“It’s not the Biennial’s job to represent the city, that’s our job.”
SevenStreets is sitting upstairs in the Bluecoat with Nathan Jones, ex School Lane poet in residence, and Mercy man at large. He’s project managing The Cooperative, a ‘collective of collectives’ aiming to redress the balance, reclaim the city, and show those who come that there is more to our bi-yearly art event than a ‘festival of work from outside the city.’
“The Biennial is, rightly, an international event, so it’s up to the rest of us to capitalise on the buzz in the city to show just how creative this city is,” Nathan says.
The best way to do that? Engage the art and creative collectives who’ve been active in the city for years. Round ‘em up, give them a home for the duration of the festival (the old Rapid paints shop on Renshaw Street) and let them do their thing.
“It’s gonna be a central hub for people interested in Liverpool’s amazingly diverse scene,” Nathan expains. “We’re mostly looking at process based events, so artists will be working in the space to create something that will evolve throughout the week, and hopefully that’ll encourage dialogue between artist and viewer.”
There’ll also be a permanent archive and set of portfolios displaying the work of all 50 selected artists. Think of it like an ‘open studios’ event, without the hassle of having to trek across town to visit all the studios individually.
“It’s an entry point into our art scene,” Nathan says. “We’ll be representing a large network of collectives, so there’ll be a wide variety of styles and different types of artwork, from film-makers to musicians, sculptors to drawing.”
Below decks, Mercy reign over the proceedings, staging a series of performance-based evenings in a specially constructed new auditorium: featuring emerging talent covering poetry, laptop-based beats, innovative films, discussions, late-night magazine making and comedy.
Every Saturday, at the stroke of midnight, the Midnight Special promises a stay behind every bit as unpredictable as you’d expect from an after-hours at the edge of town.
Open Weds-Sun 1pm-5pm, 18th September until 29th November: SevenStreets readers are invited to each week’s private view, every Friday evening, 7pm.