Culture Diary w/c 05-06-2023

Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events – and loads of it’s free!

Tuesday – A Crack in the Mountain + Q&A 8pm @ FACT Liverpool – £12.20/£11.20

That an uncharted wilderness could still be stumbled across in the late 20th Century was practically unthinkable. But that’s exactly what happened in 1990 with the discovery of Hang Sơn Đoòng (which translates as “mountain river cave”), located in Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park. Remaining unexplored until 2009, the site, frequently described as a lost world with its own lake, jungle and unique weather system, is now predictably subject to the conflicting and not always responsible forces of so-called civilisation. The film’s director Alastair Evans is on hand for a live Q&A to outline and untangle the practical, ecological and ethical dilemmas at the heart of so intriguing a discovery.

Wednesday – LuYang Reading Group 10.30am @ Online – FREE

Visitors to FACT Liverpool are currently being greeted by something that looks very much like a videogame arcade. In fact, that is exactly what LuYang Arcade is, only with hidden depths. To glimpse beneath its shiny façade, join Dr Pao-chen Tang, author of Solitude in Pixels: Lu Yang’s Digital Figuration of Corporeality, for an online session exploring in more detail the many elements and different layers of the artist’s practice.

TomWood_Cammell Laird_1

Thursday – Photie Man: Meet the Curator 1pm @ Walker Art Gallery – £16

With Photie Man, the Walker has drawn on fifty years of photographer Tom Wood’s output for its latest show. As large and expansive an exhibition as it is, there will no doubt have been some tough choices when it came to what to include, what to leave out and how to organise it all so that it coheres and makes sense for audiences. Join Head of the Walker Art Gallery, Charlotte Keenan, to gain some rare insight into how such decisions are made.

Friday – Arab Strap 7.45pm @ Future Yard – £25

Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton celebrate a quarter of a century of 1998 album Philophobia. Far from receding into nostalgia, however, the duo also have new material in the form of an eighth album incoming, but here play their second record in full. Philophobia, they say, is when “everything started to come together, when we began to realise making music might have a future for us, and the Arab Strap sounds and themes began to take shape… we couldn’t just let its 25th birthday shuffle by unmarked.”

Saturday – Liverpool Biennial 2023, in venues across the city – FREE

Liverpool Biennial is upon us. As ever, this bumper festival of contemporary art has taken over venues across the city – from the usual suspects such as Tate Liverpool, FACT, Open Eye and the Bluecoat, to the less so, including the Tobacco Warehouse, dock areas and more. This time, its organising principle is uMoya, which translates from isiZulu as spirit, breath, air, climate and wind. Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa has said: “Wind often represents the fleeting and transient, the elusive and intangible… How can it gesture towards healing through implementing systems of care that would allow for a sacred return?” Good question. For no doubt wide-ranging answers, we’ll look with anticipation to the Biennial’s more than thirty artists (Charmaine Watkiss, below, among them) and collectives responding to the theme.

Charmaine Watkiss: The Wisdom Tree. Copyright Simon Warner 2022

Independents Biennial 2023 – FREE

A perennial quibble with Biennials wherever they may take place is that they rarely showcase or make proper use of talent on their doorstep. Hence Liverpool’s Independents Biennial exists to draw attention to and celebrate the creativity that already exists in and around the region. This time around, that includes (but is not restricted to) representation at the likes of The Royal Standard, who host artist Freddy Francké on opening weekend; artist-led initiative SHUFFLE hit Make Liverpool; The Red Archive documents the story of last year’s ill-fated Champions League Final; Gordon Cheung’s The Garden of Perfect Brightness continues at Southport’s Atkinson – and loads more besides. (With some events opening prior to this weekend be sure to check the IB23 website for more details.)

Saturday & Sunday – Wirral Open Studio Tour 10am-5pm, various venues – FREE

Including 83 artists across 51 studios over the length of the peninsula, this year sees the largest showcase yet from Wirral Open Studios. From printmakers and photographers to sculptors, woodworkers and painters, it’s always fascinating to see where – and gain insight into how – the magic happens.

Mike Pinnington

Images/media, from top: A Crack in the Mountain trailer; Tom Wood, Cammell Laird series; Arab Strap, Philophobia; Charmaine Watkiss, The Wisdom Tree © Simon Warner

Posted on 06/06/2023 by thedoublenegative