MIF 2019: Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ)

An intergenerational and interspecies project conceived and curated by Theatre of Research (Hamburg) & Live Art Development Agency (London) for Manchester International Festival 2019 taking place across the final weekend of the Festival.

Check out the Animals of Manchester (Including HUMANZ) City Map and programme.

This summer we will invite everyone to turn into animals of Manchester alongside squirrels and dogs, cows and beetles and pigeons and many more. In the every day humans meet our co-species less and less, and I think we are actually missing them. So, with the guidance of our collaborating kids and my partners at MIF and the Live Art Development Agency we will turn Live Art into Life Art and create a zone of companionship in which humans and other animals can be together without food chains or zoo cages getting between us.

About

Imagine a city in which animals of all kinds, including humanz, live together in peace. What might life be like if dogs, cows, squirrels and other creatures lived alongside us not just as our pets but as our peers – our companions? Imagine what Manchester could look like then!

Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) was an interactive Live Art experience created by Sibylle Peters (Theatre of Research) and LADA for the Manchester International Festival 2019 which posed questions about the relationship between humanz and non-human animals.

Taking place over the Festival’s final weekend, audiences were invited to follow a trail through Whitworth Park and Gallery, and take part in all kinds of animal encounters. Across a series of installations and performances, children, families and adults alike explored our relationships with fellow species, became a citizen of this alternative city, and shared ideas on how to improve relationships between species.

Event information
wooden boards with text on on a tree Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
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This film documents Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz) and is commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival.

The Works

Mouse Palace (for mice and humanz)  

The Mouse Palace was a collaboration between the artist Joshua Sofaer, the mice Nibbles, George and Halloween and the designers of How About Studio. It is inspired by a Mouse Palace which was made almost 200 years ago in China. Children loved to watch the mice running about in their palace. Joshua’s giant Mouse Palace gave you the chance to watch humanz in just the same way.

Nuts House (picnicking in the Arndale Centre)

The artists of London Fieldworks often recreate human architecture to provide housing for animals. The Nuts House was Manchester’s Arndale Centre re-imagined as a picnic, dedicated to the squirrels and birds in Whitworth Park.  Did you know, that birds often don’t find enough to eat these days, even in the summer, because there are fewer and fewer insects around?

Town Hall (Standing Conference of Animals)

The mayors of our alternative city were cows who live at Wythenshaw Park Community Farm. In the Town Hall they hosted the Standing Conference of Animals where alliances of animals from microbes to pigeons to humanz from our partnering schools, made their case for equality and companionship. What could an assembly of animals (including humanz) look like?

Over the weekend the findings and suggestions discovered through the Standing Conference were collected by scribe David Caines and turned into the Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) Report, a document considering how relationships can be improved between species in Manchester.

With artists Ansuman Biswas, Sibylle Peters & Christopher Weymann (Theatre of Research), Andy Field & Beckie Darlington, Esther Pilkington & Daniel Ladnar (random people), Marcus Coates & Adam O’Riordan, kids from the Greater Manchester Home Educators and students of Holy Trinity Primary School.

View the Town Hall Schedule

Memorials for extinct species 

The artist Marcus Coates often creates works about species which are extinct because of the impact of humanz. Together with kids from the Greater Manchester Home Educators and poet Adam O’Riordan they built memorial structures inscribed with their poems to commemorate the loss of species. Audiences were welcomed to join in and write your own epitaph for a species you will never share the Earth with.

The Hedgehog Hospital & Hedgehog Manifesto 

The Withington Hedgehog Care Trust was established by Barbara Roberts in 2001. Together with Wendy Gibson and her family she opened a hospital for hundreds of orphaned hedgehogs in her Withington home. They know more about hedgehogs than anyone else.

Barbara and her team worked with the artist Rebecca Chesney to publish The Hedgehog Manifesto, a call to arms to protect the hedgehogs of Manchester.

 

Interspecies Family Portrait Studio

Making kin: some families already live together as Animals of Manchester (including humanz). The Interspecies Family Portrait Studio run by artist Benji Reid documented the beauty of families with different kinds of members – welcoming all species, all genders, all ages.

Human School (be your dog!)

Inspired by her own dog, the artist Angela Bartram turns the concept of the dog school around. Here, she asked the dogs to be the teachers, showing us how to become a part of the pack, connect across companion species and to be more ‘dog.’ On the first day of Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ)  students of the Human School brought their own dogs to explore their relationship on a connected and empathetic level. On the second day, Angela invited dogs from Dogs4Rescue for human students to experience companionship with and to get to know.

The BeetleFilmTheatre

For the BeetleFilmTheatre the insects of Whithworth Park made a film in collaboration with Tim Spooner, an artist who specialises in the beauty of the tiny, and Dmitri Logunov, the beetles expert from Manchester Museum.

Pet Workshop (for Human Students)

Krõõt Juurak and Alex Bailey often perform for pets. They figure that pets have to perform for their humanz a lot, so why not perform for them for a change? For Pet Workshop (for Human Students) they invited pets to share their special skills in a workshop format. What can humanz learn from pets? What kind of teachers can pets be?

Aquarium: The Way of the Shark (for small Humanz who want to be bitten by sharks)

If humanz were to wave their privilege and all species became equal, this raises a few questions about the vacant spot on top of the food chain: who is going to take their place when humanz resign? The artist Martin O’Brien loves sharks and wants to collaborate with them for Animals of Manchester (including humanz). But there are no sharks in Manchester, or are there?

A Pantheon of Performing Animals

Artists and other experts celebrate inspiring and unusual animals as artists.

Performing Animals Lectures

Talks by artists and other experts about their favourite animals as artists.
Hosted by Karin Harasser and Ambassadors from Claremont Primary School.

  • Antony Hall (artist) on the Black Ghost Knife Fish
  • Laura Cull O Maoilearca (teacher) on the Beluga Whale
  • Jack Ashby (Zoologist) on the Cuttlefish
  • Kira O’Reilly (artist) on the Leaf Frog (in Manchester Museum Vivarium)
  • David Weber-Krebs and Maximillian Haas (artists) on the Donkey
  • Kerry Morrison (artist) on the Feral Honeybee

Performing Animals Lectures were dedicated to the memory of Katherine Araniello (1965 – 2019), artist and original Animals of Manchester collaborator, who created many performances with her beloved chihuahuas Pippa, Lucy and Dennis.

Animalship Registration

Are you an animal of Manchester too? Would you like to become a citizen of our alternative city? Claim your animalship here! Which co-species have you encountered? What can you tell us about your companion animals? Share your ideas for better interspecies relationships in Manchester!  Artists from Theatre of Research and Live Art Development Agency will help you be he(a)rd.

Bestiary Beauty Parlour

If you have claimed your animalship you are invited to signify your animal being and find your animalship token. Think of the animal you are and find something to let it shine. The costume artist Katharina Duve prepared a selection of styles.

Life Art Library

An opportuntiy to discover more about animals and Live Art in books for children and adult humanz exploring animals and art, and films by artists featuring animals performing as, or in, works of art:

Donna Conlon, Coexistence (2003)
A parade of leaf-cutter ants carry artificial leaves painted as flags of different nations and peace signs
5”

Joseph Beuys, I Like America and America Likes Me (1974)
The artist is locked in a gallery in New York City with a coyote for three days © DACS 2019
16”

David Weber Krebs, Balthazar (2011 -)
A donkey choreographs a group of dancers
12”

Farmer Derek Klingenberg, Serenading the cattle with my trombone (2014)
A farmer calls his cattle by playing his trombone to them
4”

Jack Tan, Four Legs Good (2018)
A revival of medieval animal trials featuring Snoopy the Jack Russell terrier in court for sheep worrying
23”

Art by Animals (2012)
Watch apes and elephants master human art
This film was created alongside the 2012 exhibition Art by Animals at the Grant Museum of Zoology,  UCL
4”

Albert Vidal, Urban Man (1983-4)
The artist co-habits with animals in cages in zoos around the world
1” and 2”

Kira O’Reilly, Falling Asleep With A Pig (2012)
The artist shares a living space with Deliah the pig for 72 hours
6”
Commissioned by Arts Catalyst. Supporters: Arts Council England and Darwin 200. Touring exhibition partners A Foundation, London and Cornerhouse (HOME), Manchester. Film Credit: Rob La Frenais (filming)

Laura Lima, Goat Cut Piece (2001)
The artist collaborates with a goat to re-enact performance artist Yoko Ono’s famous work from 1964, Cut Piece
3”

Brandon Ballengee, Love Motel for Insects (2005 -)
Public installations designed to construct interactions between humans and arthropods such as moths, beetles, caddisflies, ants and lacewings
9”

Yann Marussich, Portrait in an Anthill (2003)
The artist lies motionless for five hours in a glass container that he shares with a colony of ants
3”

Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
cow looking a mayor of manchester Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
person playing a large horn Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
person playing a large horn Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
artist martin o brien next to a poster with a shark Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
tv screen with person holding a shark Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
model of 'mouse palace' Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
person having their hair done by a woman with crazy pink hair Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
people waiting outside a wooden shed Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
people inside gallery Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
kids playing on a table Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
manchester whitworth gallery with animals of manchester sign Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
people looking at large 'mouse palace' Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
people filming Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
'dogsgate' sign Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
sign of and wooden 'mouse palace' Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
people sitting on hay bales Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.

Mission Statement

For ages human beings thought they were entirely different from all the other animals. Human philosophers were keen to find fundamental differences between humans and other animals. They said, for example, that only humans have free will, while animals are just governed by instinct. They said that only humans have language while animals don’t. And if humans call each other animals, or treat each other like animals, it’s usually not meant well.

Children always had their doubts about this, and lately there are more and more adults who question this order of things too. Not only do we know by now, that animals have language and free will, it also doesn’t seem smart to think about the many species of this planet in terms of humans being so much better than everything else. Instead it becomes clear, that we are in this together for better or for worse. We are not one species winning the food chain game over all the others. Instead we are companion species depending on one another.

However, the relationships between humans and other animals are organized in a certain, often hierarchical and unequal way, and to change them towards companionship isn’t that easy. Sometimes we don’t even know what it means.

With Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz) we will provide a space and use the methodologies of Live Art to find out more about it. In the process we will work with children and animals to create an experience of companionship for everyone.

small hedgehog Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
signs with person sitting in the background Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
audience watching talk Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.

Documentation

Extensive documentation of Animals of Manchester (Including HUMANZ) is available online and in LADA’s Study Room.

This film features: interviews from podcast by Katie Callin/Reduced Listening, Interspecies Portraits photographs by Benji Reid; hotographs by Chris Payne and Lee Baxter; video production by Jist Studios; additional footage by Joshua Sofaer and Christopher Weymann; title illustration by Rob Bailey; edit by TripleDotMakers

 

 

A Podcast for ALL animals

Led by the child ambassadors, this podcast explores how we can live better alongside other animals and asks – what can we learn from them? Featuring lead artist Sibylle Peters of Hamburg’s Theatre of Research and curator Lois Keidan from the Live Art Development Agency, plus contributions from artists Angela Bartram and Katharina Duve.

This podcast is for ALL animals.

Listen to the podcast

Live Art and Animals (2020)

This Study Room Guide on Live Art and animals is based on the artists’ films, books and contextualising materials LADA developed for Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) and documentation of that project.

This guide was compiled by LADA and designed by Saulius Leonavičius.

Read the Study Room Guide

A Conference about Animals of Manchester

This critical response was written by Maddy Costa and Mary Paterson and commissioned by LADA.

Read 'A Conference about Animals of Manchester'
artist kira o riley talking Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.
kids watching a film on a screen Animals of Manchester (Including Humanz), 2019. LADA, Theatre of Research for Manchester International Festival. Image by Chris Payne.

Banner image credit:

Photo by Chris Payne.

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