The Common World

8 Aug 2013 – 26 Feb 2014

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Manchester, United Kingdom


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UHC, Textbook Studio, Catherine Chialton and Alan Dalby present Common World, an exhibition by nine Manchester-based artists exploring contemporary global crises, through art, satirical role-play and their own mint. Environment, Energy, Education, Food, Social, Economic, Political and Alternatives are eight of the core issues facing humanity in the modern age. In response to these issues, a team of artists and designers have assembled to interpret and represent these crises. In a playful, engaging, and interactive exhibition, The Common World artists have created a micro-society in which these crises play out, inviting visitors to become players in the future of humanity. Crops are failing, food prices are rising and there is unequal distribution of stuff to eat around the globe… We need to move away from the fossil fuels that are simultaneously running out, getting more expensive, and destroying the environment…The gap between the ‘haves' and the ‘have nots' is widening…Boom and bust still exists. Why do we need perpetual growth? Why not measure success in an alternative way...? Education is being commodified and geared towards propagating the status quo…We may have the same aims but we all argue about how to reach them. We don't know which crisis to deal with first, but when we do deal with them multiple groups compete about who has the correct solution… On Thu 8 August, The Northern Quarter's Common bar will be transformed into a microcosmic self-contained world complete with its own social hierarchies, ecological issues and economy built on specially minted currency. Each artist will personify one the of crises explored in the exhibition by becoming a Minister of the Common World, and visitors can exchange their ‘real' money for the Common Dollar, which can be used to buy as much merchandise, food and drink as the fluctuating exchange rates allow. In conjunction with Common World, Common's Stop Making Sense DJ's have invited the artists to guest DJ at a series of monthly themed nights, responding to each of the eight crises, throughout the exhibition. The concepts driving Common World will be further explored in a specially commissioned magazine, and a programme of events are to be announced to accompany the exhibition.

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