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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, September 06, 2002
    Fasten seatbelts - the Liverpool Biennial starts here
    Liverpool is bidding to be the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and whilst sometimes, walking its Big Mac box-strewn streets, that ambition seems laughable, at other times it seems quite fitting. Like now, days away from the launch of the Liverpool Biennial, a gigantic international festival of contemporary art which runs here until the end of November. I've just been on the website getting excited about it.

    The bid is fitting - it's not the first Biennial the city has hosted and there's little doubt about Liverpool's contribution to the art world over the years. One of the Biennial's features is the John Moores 22 exhibition of contemporary painting, promoted as "the UK's most prestigious painting competition, showcasing some of the finest British-based artists, [and] displayed in the newly refurbished galleries at the Walker - national gallery of the North." It's now in its 45th year.

    And one of the most-anticipated upcoming Liverpool arts events will be the opening of the new FACT venue, a centre for the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, part of the transformation of a previously derelict area of the city centre into the 'creative quarter', a building which holds cinemas and exhibition spaces for film, video and new media projects "alongside a set of resources, spaces, programmes and partnerships dedicated to the development of new and emerging forms of creativity".

    All of this is exciting for us here. Whether we win the 2008 bid or not, it's good to be in a creative place.

    Upcoming highlights I'm particularly looking forward to are Site-Sight, on Sunday 22 September, a Live Pool Pedal Powered Boat Flotilla which starts, intriguingly inland, at William Brown Street 'with fantastical vehicles'; Speaking Out of Turn, on Friday 20 September at which 'The Guerilla Girls' debate the question, "has the art of protest become saturated in popular culture?", and To the Glory of God; New Religious Art, 14 Sept - 12 Oct at 76 Seel Street, at which over 20 artists collaborate in the creation of a 30ft high architectural 'religious' model, with live performances. Sounds a bit Babylonian. Well, that's just three events out of scores .... can't wait.

    (A briefer version of this post appears on the Greenbelt website)