Exhibition preview: Spaceship Unbound, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, June 20 until July 28 2013.
Margaret Atwood’s gritty post apocalyptic novel, The Year of the Flood, is this year’s theoretical stem cell for Castlefield Gallery’s annual Self-Made exhibition. The yearly showcase explores emerging and alternative modes of visual creation and practice with some bizarre and fantastic results.
Somewhere between the aesthetic of the Cormac McCarthy novel turned cult-classic film, The Road and Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, this exhibition is like an explosive space-fiction of the end of days.
Artists and collectives who grapple with this post-apocalyptic narrative include Anne-Marie Culhane, Dark Mountain, GameJam Collective Hackspace Manchester, Ellie Harrison, Rowena Hughes, and Volkov Commanders, to name a few. Together they utilise performance drawing, installations, screen prints and sculpture to generate an imagined dystopian future.
Volkov Commanders’ Bauhaus costumes are an exploration of the mystique of time, relativity and survivalist culture. Channeling futuristic rave-gear on a journey through space, they meld psychic ceremony and astrological superstition to aid their descent to Earth.
Playing on the spiritual frugality of Atwood’s God’s Gardeners, Anne-Marie Culhane’s Corn Dollies, is a filmed performance outside Parliament as part of an opposition rally against Genetically Modified crops. Along the way she utilizes traditional corn weaving techniques associated with sacred rites of land and fertility.
Similarly, Sam Meech’s film Noah's Ark, comprises footage from the North West Film Archive, exploring how difficult it is to keep hold of cultural heritage and identity following the destruction of civilization. Like Year of the Flood, examines the concept of self-preservation in an apprehensive community awaiting a biblical purge.
The idea of ecocide and breakdown also runs through the showcase, represented here in works by Dark Mountain, a group of global creatives and by Ellie Harrison’s Austerity and Anarchy, a homage to Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone, which illustrates the link between protests, riots and dubious cuts in public spending.
Atwood’s dark world of man-made circumstance re-appears in the work of Hackspace Manchester who explore alternative means of energy like Cyclevision and Gamejam whose scratch built games and sun jars are cobbled together by the gallery’s visitors.
An all-day jam utilising games made from scratch will take pace during the exhibition.
- Admission: Open 1pm – 6pm Wednesday – Sunday (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
© Photo: Jo Salter