Nelson Guzmán, Cilla Black, Liverpool walk of fame, 2008
On the Long Night of the Liverpool Biennial a group of artists and art students assisted us in gate-crashing the Capital of Culture party, disseminating alternative view points to the hegemonic art and literature so profuse on the streets of the city throughout Liverpool08. This one-off, free publication explores some of the issues, themes and locations that do not feature in the official 2008 programme. The hidden, the neglected, the absurd, the contentious.
In 1984 Liverpool was host to the UK's first International Garden Festival, a pioneering and aspirational investment into leisure, internationalism, culture and tourism for the purpose of social and economic regeneration. Despite attracting more than 3 million visitors, the festival has had little sustained impact on the deprivation of its locality. The festival site, which was intended to endure as a functioning public space was sold to private developers and over the past twenty years has declined into dereliction, generating on-going debate about its future.
In 2008, as the hopes for the future of Liverpool, like many cities internationally, rest once again on culturally driven regeneration, the overgrown and forgotten Festival Gardens - privatised, derelict and fiercely guarded by 24 hour security - provide an alternative perspective from which to explore elements of the current discourse surrounding culture, capitalism and regeneration.
Distributed over the course of a day, this project spread, like a virus throughout the spaces and places of the city - cultural, commercial, suburban, industrial, derelict, regenerated, public and private. Featuring contributions from a range of perspectives (writers / artists / teachers / photographers / researchers / students / activists / mums / granddads) from Liverpool and beyond, this newspaper offers a temporary alternative to the city's cultural window-dressing. A pocket of discussion, imagination and resistance.
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This is a collaborative curatorial project by Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins, commissioned by Open Eye Projects and selected by Rebecca Lennon.
Open Eye Projects is a programme of exhibitions, projects and professional development activities involving emerging artists and taking place in experimental formats, contexts and locations around Liverpool.
Visit the Open Eye Gallery website