It’s the Liverpool Biennial year. Unfortunately due to the loss of my dad I haven’t had the time to dedicate an entire day to walking the full Biennial trail. I’ve caught bits and pieces over the past few months like the dancing inanimate objects at the random apartment in One Park West, which while technically a fringe event was really nice. I’ve seen the stairs in Liverpool One, the Hummingbird telescopes in Derby Square and a few other things. I’ve also been lucky enough to see behind the scenes on a few commissions. So while I haven’t had the best chance to take time out and soak it all up like I normally do I feel like I’ve not missed out this year.
At the weekend we managed to find a few hours to nip to the out of town bits, Granby, Toxteth and Cains. I’m really not qualified to discuss the artwork. I couldn’t tell you what the deep meaning was of the lasers inside the Toxteth Reservoir but it sure looked cool. Thats why I enjoy the Biennial. I’m looking for the everyday made different so I can best photograph it. My brain just isn’t built for abstract artistic thinking.
I did enjoy our walk between locations but I did feel a bit like a tourist, well I guess I was. The only times I’ve ever really wandered around the Welsh Streets, Granby, Toxteth etc have been while there’s an event on because I feel “safe”. I’m a guy with pretty annoying social anxiety issues so for me to be able to casually wander around Toxteth with a camera I need the safety of an event. While I would like to walk around and document the street life there sometime I have no authority to do so. I’m not Tricia Porter or Paul Trevor. I’m a guy who loves street photography and fears people. I’m just kinda broken that way. Toxteth isn’t Bold Street. On Bold St you can vanish but Toxteth I feel that you need to be visible and you need to be accepted in order to do good work. Paul Trevor was, very much so. He’s a lovely guy to talk to.
What I mean is that I felt like I was a bit of an art tourist dropping into someones house party as a guest. I didn’t know the people there so I felt awkward, a bit shy etc. When I came out of the Granby house installation a guy on the street asked me for spare change. I had to apologise because I’m a trendy modern guy that only uses Apple Pay. I felt really uneasy after that. I questioned my motives for being there, for poking around what was someone’s home under the guise of interesting art. The whole area is filled with decaying homes and it’s upsetting because you can see that the community is passionate about the area. Those decaying homes that have been boarded up are covered with drawings. Round the corner the Granby 4 Streets project is working with the talented Assemble to create new homes. This project won the Turner Prize and has interestingly enough been classed as art. It’s at this point when everything just becomes hard to wrap my head around. What is art? Is everything art? Was the homeless guy asking for money art? No, that’s stupid. What am I thinking here? I guess at the end of the day I’m thinking that on the one hand I may not fully get the intended meaning behind the specific artwork of the Biennial but the experience certainly made me think. Thats a good thing. Art should encourage discussion and thought. If it can be used as a force for social change then bloody well deploy that art.
*phew* Right. That got kinda deep so heres some pretty pictures.
Oh and if you go to the Oratory and have some spare time say the words “I like my friends” at the desk. You’ve got a couple of weeks left to do that. It’s interesting.