Thursday, 22 May 2008

MIXING IT UP Project #1: Sphere: dreamz/Cornerhouse, The Whitworth Art Gallery, and Sangam Restaurant, Rusholme

still from "A Wakening," a video installed in lobby of Cornerhouse

Sphere is an arts organization committed to supporting a broad range of innovative aesthetic projects. The group’s inaugural project, “Sphere: dreamz,” 2006, was created in collaboration with multimedia artist Shanaz Gulzar, writer Maya Chowdhury and co-creator Jaheda Choudhury,
and co-produced by greenroom and queerupnorth

Originally part of a 2006 installation in Sackville Park, Manchester, Sphere: dreamz challenged Canal Street as “gay” (white and male) and Curry Mile as “ethnic” (South Asian and heterosexual) through a series of artistically, re-fashioned beds that drew on multiple senses of the viewer. The artworks reflected on the (in)visibility of South Asian lesbians, in particular, and will be re-installed as part of “Mixing It Up” in two new locations, Sangam Restaurant in Curry Mile and The University of Manchester’s The Whitworth Art Gallery. Each location will draw out different aspects of the artwork—the former meditating on a specific aspect of the artwork’s content and the latter creating formal connections to other artworks as part of the re-hanging of the gallery’s permanent collection in the Gulbenkian Room.

Sphere bed by Col Bashir. Installed at The Whitworth Art Gallery as part of a larger exhibition of drawings and paintings culled the gallery’s permanent collection exploring “The Body.”

At Cornerhouse, video work will be presented in the foyer of anonymous queer, South Asian women, captured only in silhouette. Sphere also present organza drapes used in the initial open-air event to dress the gallery's first floor windows, one printed with the silhouette of a woman interviewed in the video and two left plain in contrasting colours. The manipulated, abstract footage also features imagery taken from the first Sphere: dreamz installation in Sackville Park in 2006. Finally, specially produced wallpaper is comprised of abstracted stills from the video and then used to decorate one wall of the ground floor, creating a mural that is sympathetic to the same powerful messages contained in the video. All works offer a voice to an otherwise (perceived) invisible South Asian lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered community.

sample of digital wallpaper installed in Cornerhouse