‘Brandalism – The Art of Self Defence’ – ‘Home’ Launch – Street Art & the Homeless in the city

Brandalism is part of a growing network of youth and street artists within So We Stand fighting against oppression in the UK.  To get involved contact sowestand@gmail.com. So We Stand proudly support Upper Space – a collective of artists, activists and thinkers that utilise street art as a form of social agency. As more and more public space is made private, sanctioned behaviour and visual language are increasingly only those which are compatible with consumerist activity; commodity is not the measure of worth. Upper Space aims to explore meanings, values and potentialities of space at a time when its democracy is highly contested. We love to disobey and disobey to love.

Upper Space presents ‘Home’ – Street Art & the Homeless in the city

FRIDAY 26TH OF AUGUST 2011

CITY-WIDE STREET ART EXHIBITION // LAUNCH PARTY

OPENING: 8pm – 4am

Islington Mill, Salford, M3 5HW

Contact Tel: 07400 699 060 Barney.francis@gmail.com

Upper Space – Manchester’s first street art and graffiti gallery, will be relaunching this August with a new exciting project, exhibition and website. Upper Space is pleased to announce ‘Home’ – a unique street art project that sees street artists from across the UK working alongside young homeless people in the city on a series of urban interventions, installations and art works that creatively push against the boundaries of appropriate acts of citizenship. As the government brings in sweeping cuts to social spending and huge changes to the Housing Benefit system, ‘Home’ will creatively raise awareness to the situation faced by frontline homeless organisations and the people they support in the city of Manchester by installing a series of ‘urban interventions’ across the city centre on the run up to the exhibition launch.

Banksy has described Upper Space and their current project as ‘ the intelligent version of what i do sometimes’ and local artist Terrorwrist has called the show ‘ the best thing to hit Manchester since Des Noonan’. Barney Francis Upper Space spokesman says ‘ the cuts that are affecting us all need to be challenged – firstly in our homes and then in our streets’. He also states that ‘Upper Space is committed to highlighting what the government and local council’s preferred you to forget about’.

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Introduction:

The Upper Space gallery was Manchester’s first designated street art and graffiti gallery space situated in the heart of the Northern Quarter. After a lengthy battle with the owners of the warehouse, Upper Space was forced to close it’s doors to the public.

Upper Space is now stepping outside into the streets, back into the home of street art to meet people face to face in the streets. Expect projects, exhibitions and experiments across the City of Manchester as we work with underground street artists from across the UK to shed some light on some of the most important issues facing society today.

Upper Space is now a non-profit street art organisation.

‘Home’ – Street Art & Homeless in the City:

In our city our living space is defined by legal norms and regulations. The same way that the walls of the city demark our choices of free movement. Only by attempting to cross these boundaries do we learn how really limiting the space we live in really is – that we are not as free as it may initially seem. Upper Space is bringing you the city’s first outdoor street art exhibition – ‘Home’, as we return to the streets and creatively engage with one of the most important issues in the city.

As the government brings in huge cuts to Supporting People funding and changes the way that they look after those in need by altering the Housing Benefit System and Localism Bill, ‘Home’ will creatively engage these changes and the effects they will have both in the streets of Manchester and across the UK.

In a city which is the fourth most deprived local authority in England and Wales, Manchester City Council is reducing its Supporting People funding by a reduction of £8.6m over two years. This is over a 20% reduction in funding that supports the most vulnerable in the city. Homelessness charities across the city all agree that the number homeless people and rough sleepers will increase as a direct result. Parallel to this, social housing services like Newbury House – a centre that helps homeless people beat alcoholism in Fallowfield, are at risk of closure – despite a £1million refurbishment less than 12 months ago.

In light of these drastic and damaging reductions in support, Home will see street artists from across the UK and Europe working alongside young homeless people  in a visual arts project that combines street art, urban interventions and a city-wide street art exhibition that creatively sheds light on this issue that the public knows little about.

Working alongside a young persons hostel, artists have been collaborating with young homeless people in creating artworks that critically engage with the issues facing frontline homeless organisations and the people they support. Keep your eyes on the streets…

Upper Space will be installing a series of urban interventions across the city centre in the week running up to the exhibition launch.

Upper Space – The Future of Street Art:

Street art continues to increase in popularity and continues to reach new levels of artistic creativity and public interest. Evolving from graffiti and street art, urban interventions are the next generation of artwork to hit public space. Using any and all of the components that make up urban and rural landscapes, these mostly spatial interventions bring art to the masses. They turn the street into a studio, laboratory, club, and gallery. The work is an intelligent and critical commentary on the planning, use, and commercialization of public space. Upper Space is pioneering urban interventions as  a new way in which we communicate important social and environmental justice issues with the public.

ARTISTS EXHIBITING:

EPOS257 

EPOS257 hails from Prague and is one of Europe’s most exciting new breed of street artists. His site specific installations have brought him worldwide attention and he will be joining the Upper Space team as he visits the city for the first time…

Shift//Delete:

Shift//Delete are some of Manchester’s finest underground mischief makers. Their unique blend of social, environmental and political works have started to attract attention from across the UK – their first published works will be available in ‘100 Days of Active Resistance’ by Vivienne Westwood that is due for release this Autumn.

Matt Sewell

Ashes57

Rich T

‘HOME’ PROJECT & WEBSITE LAUNCH PARTY:

Featuring music by:

FLAKO (Live) 

Chile born and now living in both Berlin and London is one of Europe`s top producers at the moment. Whoever you ask within this beat world will give you the same answer. His beats have been championed by Gaslampkiller, Hudson Mohawke and many more.

BLACKSMIF (DJ set)

Eclectic electronica producer – ‘Blacksmif’ is the moniker of London-based-and-bred Yemi Olagbaiye. The strength of Blacksmif, much as his name suggests, lies in his ability to carefully forge and meld a host of genres, melodies and instruments into one signature sonic formula. If he carries on coming up with this kind of atmospheric, spine-tingling produce, he’s bound to attract widespread attention soon.

DAYSE & AVER (Live)

Dayse & Aver are arguably Manchester’s best live hiphop performers. Dayse & Aver will be recreating tracks from their debut EP live.

Contacts: For images and interviews and further information on Upper Space Gallery, please contact Barney Francis on:

+44 (0)7400 699 060 barney.francis@gmail.com WWW.UPPER-SPACE.ORG

Listings Information

Upper Space presents ‘Home’ – Street Art and the Homeless. 

Launching: Friday 26th August 8pm – 4am

Location:

Islington Mill, Salford, M3 5HW

For further information: Upper Space

Facebook: Upper Space

Notes for Editors:

The Upper Space gallery was Manchester’s and the North West’s first designated contemporary street art and graffiti gallery. Situated in the heart of the Northern Quarter in Manchester City Centre, the 2000 sq.ft. exhibition space was located on the 2nd floor of an old textile warehouse and contained two exhibition spaces. Unfortunately due to increases in rent by the owners of the building, Upper Space was forced to close it’s doors to the public. To avoid this happening again, Upper Space is returning to the streets for a series of projects whilst a new home is permanently secured…

Self built and self funded by the people who brought you Sketch City (Arts 07 Overall Award Winners – ‘Outstanding achievement to arts in the North West’), Upper Space was their next logical step in gaining street art the recognition and development that the art form needs within the arts communities and the public domain. Having hosted some of the most popular independent exhibitions the city has ever seen, Upper Space is now returning back into the streets that created it for a series of projects, exhibitions and street art experiments across the city of Manchester. Upper Space is supported by Arts Council England.

Brandalism – The Art of Self Defence – What’s It All About?

So We Stand and Upper Space (upperspace.blogspot.com/ ) are coordinating their mischief making and building a big public campaign to build a network of socially-engaged artists to build ‘Brandalism – The Art of Self Defence’ – Street Art Activism for the masses (http://commonvandal.blogspot.com/). This will build strong public imagery for all the community- organising projects So We Stand are engaging with as well as aid in the creation of a UK network of brandals, culture jammers and creative dissidents.

“That which changes our way of seeing the streets is more important than that which changes our way of seeing a painting”

– Guy Debord, Inaugural meeting of the Situationist Internationale, Paris, 1968.

The commons are the elements of our cultural sphere, owned, shared and enjoyed by all. In law they should be managed by local communities for the benefit of local communities. The commons include public spaces that previous generations have fought hard to keep open and public. However in reality we have little control over the look, feel and content of our streets.

More and more public spaces are made private, rights of way are restricted and adverts & brands saturate our visual landscape keeping our expectations low and our minds distracted.

‘Art of Self Defence’ is street art activism that critically challenges the authority of private interests within the public realm – our commons. This project will see Upper Space and the public getting out into the streets and asking questions, challenging the order and imagining new possibilities for public spaces whilst creatively pointing the finger at those corporations causing environmental damage and climate change.

For the first time in history, more people reside within cities than in rural areas and consumption of resources has risen proportionately. On a planet of finite resources, constant economic growth and consumption is now a defunct ideology as the entire planetary ecosystem that provides life to all species is in danger of collapse. Still, our elected leaders fail to protect the very things that make all life possible. When those that are elected to represent the wishes of a nation’s citizens fail in their duty to do so, creative civil disobedience is an important and necessary tactic. The streets become the forum for people’s voices to be heard and the medium for these messages is art.

Street art is a raw form of self expression divorced from regulation, curation, and control. It is in many cases, a healthy voice in the public sphere. This is especially relevant in urban centres, in which sanctioned behaviour is increasingly only that which is compatible with consumerist activity, however commodity is not the measure of worth. ‘Art of Self Defence’ will see community artists collaborating with members of the public as we creatively resist and challenge the dominance of corporations within the public realm. By utilising new media technology, traditional arts practices and a hint of mischief, ‘Art of Self Defence’ will use creative ‘projections’ and installations at key sites of contestation across the UK, from the Houses of Parliament to the ancient woodlands under threat in the Peak District, from frontline communities fighting back against oil refineries in Scotland to the privatized advertising spaces saturating our visual landscape. We hope to not only reach wide audiences with publicity stunts and highly visible street art interventions, but to influence policy, provide voices to communities silenced under the weight of oppression and promote positive cultural behaviour change using street art as a social agent. Our core principle is to advocate the art of the possible to as many people as possible.

Upper Space is a collective of artists, activists and thinkers that utilise street art as a form of social agency. As more and more public space is made private, sanctioned behaviour and visual language are increasingly only those which are compatible with consumerist activity; commodity is not the measure of worth. Upper Space aims to explore meanings, values and potentialities of space at a time when its democracy is highly contested. We love to disobey and disobey to love.

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