Empire Drive In and Festival

Empire Drive In and Festival

Key parts of a review by Dr. Alexandros Papadopoulos found on corridor.co.uk

Invited to participate in Abandon Normal Devices (AND), a multidisciplinary art festival, co-organized by Fact (Liverpool) and Cornerhouse (Manchester), the group used an empty parking space in central Manchester in order to playfully sabotage the festival’s main theme ‘Success’.

Casting a shadow over the future of contemporary commercial dreamscapes (malls, cinematic complexes), the ruined drive-in seemed to herald a fresh genre of cinematic fetishism. Set against the increasingly futuristic over-dominance of indoors digital entertainment, this style of movie-going reclaimed an open-air, synesthetic and ultra-material sense of past: it uncovered the hedonistic remnants of what used to be experienced as ‘future’ in the past.

While, originally staged in abandoned buildings in New York, when set in Manchester, the event’s disturbed sense of future-ness seemed to return to its symbolic country of origin: by being the first place in the world in which the industrial became an awe-inspiring attraction, Manchester is the mother of science fiction, the birthplace of the futurology and the urban epitome of dystopian entertainment.


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