Might and Main is a project exploring the mechanisms and celebrating the outputs of the artist-led – researching the importance of place and space to artistic production from Manchester city centre artist led studio and project space The Penthouse. The Might and Main project aims to pose questions such as what does our city mean to the production of art and to artist led initiatives and in return what do we mean to our city? What does the current climate of Manchester regeneration and changes in cultural landscape mean – what space is there available for artists. The format was a 2 week residency, open studio and symposium.
Statement on Works: For Might and Main, i explored the architecture and the socio-spatial situation of artist-led The Penthouse as a microcosm to explore the wider trends in urban regeneration and the place of the artist in the city. I used sound and sculpture as both medium and material to respond to the physical building structures and the relations between cities, urbanism and space. The three sound sculptures were inspired by the shape and form of the modernist buildings of Richard Seifert; architect of The Penthouse, brutalist materials of construction and reference Manchester’s industrial past through sound and archive. The sculptures include found items such as the red handles in ‘Key Cutter’ which were found whilst on a sound walk on Store Street, Ancoats. Coming across a barricaded industrial are, with shining placards advertising a new 5* luxury development; these handles were part of the contents of a skip containing the remains of a family key cutting business. The security guard revealed that this was the last business to hold out before the developers moved in.
The sounds encompass contact mic recordings of the air vents and doors on the roof top of The Penthouse, pulses generated by digital IC Chips, field recordings of a New Islington construction site in Ancoats visible from The Penthouse windows; and a composed industrial soundscape including fragments of spinning jennys, mill hooters and arkwright carding machines from the Greater Manchester Sound Archive.