The New Anxiety
The 300+ year technologies built to capture, understand and connect the world - from maps through geostationary satellites to contemporary algorithms and big data collection - have been exposed as weapons-grade systems that pluralise reality and destabilise the present. How does living in this new anxious world feel, and how deep do these systems take root?
Our second official season of events is more diverse than ever before, celebrating the raucousness, intimacy and hybridised nature of much contemporary music and performance. VIRTUALLYREALITY SS19 features music for instruments, electronic sets, dance, physical theatre, performance art and audiovisual performances across four dynamic evenings that allow differing artistic communities to collide.
We will be welcoming a plethora of national and international artists to Manchester for the first time. From London, dancer and choreographer Last Yearz Interesting Negro will dismantle their identity through striking movement work with sound artist Rowdy SS, whilst composer-performer troupe Bastard Assignments make their second blazing mark on the North-West following 2017's Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. An appearance from Berlin-based electronic artist bod [包家巷] will lift audiences into the dreamy ethers of digitally-tinged submission, whilst Danish accordionist Andreas Borregaard's performance of Jennifer Walshe's hyper-energetic SELF-CARE may just give us whiplash as we nosedive back into the almost-real world.
Represented alongside are some of Manchester's most exciting talents. Effervescent rapper Iceboy Violet will perform their heartwarming live
set which fizzes with cathartic queer aggression, whilst an ensemble of instrumentalists from the Royal Northern College of Music assembled specifically for VIRTUALLYREALITY will perform Murat Çolak's 21st Century ensemble-Trance masterpiece SWAN. VIRTUALLYREALITY's key organisers are also featured. Artistic director MICHAELBRAILEY's fragile, tech-indebted vocal performances see him bursting the glass ceiling of his falsetto in service of intimate and submissive songwriting. Event co-ordinator and guitarist Callum Coomber's delicate performance of Catherine Lamb's Point/Wave starkly contrasts his ensemble/physical performance group SHOAL, who will debut a new programme coalescing around lossy data transfer and the fallibility of the human body.
SS19 also sees us partnering with the UK-based, quintessentially un-British record label Slip for an opening night party featuring diffuse pop music for a restless generation. Artist Joe Snape - accompanied by a ragtag band and absurdist visuals by Leonie Brandner - will perform songs straight from the uncanny valley in celebration of new album Joyrobix, whilst label-runners Laurie & Suze's rowdy, audiovisual live set will 'pop' and burst open the seams of stage etiquette, leaving you (and maybe themselves) in pieces.
Bastard Assignments, SHOAL