Co-curated with Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, Spaceship Unbound (21 June 2013 — 28 July 2013) used Margaret Atwood’s seminal post apocalyptic novel The Year of the Flood as a starting point exploring the issues of survival in a world turned back to year zero. The project included contributions from the artists and collectives, Anne-Marie Culhane, Dark Mountain, GameJam Collective (GameJam, The Larks, Manchester SpecFic) Hackspace Manchester, Ellie Harrison, Rowena Hughes, Aliyah Hussain, Sam Meech and Volkov Commanders (Aliyah Hussain, Mariel Osborn and Anna Beam). Their works explore survivalist culture and creation mythology, through story telling, writing, gaming, performance and sculpture.
The project preview hosted a performance drawing by Volkov Commanders (Aliyah Hussain, Mariel Osborn and Anna Beam) illustrating their journey to planet earth. Their work explores notions of space and time travel through ritual, ceremony, séance and offerings often creating Bauhaus inspired costume. Rowena Hughes screen-prints and installations explore the infinite possibilities of chance within sets of predefined parameters. Her geometric shapes are based on the Penrose tiling system explored by Roger Penrose in the 1970s, used to highlight the proportions of architectural imagery and the natural world.
Dark Mountain is a network of writers, artists and thinkers from all over the world engaging with the notions of ecocide in an age of global disruption and responding to the sense of disillusionment that they felt with what ‘environmentalism’ has become. Anne-Marie Culhane’s Corn Dollies was performed outside the House of Parliament to coincide with a mass lobby of parliament around an early day motion on the coexistence of Genetically Modified and conventionally grown crops. The art of weaving corn and grain stalks takes place across the world and the associated objects associated with land fertility, continuation of seasonal cycles and the spirit of the land.
Ellie Harrison Austerity and Anarchy is a homage to Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone from 1973 that visualises and explores the correlation between cuts in public spending and instances of social unrest (specifically rioting) in the post-war period. Hackspace Manchester is a community run art, science and technology club that will show a series of sun jars and Lazarus pointers made by visitors to the gallery andCyclevision, a bicycle generator to show a film by Sam Meech. Visitors to the gallery will be encouraged to self generate power in order to watch the film. GameJam is a group of game designers, developers, students and hobbyists who make playable games from scratch. Their members plus The Larks and Manchester SpecFicwill be running an all day GameJam during the exhibition.
Meech’s film Noah’s Ark is a poetic re-telling of the biblical tale, made entirely using footage from the North West Film Archive, with a score by Carl Brown (Wave Machines) and a layered spoken narrative from poet Nathan Jones (Mercy). Exploring the idea of preservation amidst an oncoming flood, the film uses the footage to explore the difficulties in maintaining personal memories and cultural heritage within a shifting digital landscape.