United Visual Artists meet Massive Attack for Beck’s Fusions

Multimedia event Beck’s Fusions will this year further develop its performance area as an interactive exhibition space and art installation.

‘The idea this year is to bring everything together, with the music and exhibition space in one central area. Whereas last year’s pod was a separate exhibition space that you had to go into to engage with the artworks, this year they are keen to bring everything out into the open, where audiences can see all of the artwork and musicians involved in one central space,’ says Leroy Harris, account director at Glasgow consultancy Material Marketing and Communications, one of the orchestrators of this year’s event.

The event, the brainchild of Beck’s and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, was hailed last year as a digital design and graphics triumph. It will retain the concept of fusion between visual arts and music, but will be led by the Contemporary Arts Society. The event will be held in Manchester, featuring a double headline from multimedia specialists United Visual Artists and Massive Attack.

The ICA has relinquished its partnership with Beck’s, according to Harris, because it felt the lager brand’s wish to take the event to various cities did not fit with its own vision.

‘This year it was felt from both sides that a more fitting partner to an event that wanted to reach other areas of the UK should be found, and the relationship with the Contemporary Art Society began,’ says Harris. As a result, organisers have settled on Manchester, a ‘cultural venue worth exploring more’, he adds.

London-based production company Seven7s will help to deliver the event, while designer Piers Merlino, whose clients includes Boeing and London 2012, has been engaged to design a stage that will double as an art installation. Merlino is exploring a design that will incorporate temporary bars made from old shipping containers into United Visual Artists’ light installations.

Full details of the content United Visual Artists will be producing for the event is yet to be revealed, but it is expected to build on the group’s previous collaborations with Massive Attack.

Arts organisation Young Creative Network is also helping to co-ordinate a public competition to increase participation in the digital arts programme.

‘Beck’s is looking for usergenerated content from various sources and is asking for the public to send in work, from Tshirts the bar staff wear to stage backdrops,’ says Harris.

A judging panel will include Contemporary Art Society’s Fabienne Nicholas and graphic designer Peter Saville, who will select ten of the best entries to be showcased at the final gig.

• Five pairs of free tickets are available to give away to the live Beck’s Fusions final event in Manchester on 6 September. To claim your tickets, e-mail nicola@outsideline.co.uk
• Announcements detailing the rest of the Beck’s Fusions line-up will be made over the coming weeks. For further information, see www.becks.co.uk

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