After the Wheelers’ Brunch parted ways… as the bitterly cold wind made our hands and faces quickly freeze as we were saying goodbye… I decided to venture into Manchester for a wonder before heading back home.
I walked my bike together with SheffieldCycleChic, which was lovely as we had a chance to carry on chatting and discussing work, bicycles, life in Manchester and Sheffield [Sheffield is close to my heart as my other half is a Yorkshireman from such city].
We got as far as the Town Hall before saying goodbye, then I headed into Jessops as I needed to drop off a film to be developed and decided to pop into the Manchester Art Gallery.
I just love Manchester museums and art galleries. I am always amazed at how possible it is that these institutions are still free to the public, and I very much hope that the current government plans will not affect them (although I dread it too, as I have little confidence in this gov). My all time favourite is the Whitworth Art Gallery, followed closely in second place by the Manchester Art Gallery.
I was so glad I did pop in as it was the penultimate day of the exhibition Recorders: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who is an amazing Mexican-Canadian electronic artist. All his artwork engaged the visiting public by making them be part of the artwork. Fantastic!
Lozano-Hemmer’s artworks depend on the participation of visitors to exist and develop, as the artist describes:
“In Recorders, artworks hear, see and feel the public, they exhibit awareness and record and replay memories entirely obtained during the show. The pieces either depend on participation to exist or predatorily gather information on the public through surveillance and biometric technologies.”
The installation that left me in awe was the Pulse Room, a room with many lightbulbs pending from the ceiling, flashing intermitting lights, what it seemed at first, randomly. When moving closer to one end of the room two sensor handlebars where places next to one, lower, lightbulb. The visitor would hold these handlebars, which would record the visitor’s heartbeat. When the visitor would let go of the sensors, all the lightbulbs would turn off, and the recording of the heartbeat would transfer to the first lightbulb in line, flashing as per the heartbeat rythm. As another visitor would come along and do the same, the previous hearbeat recording would move on to the second lightbulb and so on.
So, what looked like randomly pulsating lightbulbs, were in fact recordings of people’s heartbeat. Fascinating, and incredibly poetic, for me. I love when artists and designers manage to express in a tangible ways, everyday, ‘common’, moments that we would otherwise dismiss or take for granted.
Here’s a little video I made of it… just to give you an idea. [it’s sideways at first as I had forgot about the lack of rotating feature of my camera ops!]
On my way out of the gallery I saw this grand bike, locked to the railings. I didn’t get close to read the make, but was it a Batavus? It looked a very classic old style Dutch bike. A huge bike, felt it was as tall as me!
And when I went back to Vita, what do I see? A lovely basket trio! How cute uh?!
What a wonderful Saturday!