Many Types of Graces
The Royal Northern College of Music
21st October 2021 – 23rd October 2021
6-10pm, free, no booking required
Royal Northern College of Music’s street-facing windows offer a portal into the building beyond, and the new music developed, practised and performed here. For Corridor of Light, social arts practice May Wild Studio and RNCM’s international students present a captivating, site-specific installation in this space, to be viewed and interacted with from the Oxford Road Corridor.
Its title, Many Types of Graces, is a line from the Made in Manchester poem: these words particularly resonated with the students, whose stories are central to the creation of this innovative, participatory artwork. It explores and celebrates their sense of place, and their experiences of living and studying in Manchester and links with our second installation, a soundscape in Studio 8 written especially for this event by some of our composition students.
You can listen to this soundscape below as you walk down the Corridor or drop into Studio 8 itself and immerse yourself in enveloping surround sound. The piece is also available via a QR code displayed in our window.
The Stories Behind the Windows
Many Types of Graces: Outstretched arms letting in the Light
Georgia has Synesthesia meaning that she sees words as colours. The art in this window is her vision of the colour, movement and texture for the words Many Types of Graces and Corridor of Light.
‘I took a photo of myself by a window as I wanted to highlight an aspect that I think many people are going through and have gone through during lockdown in Manchester. It captures that moment when you first open your curtains in the morning. I live in a small flat and my living room is a tiny box that isn’t well lit. My figure and the walls of the flat around me are darker because of this and the light from outside serves as a bright contrast. I think many of us have experienced self-isolation during this pandemic and many people have lived in spaces that aren’t conducive to positive mental health. I have been in isolation for weeks at a time and I’ve longed to go outside again whilst living in a dark space. I think this is one of the more sombre experiences that connects us not only in Manchester but for everyone who is living through the pandemic.’
First Outdoor and First Indoor Gig after Lockdown
‘After a long lockdown with no live music, it feels surreal to be standing on a stage again. It’s a beautiful July afternoon (one of those rare sunny days in Manchester) and all my friends are there, awkwardly dancing from their tables. I have what feels like the best view in town, watching over everyone having fun, surrounded by all these massive buildings and a cloudless sky. There’s music, there’s friends, and there’s life in the city. It feels like Manchester again!
Cherry Blossom by Night
It was the first night out after a long time. It was also the night of Koningsdag, or ‘King’s Day’, a national holiday in the Netherlands, so I was celebrating with a Dutch friend here in Manchester. When walking back we were goofing around, dancing in the street and then we encountered this tree and we had to take a photo because it was just so gorgeous.
Yup, it has been a long day after practice. I was feeling overwhelmed, homesick and cold. I came from the all-year Summer Singapore where I could walk out of my house without having to worry about “independen-cy” issues. Feeling unadjusted is normal (just like the new Covid-19 normality) and being 11000 miles away from the family I love doesn’t help.
Enough of rants. As I dragged my feet up towards the washroom, I looked down and saw a subtle sartorial, improbable luminous, multi-coloured reflection on my shoes. My eyes started to well up and my vision was blurred, I felt like I could finally take a breath. This rainbow just reminded me that hope is all around, home is present and not far away. Maybe Manchester is not just gloomy; there are times when pedestrians have helped me to pick up my belongings whilst I was chasing after a bus, times when strangers just smiled at me and times when friends accompanied me on a walk to Aldi or Lidl in Piccadilly because they love me. These thoughts warmed the cockles of my heart and felt like a gentle call from God that I should maybe rest.
RNCM Student Artists Georgia Curwen, Sasja Haeck, Yong Ong, Maria Rocha
RNCM Composers Megan Steinberg, Tanguy Pocquet du Haut-Jusse, Devon Bonelli, Holly Chapman, Helena Walsh
Production Paul Botham, Richard Collins, Larry Goves, Rebecca May, Fiona Stuart, Michael Wild
All audience members at RNCM (including staff and students) over the age of 18 are required to wear a mask and present appropriate Covid Certification to gain access to the building for performances. Find out more here. Audiences will be able to access the sound inside Studio 8 via a QR code on one of RNCM’s Oxford Road-facing windows.