FutureEverything unveils what young people think about the future of Manchester in multimedia art installation by creative technologist Ling Tan

SUPERGESTURES
what SUPERGESTURES will empower you to take action in your city?

March 2018, Manchester: FutureEverything to unveil a new multimedia art installation about the future of Manchester, by creative technologist Ling Tan for CityVerve, titled SUPERGESTURES. The SUPERGESTURES installation will be exhibited from 23-29 March in Manchester’s Bright Building.

From Malcolm X’s black power salute, a symbol of solidarity and support, to Winston Churchill’s V for victory, Ling harnesses the collective power of the gesture and translates it to Manchester. The exhibition will reveal personal stories recorded by young people across Manchester and collective SUPERGESTURES that embody their personal relationships to the city. 

Rubbish puts me in a bad mood – I want to see a more sensitive Manchester… support me by stretching your arms and fingers out as far as they can go and take it all in…

I am concerned about housing and insecure about the private rental economy… we need more power, support me by raising your fist to your heart and reaching out…

I feel unsafe and claustrophobic on public transport in busy periods… I envision a future with more options for transport… support me by horizontally opening your arms out wide…

I am concerned about emotional wellbeing and cheering miserable people up on a rainy day… support me by stretching your arms out wide, fingers open, embracing the city…

I am concerned about freedom.  How Manchester identifies itself lies in the people that work, live and interactive with it every day… support me by putting your right fist to your heart and extending the right arm out in front of you…

I concerned about homelessness on Market St. I feel shocked when I see the amount of homeless people in Manchester city centre compared to other cities. I envision a future where more is done to help the homeless around the city by the government. Support me by crossing your right and them your left arm across your chest and give yourself an embrace…

​SUPERGESTURES has been commissioned by CityVerve in partnership with FutureEverything as part of its FAULT LINES talent development and commissioning programme and responds to the development of smart cities and Internet of Things (IoT).  

Ling, one of seven artists selected as part of FAULT LINES, has been collaborating with young people across Manchester in a series of workshops that culminated in a large-scale outdoor multimedia performance through which people expressed their relationship to the city and their visions for the future with body gestures performed using wearable technology. 

During the workshops 50 young people from across Manchester gathered to co-create SUPERGESTURES – collective actions, postures and gestures performed with a wearable power suit laced with technology, including body gesture sensors, vibration actuators, LEDs and audio feedback.

Coordinated through social media as well as local community groups such as The Proud Trust (the only LGBT purpose-built centre in Europe), The Hideaway, (the oldest youth group in Manchester), and students from Manchester School of Architecture, the young people recorded and shared stories of freedom, pride, technology and ownership while laying out their visions for Manchester’s future.

Later, in a dramatic public spectacle, another group of 30 members of the public donned the SUPERGESTURES power suit, lit up with animated LEDs and triggered by a high tech sensor system, to listen to, ‘embody’ and perform all the co-created stories, visions, and gestures at key locations around Manchester. The hour-long semi-choreographed interactive walking performance was designed to lead people across several different neighbourhoods and immerse them in a future envisaged by the young people of the city, who will be most affected by current policy and technology decisions, some being driven by the CityVerve project. 

Ling Tan says; “I am really grateful for the enthusiasm and creativity that the 50 young people brought to this project. We had an incredibly diverse group of participants and it’s essential that they get the chance to explore and express their relationship with technology and policy making in the city, especially given that they are the future generation and will be impacted the most.” 

Drew Hemment, Founder and Creative Director of FutureEverything says: “SUPERGESTURES is a new way for a city to speak to its citizens. It gives young people a voice and metamorphoses that voice into a thrilling visual spectacle. The result is a totally unique participatory survey and demonstration of young residents’ hopes and fears for their city.

SUPERGESTURES is a deep dive into burning issues for the Internet of Things and Smart City. It uses wearable IoT technology developed by the artist herself using open hardware. Fundamental themes were brought to light including freedom, homelessness, safety, public transport, and caring for one another.

SUPERGESTURES puts CityVerve in a class of its own among big tech projects, and shows how the ‘CityVerve way’ is to put people at the centre. Here young people in Manchester are more than “users” of technologies the companies want to sell. They are the true stakeholders, the life blood of the city.

As the lead for the Culture and Public Realm theme for CityVerve, we are delighted and proud to have worked with Ling Tan on this groundbreaking new participatory IoT artwork for CityVerve. SUPERGESTURES represents exactly the type of artwork FutureEverything is aspiring to achieve, empowering communities to bring positive change through art and open technology.”

All the interaction during the performance was recorded to be exhibited at Future Sessions, the culmination of Every Thing is Connected, a three-day ‘conference-as-lab’ exploring the findings from local and international Smart City projects.

Led by Manchester City Council, CityVerve is a consortium of 20 organisations from the public, corporate, SME and academic sectors, who have united to transform the city and create endless possibilities for the people that live and work there, a smart, innovative, inspiring Manchester. The CityVerve partners include FutureEverything, Manchester Science Partnerships, the University of Manchester, Cisco and BT.

The final goal of the FAULT LINES programme is to develop new forms of sustainability for the creative practice of digital artists working today, encouraging cross sector collaboration and providing resources for art from beyond the arts. It is supported with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The SUPERGESTURES exhibition will premiere at the Future Sessions launch party on Wednesday 21 March 2018 and be on show to the public from Friday 23 March to Thursday 29 March at the Bright Building, Manchester. 

FAULT LINES
SUPERGESTURES

21-22 March at Future Sessions
23-29 March at Bright Building, Manchester
www.supergestures.com

Press contact
Rebecca Ladbury
rebecca@ladburypr.com