Thursday, 18 July 2013

DO IT: Manchester International Festival #doitmif13

It's that time once again, when Manchester International Festival takes over the city, bringing culture, art and the bizarre to the forefront of everyone's attention and this year's incarnation doesn't disappoint.

There's still a whole host of incredible things to see and do before the festival is over, I'm off to the screening of Macbeth on Sunday, seeing Kenneth Branagh return to Shakespeare after over a decade and co-direct with Rob Ashford (a razzle-dazzle kinda guy with A Street Car Named Desire and an Oscars Beyoncé performance to his list of directorial achievements). The festival square at Albert Square is a lovely place to sit in the sun and have a drink whilst arty farty things happen around you. Plus, the ice cream van and pizza oven are amazing! There's also the rather inspiring Biospheric Project, which looks at how we can grow more food more efficiently to feed a growing human population. Based in a disused mill on the banks of the river Irwell, the project is a living urban farm with tours and workshops around food and farming technology and science.

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But, one of the highlights for me so far has to be Do It, the group art show exhibited for free at Manchester Art Gallery. The last festival in 2011 showcased 11 Rooms at the Art Gallery, 11 rooms, 11 artists, 11 things/performances/experiences within. It was incredible and I still talk about it to friends today! Do It moves on from this and instead of 11 rooms with 11 artists, we have a whole host of artists including Manchester's own Peter Saville and Yoko Ono who have provided short instructions to be read and enacted within the gallery or within our everyday life.

From the sweet like, "smile at the stranger," (Louise Bourgeois, 2012) to the thought-provoking and yet seemingly pointless like, "DO something unique that only you and no one else in the world can do. Don't call it art." (Robert Barry, 2012).

Walking around the exhibit and reading all and adhering to some of the instructions written on paper, on walls, on plaques, squeezing lemons, humming at security guards and staring at Yoko Ono's wishing tree was inspiring/confusing/funny/sad/emotional all at once and I urge anyone with a spare 5 minutes or a whole day to pop by Manchester Art Gallery (one of the most amazing places in Manchester) to see Do It 2013!

I'm going to do my best to do it this year and enact as many of the instructions as I can, I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Oh, and if you do, you know, do it, upload your snaps to to take part in the project!