Secret Cities: Immersion is a collaboration between Curated Place, digital artist and photographer Andrew Brooks and A/V expert Nick Malbon of Lighting Made Simple. Supported by Arts Council England we’re carrying out R&D to develop a new projection environment taking Andrew’s stunning photography from the gallery walls into a spectacular and beautiful projection environment.
Created in the Curated Place studios in Federation House, Manchester we’re experimenting with a variety of structures, different media servers, a huge range of Andrew’s images (including some created on the workshops) and even wireless MIDI control surfaces that will allow us to prototype interactivity and control variables which we will develop in the next stage of the project.
The ultimate aim is to allow audiences a way of interacting with Andrew’s images that focusses on the clarity and quality of the experience and image over and above an encounter with digital technology. A short-run exhibition of the fully realised Immersion space will take place later in the year.
Through a new series of photographic workshops and location explorations we’re looking for people to get involved with shaping the direction of this major new artwork in Manchester.
Enlighten Festival of Light and Sound Art 2015
Immersion: Iceland is part of our Enlighten Festival, coming to Manchester Central Library and The Bridgewater Hall this December. Find out more
Secret Cities: Immersion – R&D
Photographer Andrew Brooks and curator/producer Andy Brydon will be joined by lighting and technical wizard Nick Malbon (Lighting Made Simple) to push the presentation and experience of Secret Cities into new immersive directions. This period of R&D will allow the team to explore new ways of displaying the artwork with a technician expert in projection, video mapping and digital media servers to unleash the full potential of the depth of experience encapsulated in the exceptionally hi-resolution images.
The digital nature of the work contains limitless possibilities for audience interaction. Utilising Malbon’s expertise we are aiming to enable audiences to experience the massive levels of detail present in the work but maintaining the sublime experience of viewing traditional art. Central to the R&D work is investigating the increasingly unstable nature of photography and creating an opportunity for audience interaction with the work through sensor interfaces that remain hidden – stressing the clarity and quality of the experience and image over and above an encounter with digital technology. We are also hoping to create a new exhibition space for testing next to the Curated Place studios in the disused loading bay of Federation House thanks to Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces Scheme. This will enable us to develop our work at a monumental scale and will also leave a new resource for the Manchester arts community to further explore the possibilities of working at scale.
The project provides a platform and focus for explorations of the urban environment enabling everyone involved to experience and interrogate cities using photography, memory and identity to create new notions of places within what may seem familiar environments. Through this approach the project results in a celebration of place, a renewal of outlook and a sense of ownership for local citizens so often lost in the increasingly privatised public realm of contemporary life. Simultaneously the exhibition and events that we programme around the work results in a repositioning images of urban centres within the wider national and international cultural sphere.
Multi-layered yet accessible from many angles Secret Cities seamlessly marries arts, heritage, museology, social science, anthropology, urbanism, architecture and education by inviting communities and creators to take a fresh view of their physical and psychological environments. It breaks down social, economic and physical barriers to activate forgotten, neglected or ignored spaces. In doing so it allows both old and new meaning, memory and identities to take shape – both within local communities and in the minds of those further afield.
Workshops: July – September 2014
Three workshops took place in 2014 where anyone who wanted to learn the techniques used by artist Andrew Brooks joined us for a day of location explorations and shooting followed by an intense Photoshop training session from one of the UK’s leading photographic artists using the latest equipment courtesy of Manchester Central Library’s cutting edge media lounge. Each workshop covered a different style of location:
Workshop 1 – Cityscape Location: City Centre Manchester/Central Library
Workshop 2 – Landscape Location: Edale
Workshop 3 – Low Light & Difficult Access Location: Somewhere beneath Manchester