Wednesday, 15 August 2012

3 Days Without Water

Wed 22nd August – Sat 25th August 2012
3 Piccadilly Place, M1 3BN [MAP]

The Life Friendly Collective present:

3 days without water

Water is vital to life: we depend on it for our survival. Yet we pollute it, disrupt it, waste it and fear it. 3 Days Without Water examines our relationship with water and its dynamic properties which can be both life enhancing and destructive.  

Works include a water garden, sound installation and live events.

Featured Life Friendly artists:

Kate Bevan - Water Words
louie+jesse - call and response

Opening times:

Wed 22nd Aug: 12.30pm - 5.30pm
Thu 23rd Aug: 2.30pm - 7.30pm
Fri 24th Aug: 12.30pm - 5.30pm
Sat 25th Aug: 12.30pm - 5.30pm

Free Special events:

Water Words - Kate Bevan
"Water Words", is a participatory work for five people at a time and will be performed on...
Friday 24th August, 12.30pm - 12.45pm & 12.45pm - 13.00
Saturday 25th August, 17.15 - 17.30 & 17.30 - 17.45
To ensure a place, please email: with the date & time of the performance you'd like to attend. To find out more click here.

A Manchester Smell Walk
Friday 24th August, 1 - 2pm: meet 3 Piccadilly Place

Manchester has its fair share of water. From the waterways of Canal Street, Piccadilly Gardens' Fountain Plaza, the mini water features dotted around the city and, you guessed it, the rain, water has a major impact on the city's sensory landscape. But what influence does Manchester's water have on the SMELL OF THE CITY? Here's your chance to find out, with an hour-long smell walk around some of the local odour hotspots led by Dr Victoria Henshaw from Manchester University. Remember to wear sensible shoes and dress for the weather!

No need to book, just turn up at 1pm.

Visit the Smell and the city blog:

Follow us on twitter: @life_friendly

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Water Ways


Some converging interests and energy, including the canal walk and the desire for a space to experiment, have led to an opportunity. Water is the theme and a group of us will be exploring water as a critical resource in a space, near Piccadilly Basin, that we have access to, thanks to Jessica and regular collaborator Louie who are making an installation/ sculpture as part of Louie's MA.


The space itself presents a Life Friendly challenge with limited electricity. We'll have access to the space from the 7th Aug until the 25th Aug during which time we'll be exploring the many different ways in which water is important and producing a group exhibition around the theme of Water.

The residency and exhibition dates coincide with the 2012 canal festival and related events which we hope to make links with.


Participating artists:

Jessica Mautner
Louie O'Grady
Kate Bevan
Maya Chowdhry
James Brady
Penny Skerrett
Caroline Ward
Erinma Ochu

Explore slideshow of the space.

Water Ways will be open to the public to visit from Wed 22nd August to Sat 25th August 2012.

Water ways has become.... 3 Days Without Water

Related blogs:

Waterwheel: sharing about water
Water: pinterest

Friday, 25 May 2012

Canal Walk

Inspired by the AND Festival artist residency opportunity, five of us went on a walk along Rochdale Canal last week. Starting out at Piccadilly Basin we walked along the canal for just over 3 hours stopping off for a picnic en route before getting the bus back to Piccadilly.

We mapped out the route beforehand and documented people, botanicals & buildings using video, photography and also recorded the route on a cycling GPS tracker. We considered how we could explore the life friendliness of the canal and how it might have a restorative impact on the people and immediate environment.

We wondered how we might transform and reveal its potential as an ecological 'edge' through foraging, sculpture, interactive work, archiving and film. We came up with an idea for exploring SLOW TRADE - how could the canal be considered as an ecology that is traded from one end of the canal to the other - influencing, interacting and gaining from connections with the dog walkers, cyclists, lovers, fishermen - that frequent it? The kind of thing that builds, balances and restores slowly over time.

The whole slideshow from the walk is here:

A Slow Art Space

On April 28th, halfway through the two-week residency at the Chinese Arts Centre, we participated in International Slow Art Day ( with an interactive open studios event which attracted 88 visitors.

My personal residency project was making food slowly, that was shared with visitors on the day. The menu included 10-day sourdough, Amish Friendship Bread, tea eggs, cheese, radish seedleaves, and ginger beer. We prepared a handout explaining about Slow Art Day, listing the works, and inviting visitors to view or engage with them more slowly than they might normally. Most of the artists were present to facilitate the visitors' engagement with their pieces and to chat afterwards, not just about slow art but also to open up a wider dialogue about the benign potential of "slow" - giving ourselves, our projects and others space the time to germinate and grow organically, especially in the context of city living.

The works-in-progress exhibited by members of our Life Friendly Collective included: a rail of garments with questions about their origin sewn into them by Penny Skerrett, a long 'fluid manifesto' to which visitors were invited to contribute by Kate Bevan, a meditation and writing durational performance by Yan Preston, a video exploring the concept of 'life friendly' with gallery staff by Àgata Alcaniz, a curated 'library of changes' by James Brady, a collaborative story on the gallery wall initiated by Elizabeth Wewiora from a found photograph, a twitter-based project by Erinma Ochu involving a handmade postbox for 'small things', and cress haikus by Maya Chowdhry.

Over a snack of slow-made food, we chatted with many people about their experience of visiting the open studios event and spending a longer time than usual with each artist's work. The response was very positive, people felt the space was relaxing and that felt that they had literally slowed down as they spent time there. Some of the artworks invited participation, and people felt that the context of Slow Art Day made them more likely to spend time thinking and participating in the artworks. Although the works were contemporary and nontraditional, several people were keen to go and view paintings etc slowly by themselves after the experience. Two visitors even took away some of my slow-cake batter to make their own 10-day cakes! - Report written by Jessica Mautner for Slow Art Day International

Creating Regenerative Cities - 14th June - Photographer's Gallery

This lecture presents the notion that sustainability is not enough. Professor Girardet will suggest that in an urbanising world, cities need to engage in renewable energy development and in restoring the damaged ecosystems on whose health we ultimately depend. We can no longer depend on sustainable cities, the Professor will claim, but need to develop ones which actively regenerate.
Professor Herbert Girardet is an author, filmmaker and co-founder of the World Future Council. He is a recipient of a UN Global 500 Award ‘for outstanding environmental achievements’, an honorary fellow of Royal Institute of British Architects and a patron of the Soil Association.
This lecture forms part of a series curated by Edward Burtynsky to directly address issues arising within the exhibition.

For more information:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mini-Maker Fair - 28 & 29th July 2012 - call for makers

 Do you love making things and meeting people?  Do you enjoy sharing what you do?  Then come to the place where makers meet science and industry in the heart of the city: MOSI Maker Fair are looking for all sorts of people to create a community weekend event that brings together science, art, craft and engineering in a fun-filled tribute to the DIY spirit in everyone.

Kind of activities they are looking for but by no means exclusively:

■Music, Performance and Participation
■Textiles, Arts and Crafts – weave, felt, recycle or stitch it
■ How to cook or make interesting food
■Home Energy Monitoring
■Sustainability and upcycling
■Green Technology
■Radios, Vintage Computers and Game Systems
■Hands-on electronics
■Electric Vehicles
■Biology/Biotech and Chemistry Projects
■Food and drink Makers

Submission deadline: 15th June 2012. Apply here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

washing off the collective #mindmap mural

Artist Àgata Alcañiz takes responsibility for her artwork once her residency at the Chinese Arts Centre is finished and she washes it off.

"I thought I could remove the charcoal and leave the wall as I found it by just using water and old clothes but I could not."

As an artist and as a human being I like taking responsibility of my actions above all the ones affecting the environment more than to a human level, though with the time I've learned that these two are not separated. Said that, since a child I always have had a natural inclination to respect the natural world above humans.

That's why I have always considered what I do, how I use my time, and the things I use. In that respect I chose to do and have as little as I feel comfortable with. That's the only way I know by first hand I can be friendlier to the environment.

In my art practice my main concern is to raise awareness on the amount of waste, in a very broad sense, humans are generating, and how is affecting not only the natural world but also our health and lives.

I also like taking responsibility of the artwork I make or engage with. In that respect I always consider to have the less environmental impact as I can. 

Sometime, nonetheless I feel like just portraying how I perceive our contemporary times, and I do and use all the things our society does. See ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE_ HUMAN BIN for example. I portray what could be a main stream woman who goes to the hair dresser, has make-up and might like luxury apartments.

But even if I want to have less environmental impact, doesn't matter what I do, it always seems it has. That's why I prefer to do as little as possible and If I do something, focus on:
  • planting trees
  • designing systems that are sustainable like growing food or recycling humanure.
  • encourage people to do and have less (children included), and if anything, use the most sustainable solutions.

When the Chinese Arts Centre asked to few artists how art practices could be friendlier I saw the complexity of such an issue and I opened the dialogue to people within the arts or whoever could have any views on the subject.

I also had clear that I would try to respond to it by having the less environmental impact as possible, so:
  • I sourced charcoal made in England with local coppiced branches. 
  • I invited people to be part of a collective #mindmap using this charcoal and write and draw on one of the centre's wall
  • I washed it up just using water and old cloths.

I thought I could remove the charcoal and leave the wall as I found it but I could not. It will need a layer of white painting. I also encouraged people who could not come to the centre to leave their messages on twitter or by email so the process of making the collective #mindmap used computers, new phones and therefore electricity...

People says to me.. Àgata computers can be re-cycled. Yes, but once you bought them, they already had committed environmental crimes.

People says ... you should focus on small solutions. Yes but small solutions won't solve the major environmental and human crisis we are confronting.

Also it is obvious that what is friendly for you it is not frienly for me.

The act of making 'becoming life friendly' collective #mindmap shows the complexity of being life friendly."