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AND Festival 2021 takes to the water on the Mersey


Abandon Normal Devices (AND) will return to Liverpool and its surroundings this summer with events based on and around the River Mersey.

The UK’s only roaming digital festival of new cinema, digital culture and art will discover the post-industrial landscape of the river along with the neighbouring Manchester Ship Canal.

This is the 9th edition of the festival which takes place in a new location each time.

This year that includes the historic Daniel Adamson steam tug, the Mersey Ferries and the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port as well as online.

Organisers are inviting what they call ‘radical artists, critical thinkers and curious audiences’ to renavigate the industrial landscape from physical and virtual perspectives.

The 2021 programme – opening on May 27 - will explore the global trade gateway of the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal and bring into focus the scale of networked industries and infrastructures that form part of our daily contemporary consumption.

Both local and online audiences will be able to trace the shipping routes, oil refineries, chemical industries, recycling plants and energy systems and discover their impact on our ways of living.

Artist Anita Fontaine’s augmented reality work The Blue Violet River – a “future-forward techno fantasy” - will be presented on a Mersey Ferry.

Blue Violet River


Meanwhile another waterborne piece is Kate Davies’ By the Sound of Things which will take place onboard ‘the Danny’ on the Manchester Ship Canal, where people will be invited to feel the vast echoes and epic scale of the modern shipping industry and consider the extent and impact of our insatiable consumerism on local and global environments.

And design practices public works and Assembly are working together to create WetLab, a space where creative minds including artists, architects, scientists, engineers and technologists can invite the public to explore the ecology of the waterways and together envisage potential future uses for the canal in their local area.

It will open at the National Waterways Museum before touring to sites across Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

There will also be an online strand of festival works.

Festival director Ruth McCullough says: “This edition of AND Festival emerges with a renewed vision and format for connection in our altered world.

“We’re excited to explore this extraordinary post-industrial landscape with artists and audiences locally and across the globe, making a space for radical reflection and urgent debate around our global ecosystems.”

AND runs from May 27 to July 11 at venues and online. More details on the website HERE