Manchester International Festival 2021

For Manchester International Festival's 2021 return, we helped bring the festival to life in the city. After taking its poster campaign to the streets to drum up (even more) excitement, we also worked with the team to install two of its biggest art projects – Lemn Sissay and Hans Ulrich Obrist's jointly curated Poet Slash Artist, and Christine Sun Kim's mega, city-wide exhibit, Captioning the City.

With events spanning music, food, contemporary art and everything in between, the street poster campaign's creatives spotlighted nights with Arlo Parks, Damon Albarn and Laurent Garnier alongside a collaboration with Lagos-based Homecoming, a queer gardening simulation by Robert Yang, and much, much more.
From California-born, Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim, Captioning the City physically and poetically interpreted Manchester, its past, its present and its future, showing how we can perceive and recognise the places we occupy, translating individual experiences into universal understandings.

Consisting of giant, monochrome captions, we installed the artworks onto some of the city’s biggest landmarks, including the National Football Museum, YES MCR and Manchester Arndale. Whether sought out or discovered just by chance, each one invited people to consider their own experiences of Manchester, provoking them to re-examine the city in a different light.

Inspired by how the city stirs us, how it’s shaped in memories, and the emotions it draws, we took the project’s powerful, playful and political messages to the streets in installation form. Drawing on her own life experiences and understanding of Deaf culture, Christine’s taglines encapsulated Manchester in a brand-new dimension.
Jointly curated by the Serpentine Galleries’ Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, and renowned poet and University of Manchester chancellor Lemn Sissay, Poet Slash Artist sought to examine the intersection of art and poetry, pulling together cultures, continents and languages across generations, all in the heart of Manchester.

Each piece of contributed work was specially commissioned from poets and visual artists, then situated throughout the city for people to pause and appreciate – all at a time when there are more words and images passing between us than ever before.

Once again filling the city with engaging artworks designed to draw passers-by into the festival’s cultural programme, we installed Poet Slash Artist everywhere from our sites, to gallery courtyards, to city streets.