This past weekend (31 August – 2 September) I had the opportunity to help out at a few events as part of Abandon Normal Devices Festival 2012, which brought new cinema, digital culture and innovative exhibitions to Manchester.
Empire Drive-In, a post-apocalyptic drive-in constructed in a car park, was my first event and also my personal highlight. I arrived early to help set up and this gave me chance to really appreciate the logistics involved in putting an event like this together, and the amount of teamwork and ambition involved, and as night fell (and the rain stopped) I appreciated a total change in atmosphere from slightly desolate to eery and amazing.
This project really struck a chord with some my own pre-occupations, Americana, dystopia and the current state of communal movie watching. It also reminded me of the artwork and general feel of The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, and I do love Arcade Fire.
After a quiet shift in the festival Hub, and a chance to recover from Empire Drive-In, I headed over to the final day of Mobile Republic‘s Digital Caravans. A variety of artists have been invited to take the traditional British touring caravan and remodel it in challenging and innovative ways. Exploring the caravans made me reconsider what can be achieved in small places, and think about commonplace spaces in a different way. Of all the times I’ve been in a caravan I’d never considered what the space could be used for if it was, for example, completely upholstered in the style of cinema seating.
As it was the last day of the festival I helped out with the de-rigging of the caravans, and working within the team to take it down inspired me to think bigger in my work and not worry so much about logistics when planning work.
My experiences this summer at New Blood and AND Festival have challenged, inspired and excited me, and encouraged me to take greater risks and attend as many design and arts events as possible. And I encourage you to join me in my New (School) Year Resolution : DO MORE STUFF!