FEATURE: Middlesbrough Art Weekender | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Saud Baloch

Stockton’s grassroots arts space The Auxiliary (alongside art lecturer and curator Paul Stewart) are branching out into Middlesbrough this month, coordinating possibly the biggest ever pop-up exhibition in the Tees Valley. Middlesbrough Art Weekender, taking place at a variety of venues from Thursday 4th-Sunday 7th October, builds on a phenomenally successful first outing last year, bringing over 70 local, national and international artists and practitioners together under the theme of Connectivity.

Two huge warehouses on Station Street will be turned into exhibition spaces, and other venues including Platform A, Basecamp, MIMA, Constantine Gallery, Python Gallery, Tunnel Gallery and Middlesbrough Town Hall among others will see seminars, workshops, performances and exhibitions across the long weekend.

Of particular note are the festival co-commissions, which include the second iteration of Giles Bailey and Circa Projects’ Islanders, exploring island identity through collaged fragments and combining live performance and exhibition display (Main Space Warehouse, Thursday 4th); and the culmination of Tess Denman-Cleaver’s residency at Middlesbrough Town Hall, in which she creates a new performance, Town Hall Meeting Of The Air, drawing inspiration from the building’s past, present and future (Friday 5th).

Another performance of note is Doran Sodja’s Color Field Immersion (Saturday 6th, Basecamp), in which the performer/audience relationship is drastically flipped as the audience are masked with semi-transparent blindfolds onto which light projections are mapped, with rich soundscapes adding to the sensory overload.

witness the talents of some of the most exciting contemporary artists working in the UK, and beyond

Further highlights taking place across the weekend include Hannah Campion’s large-scale immersive installation Rainbow Room, in which the audience explore her painting as an integral part of it as well as a viewer (The Park Club); an installation of slide projections entitled Work Among Friends, created by WAX Collective, using both found material and work from their own archives (The Co-Op Warehouse); Winnipeg artist Andrea Roberts, whose work considers the impact of emerging technology and systems of belief on the self within capitalism (Main Space Warehouse); Maureen McAdams’ work (Main Space Warehouse) builds on her experiences growing up in South Africa, when it was legal to use hair as a tool to exploit and segregate people by race; also in the Main Space Warehouse, the MSHR collective mesh digital sculpture with analogue circuitry and ceremonial performance to create immersive light and soundscapes; while at Bazaar, artist and writer Tim Etchells develops his 2016 work More Noise, which explores the artist’s interest in the relation between pattern, order, disorder, sense and nonsense.

Add to this a special club night at Basecamp from Berlin-based DJ collective Skizze (Saturday 6th); the announcement of the Art Trail winner on Sunday night and further exhibitions from conceptual artist Martin Boyle; Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist Moran Sanderovich; Helen Davison, whose live performance and vocal work articulates the struggle of language to represent emotions of being a queer woman; sound artist Tim Shaw; AM Grave, the collaborative project of Rachel Lancaster and Basic House’s Steven Bishop, which modifies sine waves, noise and radioactive interference to produce drone, techno and ambient sounds; and electronic musician and sound designer Púca, among many others.

With most events free or pay what you decide, the weekender provides an ideal opportunity to witness the talents of some of the most exciting contemporary artists working in the UK, and beyond.

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