Tag Archives: manchester

Cutting Room Experiment; My Entry

I’ve entered this interesting competition; it’s asking for concepts for 12 flash mobbing events, to be held in Manchester in July.  My idea is for all of the attendants to take photographs simultaneously on their mobile phones, and then blutooth them to a central hub to be displayed on a big screen. Vote for me here.

Geocaching Memory Bugs

I’ve already released USB memory sticks loose into the wild – as it were. I called those BlogCrossing. Each BlogCrossing is a self-contained WordPress blog (like this one) and the idea is that each person that has the memory stick in their possession should make some sort of contribution, in the form of a blog post.


Geocaching with Caiti and Demelza. We found this Knight travel bug just by the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, I took him to Manchester.

I saw it as the inverse of blogging, rather than being written by an individual and available to the masses this blog is written by many people but can only be read by a single person at one time.

Recently I’ve become more and more enamored with geocaching – via geocaching.com – and I thought combining the traveling memory stick concept with geocaching would work great. For those who don’t know, geocaching is (according to the ever-present Wikipedia):

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value.

Geocaching websites offer things called Travel Bugs. These are generally metal dog-tags that you can purchase for a small fee. Each one has a unique identification number on it and they can be attached to anything you like. These items can be tracked via geocaching.com.

So the idea is that people take my USB memory sticks from place to place and contribute items of digital media along the way. In the long-run I will create online (and maybe offline) exhibitions of the generated content.

In the short term, I’ve created my own geocaches as starting places for the memory sticks. The memory sticks themselves will be taken away, but the geocaches will remain.

Links to the relevant pages on geocaching.com:

In due course I’ll post any further info about the geocache’d memory sticks here.

Jameson Promo Gig

Urgh. The morning after. I won’t be going near Jameson in a while!

I attended a Jameson Whisky promo event at the new Trof bar yesterday – I think they’re simply calling it “The Deaf Institute”. There’s apparently been some “hoo-har” about the name of the place. Somewhat shamelessly Trof management wanted to call the place “Deaf & Dumb” and have only changed their mind after some considerably pressure.

The venue and bar looks great. Its been decked out in an amazing pattern wallpaper and big friendly furniture and the music area is really cool. I’m not sure if it is permanent or not but there’s quite a cool seating area at the back.

Anyway the reason I wanted to blog it was not to review the bar as such, but to mention one of the support acts, Florence & The Machine. She was really good fun – and actually I have no idea what to write about her, so check out her MySpace :o)

Also I met a photographer, and was going to become flickr-friends with her. I wanted to show her my HDR efforts. Can’t remember her name, Shiarlene or something….. Argh.

Geocaching Manchester

I laid my first ever geocache yesterday in Platt Fields park, Manchester. Hurray!

Geocaching is a kind of game, where “cachers” hide small containers which contain a logbook and a prize of some description. Anyone can go and hunt the cache – and take the prize – by logging onto the geocaching website (http://geocaching.com/) and obtaining the latitude and longitude of any given cache. Using a GPS device you can then (easily) find the cache. You must always replace anything you take from the cache with something else.

I discovered the concept last summer, but haven’t done a great deal of it. I have found 3 or 4 other caches around Manchester.

The one I laid is in Platt Fields Park and contains a disposable camera. The idea is that everyone who finds it take a photograph of themselves. I will then develop the pictures and them here, and also on the cache’s page on the geocaching website.

Manchester Tremors

I just experienced an earthquake for the first time in my life, in Manchester, of all places.

It was a truly weird experience; I was sitting on a chair working on the computer.  I noticed a swaying motion and looked round expecting to see my girlfriend there. Unfortunately as I turned I saw she was sitting on the sofa staring back at me with an air of confusion.

I didn’t relish it, to be honest.

Diwali at Platt Fields Park

I went to a pre-Diwali celebration at Platt Fields Park a couple of weeks ago. It was fantastic. Not really directly relevant to my artistic practice, but certainly a good thing to do (for me) to keep my mind happy and creative. It was a really nice community event, but the dramatic climax was hugely enjoyable.

Dewali Fire Poi

Fire Poi.

A 30′ tall effigy of the ten-headed demon king Ravan was burnt, along with atmospheric music and a beatifully choreographed fireworks display. The effigy was buily by an arts company called Walk the Plank.

Platt fields seems to be a hotpot of these brilliant events; the other one I’ve been to being the fire-art-french-thing.

Burning Davan, at Diwali

The burning of Davan.

Urban Myths at URBIS

I took part in ‘Urban Myths Retold’ at the Urbis museum, in Manchester. The project was off the back of a literature competition that Urbis had already run, asking writers to create short stories either re-telling or creating brand new urban legends. 10 performance-based installations took place at different sites around Urbis, that visitors viewed as part of a 1-hour-long guided tour.

The work that I took part in was based on the story “Three feet from Leroy” – about a man who becomes obsessed with what appears to be an imaginary rat; his fear lead by the legend that, in a City, you are never more than three feet away from a rat. My friend Bryn Lloyd-Evans had created a sculpture, reflecting on some of the themes running through the story.

To augment the physical sculpture, we created a word-based (using the prose) sound scape, that I performed using Ableton Live. In addition my girlfriend, Caiti Berry, “VJ’d” a video performance (using OpenTZT; cool software)that was projected over the sculpture and in a stair-well of the space we were in. The space itself was a claustrophobic service stairway, in the guts of the building; perfect for this performance but it turned out to be rather unpleasant to spend several hours in.

This is a photo-merged picture of our setup (click for a larger version);

Three feet from Leroy, performance setup at Urbis

A video of all of the installations is being produced, so hopefully I’ll be able to post that on here once it arrives.

Bryn is interested in doing some live performances of poetry, using similar techniques, so that is something to think about. Not sure if its right up my street or not.

This is the story;

Three feet from Leroy by Peter Canning

He knew that in the city you are never more that three feet away from a rat. he moved there anyway, but fatefully for him it would be the same rat. Its name was Leroy and it trailed him everywhere- his bedroom, the loo, his office, parks parachute jumps, lifts, buses and even romantic dinners.

Leroy, despite being a magnificent rat with dark fur and bright eyes, didn’t impress neighbours, colleagues or girlfriends. Soon the office was a distant memory and the only dinners he ate were for one. He grew to hate the vermin and laid poison, but Leroy was too clever.

The years passed. Leroy continued to stalk him down the bust streets and lonely alleyways, screeching mockingly at him whenever they were alone. Eventually, his rat-inspired loneliness drove him away from the city. As he left for his home town he saw in his mirror Leroy loitering irritably at the city limits and thanked his lucky starts that he’d soon have a life again.

But he began to miss those quiet nights when, like soldiers at Christmas 1916, he and Leroy agreed a truce of sorts, watching TV together and sharing a burger.

But his pride was too great for him to return to the city, to be reunited with his rodent friend. Until one day the local council won their fight to reclassify the town as a city. And as if by magic, he heard a screeching from under the floorboards.

Cornerhouse Copy Cats

On reading the Cornerhouse’s website, I’ve discovered that they’re just commencing with a project entitled Bitmapping (see http://www.bitmapping.com/)

The idea basically comes down to a game of consequences, but rather than using words images will be used. And rather than using paper, mobile phones (and their attached cameras) will be used. The whole thing will go on for about 3 months, and as each picture is sent it will be printed and displayed in the Cornerhouse Cafe.

Its brilliant.

However it’s also rather frustrating for me that I came up with precisely the same concept. I guess that, if nothing else, it at least means I’m thinking along the right lines!