Monday 18 April 2011

The future of everything...

Have promised our good chums at FutureEverything that I'd post up what they've got planned this year onto the blog. Alongside our vertical farm plans with Manchester International Festival, and the opening of the Brockholes 'unreserved reserve', this is the 'other' high point of the year.

FutureEverything, 11 – 14th May 2011

Arriving in Manchester in May for its sixteenth year, FutureEverything transforms 4 Piccadilly Place into its Conference venue and Art Hub. Meanwhile Umbro Design Studio in the Northern Quarter becomes the ‘living lab’, mixing up live music DJs, workshops and music events across the city, from concert halls to backstreet gems.


The FutureEverything conference leads our Ideas strand, where visionary speakers explore the interface between technology, society and culture. The FutureEverything Conference continues to bring you the latest debate and visionary ideas around New Mobilities, Open Data and Emotional Computing, brought to you by forward thinkers such as Meg Pickard, Bill Thompson, Kars Alfrink and Sue Thomas. With over 30 events across the city, Showcase is the place to discover the sounds and stars of tomorrow, with emerging talent from across the city and beyond.


The music strand profiles musical pioneers and ground-breaking talent. Acts confirmed to play the festival include Steve Reich, Rob da Bank, Beach House, Warpaint, 65daysofstatic, Gang Gang Dance, Black Heart Procession, Das Racist, The Radio Dept., Star Slinger, Dark Dark Dark plus many more.


The art programme features world premieres and urban interventions, including new work by Me and The Machine.

Main exhibition 

The Data Dimension, features artists exploring the flourishing field of data visualisation. Manchester citizens are invited to participate in the OurCity mass participate experiment by Adam Nieman. And the most inspirational digital innovations are celebrated in the FutureEverything Award 2011.

For more information click here.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Yuri Gagarin in Manchester

It’s fifty years since a plucky and rather diminutive Yuri Gagarin shot into space, cooped up in a contraption with the computing power of your average remote control, and what I really love is the fact that during his victory tour, he made a major splash in Manchester, only his second stop outside the Soviet Bloc, following the flight into space.

The stop-off had a lot to do with the fact that Yuri was a former foundry worker, and so the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers in Manchester decided to invite the now world-famous cosmonaut to come and visit Manchester in July 1951.

As he emerged from his RAF plane at Ringway Airport, it was raining (I know, I know) and he apparently asked for the car’s top to be rolled down, saying: “If all those people are getting wet to welcome me, surely the least I can do is get wet too!”

He was pretty much mobbed on his arrival by a crowd that included the then ‘Mayor of Stretford’. He then drove through Moss Side to the Union’s HQ, where his car was reported showered with ‘red roses, poppies and carnations’ and, this is my favourite bit, was presented with a specially designed medal that to my eye could have been the early work of Comrade Saville, if he’d been around at the time. It included the slogan ‘Together Moulding a Better World'.

He also stopped at Metros works in Trafford Park and was lunched by the great and the good at Manchester Town Hall, where he met Sir Bernard Lovell, who said: “He will become one of the historic figures in civilisation because he is the first man to live in a new environment. There are lots of things I would like to ask him, but probably he would not answer them.”

There are two pieces of press copy surrounding the visit that I like. First of all the Manchester Evening News which wrote how ‘Major Gagarin is above the tedious enmities of politics. His was a human achievement; a victory for man's spirit and courage’, but there was an even lovelier line in Pravda, which makes me a little weepy: 'Manchester's toiling masses accorded Major Gagarin a reception unsurpassed in its cordiality. Never over the past many tens of years has Manchester met anybody with such an embrace’.