PRISM – Lionel Dobie Project, The SWAYS Bunker

Text by Marcus Barnett

 

Having defined and developed itself in and around Sheffield, PRISM has now expanded into Manchester, creeping across the Yorkshire border to host its first night this Friday at the SWAYS bunker. With an average attendance of between 300-400 people over 14 events, PRISM in Sheffield has displayed 179 artists, designers and musicians from 10 different countries.

PRISM arrives in Manchester in the final days of the Lionel Dobie Project’s year-long physical existence. The LDP, during its short time occupying a gap underneath the Oxford Rd – Deansgate train bridge, chalked up an admirable volume of curator residencies, film showings, club nights and events (not forgetting to mention their swanky tote bags dotted about Manchester). LDP’s intention was to re-evaluate and criticise traditional, clearly inert and un-engaging forms of curatorial practice in the current artistic scene, and the figures behind the LDP are now involved heavily with PRISM and are pivotal to Friday’s event.

The ethical and artistic affinity between the two camps also makes clear their collaboration. In Sheffield, PRISM spilled out over an assortment of spaces, usually uncharacteristic of an ‘exhibition’, organising gigs from avant-garde, electronic, noise and punk bands to complement the unknown and emerging artists exhibited. Co-organiser Darren Chouings notes, in an interview conducted in 2011, the high ratio of students to art professionals involved in these large events (a 40/60 split), sitting comfortably with a growing trend in Manchester, to encourage graduate and underrepresented artists in small spaces.

For something that might be fittingly called a test-run, the organisers have utilised a fairly unchartered space for art in the choice of venue – the SWAYS Bunker will host PRISM #15, a venue best known for irregular and intense gigs. Although, given the organisers’ evident thirst for change, revision and the New, this choice is characteristic. Works will be shown by Hannah Allan, Conall McAteer, Chloe Herbert, Rick Pushinsky, Juliet Davis, Amy Lawrence, Guy Broadhurst, Rebecca Amy Scofield, Daniel Fogarty, Emily Tilzey, Adam Renshaw, and MUTO. The musical aspect of PRISM will be accounted for by Manchester’s skronky post-punk frenetics MiSTOA POLTSA, the not-quite-aptly-named Female Band (fresh with a new tape out on Haus of PINS), and a Sacred Tapes offering of Yes Blythe and AHRKH & Dru$$.

PRISM takes place on 21 September 2013, between 9pm and 1am at The SWAYS Bunker, Manchester. Tickets cost £2 on the door.

Marcus Barnett is a writer based in Manchester. He is a co-organiser of SPRING, a series of conferences, debates and happenings  exploring the contemporary Left, and the state of emancipatory politics in general.