Soap:n 1. a substance used for washing things. 2. an international project, commissioned by the MMU happening right under your nose, even as we speak.
Text: Paula Ria
Images: Scott Kershaw
Soap is the name given to a project currently running, aimed at "bringing together the past and present and also building platforms for the future," explains Tracey, the projects general coordinator.
It kicked off with the production of a C.D. rom for Isea 98, giving information about each of the departments within the faculty of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. Since then the project has expanded rapidly with the commissioning of two books, a T.V. series and various bar and club nights around the city of Manchester.
The books will take a look at the popular culture of different eras, starting from 1838 when the school began and its development through to the present day as part of Manchester metropolitan University. With references to past and present local celebrities with MMU connections, such as Julie Walters, Steve Coogan and Mick Hucknall, as well as International links extending to the likes of Ossie Clarke the fashion designer, Soap is awash with famous names. Other local names involved in the project include Arc Clothing and Fat City Records.
Running independently, but linked by the fact that it will be documented within Soap, is an exhibition by The Reaction Collective: a group of young contemporary Manchester based artists who use Alaska bar as a platform to exhibit and promote art work . The Reaction Collective have now had two exhibitions at Alaska entitled 'Reaction' and 'Vulture Culture' and the third will be called 'Soap'. The exhibition will be a collaboration between the above three and will be a monthly event bringing artists from around Manchester together, the shows range from flyer design, architecture, painting, printing, photography, digital imagery, projections, video work and a fruit machine. The exhibitions will last for one year and will be archived by Soap in the C.D. rom, and in the before mentioned book. Fat City will also be supplying the music at the opening night on Friday 22nd January as part of their weekly residence at Alaska bar.
The Reaction collective is coordinated by Colin O'Toole (interactive arts) and Brendan Williams (sculpture) who can both be contacted through Pulp.
Since the start, this project has snowballed into a massive celebration of Manchester life, with input from anyone, anywhere, who has any connection with the Metropolitan. Forget Eastenders and Corrie, this is one soap opera you just can't afford to miss!
To get involved with any part of the Soap project, or just find out more contact Tracey Sanders-Wood at the Fine Art Office, Grosvenor Building