John Gerrard, Infinite Freedom
MIF happenings were not relegated to a single site, but rather dispersed throughout art galleries, city squares, and other cultural venues which played host to everything from a free sound piece by Lavinia Greenlaw at Manchester Picadilly Station to a cluster of performance works by artists including John Baldessari, Joan Jonas, and Tino Sehgal at the Manchester Art Gallery.
And then there was Bjork. The quirky provocateur had a residency of MIF during its duration, previewing her ambitious new multimedia project, Biophilia. Festival goers lucky enough to score a ticket to each of the sold-out shows were treated to a preview of the forthcoming album, her setup including instruments specially invented for the occasion and the backing of a 24-piece Icelandic girl's choir. Together, these elements synthesized into something dreamy and, yes, a little weird, but ultimately one of the most compelling live shows our resident culture vulture has ever borne witness to.
If our experience at MIF taught us anything, it's that Manchester is home to a booming arts scene that extends beyond its musical tourism, the fall clubbing season London hipsters flock to the city for, and being the site of Coronation Street filming. Stay tuned later this week for a few food and drink reviews from the rough and ready northern city.
[Photos 1 and 2: Heidi Atwal, Bjork Photo: Photo: Carsten Windhorst, MIF]