Art With Exchange Flags I've reached the mid-point of this project or adventure of visiting all the Biennial venues in numerical order. Well one over, but as we'll see it's a bit of a grey area anyway. I wasn't going to break into the flow of simply posting venue reviews, but there are a few explanatory things which don't really fit into the structure of those posts and I also wanted an excuse to publish this photo of the interior of Lewis's as it is now. I had wondered why the old department store hadn't been utilised as the Biennial's base venue, despite its perfect location. This view of the gutted interior explains everything.
It was taken with my lofi camera phone and that's one of the other rules which has organically developed along the way, that I'd use this lofi camera phone for the illustrative pictures. No reason really other than convenience. I always forget to bring my proper camera and it seems easier to have a reason not to be bothered. In taking these pictures I've also decided not to, as best I can, include images of the work itself. I like surprises and during the opening weekend had much fun (or not) avoiding rss feeds and Facebook streams filled with photographs of art I hadn't seen yet.
The other rule is, as best I can, to rely on the Biennial booklet as my primary source of information about the work and how to get there. Which explains why I turned up at the Open Eye Gallery when it was closed, somewhat how I got lost on the way to The Royal Standard and why the Everton Park trip was touch and go. I think that if you're a tourist visiting the Biennial but who don't know the city, and you don't have an app-enhanced smartphone, the booklet would be your primary source and if the information therein is ambiguous, that's an issue.
The booklet has created a couple of small problems for the project. Firstly, the "map numbers" don;'t correspond to the numbers on the inside pages. On the address list and map key, (17) is supposed to be the Museum of Liverpool, but inside it's designated to the World Museum and there's no text to accompany whatever is at the Museum of Liverpool. On the map, (18) is the World Museum, but inside it's the Walker and so on. It's a typo probably due to some late editing, but nevertheless. I've decided to stick to the numbers accompanying the map.
But I'm also in a quandry as to how many official venues there are, how many I need to visit. The address list offers (27), completing with the Liverpool John Moores University Art and Design Academy, whereas the key on the reverse page concludes with the Static Gallery (30). Plus the website lists a couple more without numbers, like Headspace @ Eggspace, and many of them are listed because they're hosting an event rather than an exhibition and when they are hosting an exhibition it's not necessarily part of the "official" Biennial, following the Unexpected Guest / hospitality theme.
Most of which shouldn't be seen as a criticism of the Biennial per se, they're simply the vagueries of deciding to attempt another one of these loony, self-defeating projects or adventures. I expect I'll haunt all the venues up to the (30) and see what's there, then have a look at whatever's left on the website if I've any time left before the close of business on the 25th November. I am enjoying myself and as in 2010, visiting places like Everton Park I wouldn't otherwise necessarily have a reason to see. The Museum of Liverpool's next. Whatever is there, I'm sure it'll be fascinating.