The people behind Liverpool-based design consultancy and creative collective Mercy are a bunch relentlessly in pursuit of connecting the gamut of  digital art, installations, experimental poetry, avant-garde music and performance art.

Which is certainly no mean feat. However, Mercy’s Overlap series of events starting this week suggest they may have cracked it, having created a hugely original programme of arts, installation, music and performance events across Liverpool.


‘Mercy has been working with the shared territory of music, writing and performance for ages, but this is the first time we’ve made it into a theme for the programme’, says Mercy creative director and founder, Nathan Jones.

live writing
live writing

One of the programme’s first events will be a collaboration with Abandon Normal Devices Festival for ‘live writing’ at the Spectres of Spectacle event, which opens this Thursday. The performance uses Isadora software to allow writers to make visual responses to performances. The writer describes the feelings the performance evokes in them; and these are then rendered visual, projected and overlaid onto the performance space. The text itself then becomes a performance too – it pulses and moves, animated in time with the music.

live writing
live writing

The centrepiece of Spectres of Spectacle is a performance installation created by  music-events producer Samizdat and dubstep musician Forest Swords, in which music will be played out on ‘self-destructive’ vinyl. No – not bargain basement Britney seven-inches – but vinyl made of x-rays. 

Jones explains, ‘We commissioned Forest Swords to make three unique tracks based on areas of Liverpool that no longer exist, based on oral histories. These were cut onto x-rays, which dates back to Cold War times when you couldn’t get the plastic to press vinyl. They won’t take much more than one play.’

X Ray

The idea of cutting onto x-ray comes has been brought back by Never Records, a nomadic installation currently residing in London Bridge, created by Ted Riederer.

Where the x-rays look to the past, artist and coder Scott Spencer’s  A follows R technology -based  artwork opening in late October is firmly fixated on the future.  Spencer will be painting large-scale Anamorphic QR codes onto pavements and structures around the city, allowing people to access 3D text artworks on their phones. These will reveal a collage that mixes personal and social histories associated with the areas, putting them in the context of the present.

Irish Centre
Irish Centre

Spencer says, ‘The texts they reveal will exist as 3D objects within the space – by mixing up descriptions of locations and giving this interactivity with the words themselves, we’re getting people involved in exploring how definitions aren’t fixed.

‘Hopefully new links are created between the various sites and new ’poetic’ truths are uncovered.’


Overlap is at various Liverpool locations from 29 September – 11 November. For more information visit www.mercyonline.co.uk

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