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Abandon Normal Devices – AND Festival 2021

Venue Online
Admission -
Start Time 12:00
End Time 23:00

AND Festival 2021

Thursday 27 May – Sunday 11 July 2021

Bidston Observatory, Birkenhead Hydraulic Tower, The Daniel Adamson, Mersey Ferries, National Waterways Museum + Online

AND Festival resurfaces for 2021, taking you on an extraordinary journey responding to the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey. The programme follows the flows of shipping, energy and political power structures, from container ports on our doorsteps to the depths of the ocean floor; through ecosystems bound up with industrial chemicals, minerals and microplastics, to their effects on our planet, human and non-human bodies.

AND Festival 2021 will take place online, on docklands and on the water, featuring field trips in the physical world via augmented reality seascapes, immersive voyages and floating laboratories, expanded through an online programme of radical and disruptive artworks, film screenings, performances, talks and workshops. Inviting radical artists, critical thinkers and curious audiences to renavigate the industrial landscape from physical and virtual perspectives, the programme brings into focus the oceanic scale of networked industries and infrastructures that form part of our daily contemporary consumption.

Audiences local and remote are invited to trace the entangled flows of shipping routes, oil refineries, chemical industries, recycling plants and energy systems from these ports, and unearth the impact on our ways of living.

Upcoming events for July

Kali Malone: Does Spring Hide Its Joy

Thu 1 – Sun 4 July \\ Hydraulic Tower, Birkenhead

Multi-channel, durational sound installation, housed within the iconic, nineteenth-century Grade II listed building.

Observatory Cinema

Fri 2 – Sun 4 July \\ Bidston Observatory, Birkenhead

A weekend of open air cinema atop Bidston Hill featuring family-friendly animation Song of the Sea, award-winning documentary All Light, Everywhere, John Carpenter’s The Fog and contemporary cult favourite The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

By The Sound of Things – Kate Davies

Fri 9 – Sun 11 July \\ Warrington

By the Sounds of Things is an immersive audiovisual experience onboard the unique steam-powered, Mersey-built boat, The Daniel Adamson (The Danny).  From the deck of one of the last surviving Manchester Ship Canal tugs, the audience is invited to feel the vast echoes and epic scale of the modern shipping industry and consider the extent and impact of our insatiable consumerism on local and global environments.

This hypnotic binaural sound work tells the story of the journey of a container as it travels from the surface to the bottom of the ocean, whilst an accompanying film focusing on the world above water presents a collision of the extraordinary and the banal that defines the image of global sea trade – an absurd narrative of ordinary things.

Online exhibitions

Toxicity’s Reach – Mary Maggic, Dr Luiza Prado and Sissel Marie Tonn

From microplastics to pharmaceuticals and fertilisers, chemical cocktails contaminate waterways, eroding environmental and public health. When we cook our meals, wash our clothes, empty our sinks, drink water and use beauty products, we contribute to polluted ecosystems.

As humans, we are entangled with the very environments we seek to live with, from and in. Three new projects explore the material and ideological ways chemicals found in the River Mersey shape our bodies, communities and lives.

One-Fifth Of The Earth’s Surface – Hakeem Adam and Maxwell Mutanda

A conversation between artists Hakeem Adam, Maxwell Mutanda and the Atlantic Ocean, One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface is presented as an interactive audio-visual landscape and explorative online experience that unearths the power of water as a dynamic and fluid archive.

The project offers multiple readings of the unpredictable transatlantic waters as an evolving structure that initiates change on its surrounding lands, rerouting power and reshaping the lives of all who depend on it. This web-based artwork serves as an experimental route for users to read various digital drawings each offering and responding to a specific theme connected to the Atlantic Ocean, a body of water covering one-fifth of the Earth’s surface.

Other AND Festival events

The Blue Violet River – Anita Fontaine

Step aboard the iconic Mersey Ferry to inhabit a fantasy-fiction world exploring an evolved reality brought about by climate change, rising sea levels and tropical climates. Psychedelic audio-visual sculptures explode from land and water, and the Mersey skyline playfully shapeshifts revealing a surreal alternate reality of the urban landscape in this augmented reality (AR) work, which playfully envisions a peaceful future vision of evolved humanity. From the river’s intercontinental trade to the regular blooms of moon jellyfish drawn in by tidal currents, our post-industrial perspective of the River Mersey warps in this future-forward techno fantasy.

WetLab – public works + Assembly

This floating laboratory, using the canal network as a site as well as a subject, will create an opportunity for discussion and exploration, serving as a spark to imagine future uses of living on and around water. Sited at National Waterways Museum, WetLab will host playful experiments, workshops and cross-disciplinary discussions.

The canal-based pavilion, designed by critical design practice public works, will tour sites across Greater Manchester and Lancashire after launching in Cheshire for AND Festival 2021, becoming a hub for innovative learning, discussion, and engagement on the waterways.

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AND Festival 2021 is supported using public funding by Arts Council England with additional support from British Council, Culture Warrington, Creative Industries Fund Netherlands, The Space, Film Hub North (National Lottery funding from BFI Film Audience Network) and in collaboration with Wirral Borough Council. Programme partners British Library, Canal & River Trust, Culture Liverpool, Maritime Digital Hub, Merseytravel, The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Portico: Portsmouth’s Cargo Terminal, Super Slow Way, Wigan Council and York Mediale.

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