Art fans and critical thinkers will be pleased to hear that the AND (Abandon Normal Devices) Festival is back to push the boundaries, and this time it’s during the Olympic summer.
AND’s preview launch will coincide with the Olympic Flame’s Manchester relay on June 22-23. Three of the launch highlights occur at Oxford Road’s Cornerhouse.
But coming just after Cineworld announce they are trying to attract summer audiences with their 4D seats, is this timed to support art venues during a period of intense competition?
“It was a coincidence, believe it or not,” said Gabrielle Jenks, the Festival Manager.
AND is one of many creative programmes taking place in the North that are partly funded by Legacy Trust UK, who is also a Principal Funder of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The others include Blaze, a youth-led culture and sports festival based in Lancashire, and Lakes Alive, an outdoor streets-arts event taking place in Cumbria.
Ms Jenks said: “So lots of people will be visiting the North, and Alan Turing’s centenary is coming up as well. So it all makes sense to hold the festival then.”
A screening of The Creator will be AND’s way of celebrating the Mancunian mathematician.
This sci-fi tale depicts robots exploring Turing’s ‘dream diaries’, wherein artists/directors AL and AL utilise their pioneering blend of live-action and computer generated 3D to produce surrealistic landscapes, including an evocative re-telling of the day when Turing chose to end his own life.
The Cornerhouse will also be holding It’s Cool, I’m Good, American artist Stanya Kahn’s first UK solo exhibition. As an interdisciplinary film-maker who writes, works with sound design and has a background in live performance, it would be difficult to assemble a selection of her oeuvre, but this assortment of her recent drawings and video work should surely be representative of her absurdist world-view and self-deprecating humour.
It’s also the kind of exhibition that one would expect the typically quirky AND would have on their programmes.
“More and more people are thinking about genres and categories, or are pushed into one art form,” Ms Jenks said.
But by being more interdisciplinary, “we can challenge the status quo and current artistic thinking, and new emergent practices can lead to new critical writings.”
Since AND is also taking place in Liverpool, where the anarchist bookshop News From Nowhere is also a venue, Jenks was asked by MM if the North’s history of political anarchism make it the best location for this regional festival.
“It is inspired by that tradition, but it is also inspired by the here and now,” she said.
The preview also includes the UK premier of Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair’s film-diary Swandown. In this Olympian travelogue, Kötting and Sinclair pedal a swan-shaped pedalo from the Hastings seaside to Hackney in London, via the English inland waterways. They also encounter comedian Stewart Lee and the fabulously beardy Watchmen writer Alan Moore during their epic odyssey.
After the preview, AND will then tour the North West, and be back in Manchester from 29 August – 2 September 2012.
Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair’s film-diary Swandown premieres in the UK on June 22. The Creator at the Cornerhouse on June 23. Both screenings will be followed with a Q&A with the film-makers. Stanya Kahn’s It’s Cool, I’m Good is on from June 23 to September 16.
Visit Cornerhouse here for more information.