Artworks You Can Activate at Biennial 2016

Posted on 11 October 2016 by Liverpool Biennial

Lu Pingyuan, The Artist Made of Paper, 2016. Installation view at Cains Brewery. Photo: Mark McNulty

Lu Pingyuan, The Artist Made of Paper, 2016. Installation view at Cains Brewery. Photo: Mark McNulty

Many of the artworks at Liverpool Biennial 2016 invite a ‘hands on’ approach, encouraging or, in some cases, even depending on our visitors to interact with or activate the works on display. Here we guide you through some of the pieces that need your involvement to bring them to life.

1. Step back in time

Take a break from shopping and discover Mariana Castillo Deball’s large-scale public artwork in the heart of Liverpool ONE titled To-day 9th of July 2016. The sculpture takes the form of an infinite staircase built for a character who can jump across the same date in different years throughout history. This date coincides with the day on which Liverpool Biennial 2016 opened to the public, but also references other 9th Julys, both past and future. Stowed within a small inset within the staircase, you will find an accompanying newspaper which can be read whilst sitting on the staircase steps, requiring the help of your imagination to bring the work to life. 

2. Make friends with Shiba Emissary

When entering Cains Brewery, pick up a tablet at the front desk and follow a small virtual dog, Shiba Emissary, through the exhibition. With promise of reward, you’ll assume the role of Shiba’s pet. The work, Emissary Forks For You, is a mixed reality simulation designed by artist Ian Cheng, which explores the relationship between humans and technology. His digital simulations can also be found on the shelves of Hondo Chinese Supermarket.

Ian Cheng, Emissary Forks For You, 2016. Cains Brewery. Photo: Mark McNulty

3. Drop a penny in a huge granite boulder

Pay a visit to the Welsh Streets in Liverpool 8 and listen to the echoing sound made by dropping a penny or two into Lara Favaretto’s 24-tonne granite stone sculpture. The piece, titled Momentary Monument – The Stone, is hollow inside and passers-by can drop money into it through a slot. It is part of the artist’s Momentary Monuments series, which testifies to the temporary nature of all monuments, and the impossibility of memorialisation. At the end of the Biennial, the boulder will be destroyed. The funds collected will be donated to a local charity, Asylum Link Merseyside, an organisation dedicated to assisting asylum seekers and refugees, and raising public awareness around refugee issues.

Lara Favaretto, Momentary Monument – The Stone, 2016. Rhiwlas Street. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

4. Create an origami masterpiece

Make sure you avoid a papercut when tackling Lu Pingyuan’s The Artist Made of Paper at Cains Brewery. This foldable piece of A4 paper comes with instructions on how to change it into a small figure, using the art of origami. 

5. Work together to ‘Lift Me’

Inspired by her concept of the ‘perfect collaboration’, Audrey Cottin’s sculpture at Cains Brewery requires a number of people to resurrect it on each occasion. Bring friends or make friends in the gallery space and work together to lift the towering poles of her interconnected cube-like structure into the correct positions. Afterwards, stop by her Flour Tables nearby and help uncover the city's unconscious using sand to tell stories.

6. Explore art online and create virtual sculptures

You can even interact with artworks from the comfort of your own home. Enter the world of Minecraft and join forces with people round the world to help build the the largest ever virtual sculpture: a ‘portrait’ of Liverpool Biennial, in which users render their own version of the exhibition, taking inspiration from the artworks on show. Freely access Oliver Laric’s 3-D scans of sculptures from Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, the 3D prints of which are scattered throughout the festival. Or tap into Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Hummingbird Clock, designed as a tool for investigations into civil and human rights violations.

Oliver Laric, Puck, 2016. Courtesy the artist

Download Dennis McNulty’s free smartphone app, BLESH, to generate low resolution animations and take part in an experiment into human interconnectedness and telepathy. Finally, download an audio work by artist and hypnosis enthusiast Marcos Lutyens incorporating myths, rumours and portals and listen to it at home, whilst walking around the city, or sitting near the Chinatown arch.

7. Take the dazzle ferry across the Mersey

Take a break from the exhibitions and take a ride on Everybody Razzle Dazzle. The moving artwork designed by British Pop artist Sir Peter Blake is part of WWI commemorations. The vessel is covered in dazzle camouflage, which, unlike other forms of camouflage, works not by concealing the object but by baffling the eye, making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and direction.

Sir Peter Blake, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015. Photo: Mark McNulty

Or, if you prefer a faster ride, hop onto one of the three double-decker Arriva buses that have been transformed by artists and children for this year’s festival. From #SpaceBus, which carries messages for the future citizens of Liverpool, to #BrickBus which blends in perfectly with Liverpool’s red brick buildings, and #BlazeBus inspired by the 1990s TV programme Gladiators.

Frances Disley, Blaze, 2016; Hato with Childwall Academy, Hello Future Me, 2016; Ana Jotta, Mrs. Muir, 2016. Photo: Niall Lea

Liverpool Biennial 2016 runs until 16 October and is free to visit. 

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