Liverpool’s Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival 2013 launches at FACT


Abandon Normal Devices Festival launches with array of visual delights, Getintothis’ Peter Guy offers a few first thoughts.

Liverpool’s AND Festival launched with a visual and interactive feast at FACT on Wood Street.
Now in its fifth year, AND Festival‘s programme is an exciting foray into arts, cinema and digital culture, focusing on artists who make the impossible possible.
On the opening afternoon, guests were greeted at FACT by the sight of Mexican artists Los Ferronautas‘ creation, the spectacular SEFT-1 – a vehicle that melds the futuristic with the analogue and is designed to travel along rugged terrain and abandoned rail tracks.
Having travelled through Mexico and Equador, it landed in the North West were it was adapted in Blackburn to cruise along the shipping canals.
AND Festival manager Gabrielle Jenks told guests there was a further ironic twist for the creation was approved for the waterways on the weekend when Liverpool’s Yellow Duck Marine sank into the Albert Dock – an event which added to the complexities for insurers!
Another of AND Festival‘s major commissions was the world premiere of filmmaker and artist Mark Boulos‘ video installation, Echo. The piece invites people to stand in a spotlight inside one of FACT’s darkened galleries.
What unfolds is a street scene at night with ghostly vehicles and exchanges with echo-laden sounds resulting in a truly immersive, eerie and all-consuming experience. Not unlike FACT‘s previous ambient work, ZEE, Boulos’ piece is unsettling and confusing and takes the body into an altogether different realm; albeit one a lot closer to home.
Boulos’ short films upstairs in FACT revolve around socio-political works with the short documentary All That Is Solid Melts Into Air proving the most effective. On two opposing walls are two hugely contrasting pieces of footage – one shows the poverty-stricken villages of the Niger Delta as fishing communities struggle to cope as Westerners ‘invade’ in their pursuit of oil.
The other depicts the expectant-turned-glum expressions of Chicago-based investors watching as the stock markets collapse. The pieces provide a stark contrast of two communities on opposite sides of the world – and indeed societies – in their struggle for survival. ‘We hunt white people,’ says one of the Nigerian villagers – reflecting the stark and profound brutality of the piece.
Elsewhere, and still to come are light-hearted cinema pieces including Sharknado – a trashy internet hype film about sharks which fly like, yep, you guessed it, tornadoes. In keeping with the fishy theme, there’s the compulsive viewing of Leviathan – a whale hunting documentary which promises to be a sensory explosion.
Elsewhere are the four ateliers they include
* A focus on the future of cinema with creative technologists and new cinema pioneers? Marshmallow Laser Feast testing networks, using animation and special effects they will be attempting to connect cinemas across the UK.
* Alchemist artist Adam Brown , known for the award winning The Great Work of the Metal Lover (a project where he created gold), delivers a workshop on How to make art in a toxic environment.
* Critical Engineers Julian Oliver and Daniil Vasiliev run NETworkshop where attendees can learn how to manipulate computer networks and build a small-scale model of the own internet,
* Artist and provocateur Jesse Darling decamps from the city for Our Bodies, Our Selfies, training in performativity in the online space.
AND continues tonight with the official opening party at Static Gallery.
Further reading on Getintothis
ATALONIA named Getintothis‘ Event of 2011.
Getintothis interviews the Kazimier team.
Getintothis uncovers The Kazimier‘s ATALONIA – the world within a world
Atalonia: Inside Hollow Earth – the video.
The Kazimier: Atalonia Soundtrack.