 20 October 2023
FACT is thrilled to unveil two new immersive exhibitions by Jenkin van Zyl and Uma Breakdown alongside a day of talks from artists, curators, and sector leaders. Across three panels, speakers reflect on the possibilities of art to inspire more activist outcomes, what artists need in terms of support from institutions, and how the landscape of art and creative technology has changed over the years since FACT opened.
Panelists and guest speakers include Nicola Triscott (CEO/Director, FACT); Eddie Berg (Founding Director, FACT); Ruth McCullough (Former Director, Abandon Normal Devices); Helen Starr (Curator); Dr. Alan Dunn (Artist); Jack Ky Tan (Artist); Dr. Emma Murray (Criminologist-in-Residence at FACT); Larry Achiampong (Artist); David Blandy (Artist); Zinzi Minott (Artist); and Isabel Ramos of Keiken (Artist).
To conclude Friday, FACT is delighted to partner with Mandela8 to present a screening of their latest film. From Dream to Reality follows the journey and realisation of a new memorial to Nelson Mandela in Princes Park, Liverpool. Joining the celebrations, Picturehouse is proud to present a curated 35mm double-bill of Repo Man and Walker from acclaimed director Alex Cox.
Saturday 21 October 2023
The festivities continue into Saturday, offering a lineup of free events and interactive experiences throughout the day. Highlights include guided tours, artist performances, family-friendly workshops, gaming tournaments and celebratory parties.
Visitors are welcome to explore Studio/Lab – a new space dedicated to artistic development and experimentation – to play with motion tracking technology, virtual reality, live 3D sculpting and VJing. Studio/Lab will play a key part in FACT’s future, providing emerging artists with support and equipment through funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator Programme and The Foyle Foundation.
Artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy host an engaging afternoon of gaming tournaments and conversation suitable for all ages, while artist Jenkin van Zyl and a group of local young people lead a tour designed to share their unique perspective on van Zyl’s immersive exhibition. Artists-in-residence The (new) Constellation will also present behind-the-scenes content from their recent commission alongside a costumed performance.
In the evening, visitors are invited to the opening of two major solo exhibitions by Jenkin van Zyl and Uma Breakdown. Breakdown’s multimedia installation, Earth A.D. 2 (2023), explores the structures and history of Gothic narratives, and their creative relationships to time, space, identity and social relations. Van Zyl’s Surrender (2023) transforms the galleries into a series of immersive environments. From the belly of a rat to an energy-drink-lined trophy room, van Zyl’s hallucinatory film explores ideas of productivity, escapism and community. As part of the celebrations, van Zyl has also created a new short film that expands his psychotropic world, which will be available to view from inside a limousine at the opening.
The festivities culminate with an official after party at District in the Baltic Triangle (61 Jordan St, Liverpool L1 0BE). FACT has partnered with local promoters PLUSH and Social Hours to curate the evening’s musical lineup, alongside cabaret performances programmed by EAT ME, and a special headline DJ set by exhibiting artist, Jenkin van Zyl.
Nicola Triscott, CEO/Director at FACT, said: “In 2003, FACT was Liverpool’s first purpose-built arts centre for more than 60 years, brought into reality by a grassroots campaign for a centre for film and the then emerging field of electronic art. It grew out of the extraordinary success of the city’s Video Positive festival and was a landmark moment for Liverpool and the UK, giving moving image and digital art a home in which to experiment and find a national and international audience. In 2023, as we mark the centre’s 20th birthday, we celebrate that rich history and look towards FACT’s next twenty years as a place where we nurture the next generation of artists and filmmakers and enable new stories to be told through the converging fields of film, art and creative technology.”
Full programme listings and free bookings can be found at fact.co.uk/birthday