Green Room Theatre, Whitworth Street
Metroscape,, Blast Theory, Redundant Technology Initiative, Fascinations from the Crowd

Hilary Holt: Metroscape

The Metroscape banners were developed by Hilary Holt. They contain digitally manipulated photographic images printed as Scanachrome banners. They derive their imagery from various parts of Manchester, including the 46/47 bus route, the Northern Quarter, Ruhsolme, Deansgate and Oxford Road. Standing back from them, the familiar images seem to merge into a decorative pattern - it's only when you stand close to them that you begin to recognise the local environment. The effect is like a screenprint, but produced digitally., by Municipal Constructions, uses three tv monitors playing three videotapes simultaneously. I couldn't capture it properly using a still photograph, so I'll describe what I saw: Close ups of various parts of the body are subjected to pixellisation, distortion and other effects using video editing software. An ear, fingers, a nipple and what I eventually recognise as a scrunched up eye are "D.P.I'ed" continuously.

The more you watch the more you imagine your own body being given the "DPI" treatment - the predominant colours of flesh and blood recall a medical photograph of a human body - your body. The programme says "DPIme takes a quizzical look at the historical attempt to explain human behaviour through the reduction of the human body to physics, chemistry and now, technology". I don't see what human behaviour has got to do with it, but as a creative encounter between human flesh, the cathode ray tube and video editing software, it's interesting.

"Have you ever wanted to be on your own for a while?" asks the intro. Well you can - by being kidnapped. What can we call it?: I'm not sure what to call this: Event, work of art, exploration, happening?... Find out more at www.newmediacentre/kidnap or call 0800 174 336. I once shared a university residence with the son of Tiede Herrema, the Dutch industrialist kidnapped and held in Monasterevin, Ireland in 1975. I wonder if he'd like to take part...

The Redundant Technology Initiative addresses the problem of what to do with those old computers that are littering our offices and homes. The answer: turn them into works of art. In the outside window of the Green Room, RTI created "Lowtech", a number of monitors and computers set up to display a changing pattern of letters in various colours. The effect is nice, and gives that ageing 386 an extra lease of life. But in India, people are still using computers like this to learn programming and take on lucrative US and UK contracts - British Airways for instance. So one person's art form is another one's bread and butter, it seems. But if you can't donate your computer to an aspiring software student in Bombay, then donate it to RTI. Visit their website at

Fascinations from the Crowd part 1 was set up in the workspace and featured projected images on a screen and on two TV monitors, each with a piece of muslin draped in front of it from the ceiling. "In a rollercoaster ride through the landsape and people who inhabit the city, random noise and image pervade the senses" - well, that's what it says in the programme, but all I saw were drug users talking about their lives, and... taking drugs. The significance of the muslin drapes escaped me - Comments in the guestbook echoed my feelings. But according to Lyn Gardner of The Guardian, quoted in the programme, this was "Highly theatrical, exhilarating and utterly wondrous...". Am I missing something...?

I left and returned later for The Body Immersion...

Design, words & pictures by Aidan O'Rourke