Liverpool Biennial 2010: Feedback: The Good Stuff

Art Yesterday's list of qualifications aren't necessary here.

Quality of the work

The standard of work on display in 2010 has in the main been very high, across all facets of the festival, from the official to independents, some of which, especially in the public realm has been truly unforgettable. Do Ho Suh’s Bridging Home was probably, for me, the best of the festival (see above). The most engaging work has had the capacity to pull us momentarily from our own humdrum reality in that way that is only usually possible in the best fiction, transforming utterly how we look at the world. Time and again I gasped, I gaped, I was giddy. If you want to know what my other favourite work has been, I’d point you in the direction of my reviews; with one or two notable exception I’ve generally followed the policy of only talking about the work I’ve thought was worth talking about.


The festival’s iconography was another triumph. The wolf silhouette appeared on posters and street signs, outside venues and across the front of the Biennial catalogue and created buzz simply through their inexplicable existence. Search Google and there are dozens of people asking “Why wolves?” and cleverly an explanation was only forthcoming for those who looked for it, either by engaging with Biennial personal or looking carefully at the merchandising. They were designed by Carlos Amorales who was engaged by the story of Edward I who exterminated the original wolf population of the country in the fifteenth century. Amorales was inspired to give the lupines a revenge of sorts by having the animals spread across the city for the duration of the festival “to create a contemporary folk tale as an image campaign for the Liverpool Biennial and bring back an antique image into our contemporary world.”

52 Renshaw Street

There was perhaps no greater symbol of the ambition of this festival than the placing the Biennial’s visitor centre in as iconic a local landmark as the old Rapid Hardware store. A giant street long advert on the main bus route, it was impossible for the residents of Liverpool this year not to at least have some awareness of the festival even if it was to wonder why some half naked person was lying enigmatically in one of the windows. But more importantly it was literally a shop window for the festival, one of its largest venues containing some of its most confrontational work, festival curator Lorenzo Fusi ably demonstrating the various facets of the Touched theme. Plus there was the sheer novelty of stepping through the automatic doors only to encounter picnic tables and some garden sheds. If only all cafes (which is what this turned out to be) could be this original.

Social Networking

As I mentioned when writing about the Biennial’s representation at the last Social Media CafĂ©, unlike previous festivals there’s been a genuine sense of this being an event spread across three months rather than an initial burst of excitement with the Biennial then falling beneath the radar, only really approachable by those in the know, who care to seek it out. One of the reasons for that has been the social networking strategy, of advertising and getting news of the festival out across Twitter and Facebook and blogs and interacting with visitors, making them feel like participants as well as customers. Being invited to the press day was especially instrumental in leading me to offer this much coverage across the festival period rather than the simple top ten which has often constituted my contribution. More than any other year I’m genuinely sorry to see the festival coming to an end.

1 comment:

  1. I think we touched you! Thanks again for sharing, there's just a few days left now and if anyone reading this has not managed to see any of it or fancies seeing more they should make sure they do - by Sunday 28 November.