sampha, holly herndon, haxan cloak on manchester international festival line-up

Highlights include Mary Anne Hobbs’ Dark Matter curation, Underworld’s performance piece on homelessness in Manchester and a series of expert round tables on how women would save the world.

by Charlotte Gush
09 March 2017, 4:25pm

The line-up has been announced for the 2017 Manchester International Festival, a biennial festival of original and new work that in previous years premiered Björk's Biophilia, FKA Twigs' Soundtrack 7 project, and the Jamie xx-scored ballet Tree of Codes

Following his appearance at Parklife festival in June, Sampha will return to Manchester for a headline show at Albert Hall as part of his Process world tour. Other headline shows include Arcade Fire, Bonobo and Ride.

Mary Anne Hobbs' curation Dark Matter brings an eclectic string of gigs to the festival, with each bill featuring some home-grown Manchester talent. Holly Herndon and The Haxan Cloak are scheduled alongside Kojey Radical (his first ever appearance in Manchester), Seattle drone metallers Sunn O)), and Levelz, a local group of DJs, MCs and producers. The eight shows will take place across facing venues Gorilla and the Ritz, which Hobbs says will be blacked out and transformed into "new universes" by "one of the most radical lighting designers on earth," Stuart Bailes.

Elsewhere on the line-up, Underworld are creating a performance and installation titled Manchester Street Poem, working with people who have personal experience of homelessness in the city to highlight their stories. A series of events titled What if Women Ruled the World?, created by Israeli artist, filmmaker and photographer Yael Bartana, will bring together women scientists, politicians, activists and thinkers to solve various global emergencies.

Phil Collins -- not that one; the Turner prize nominated artist and MiF 2017 resident artist -- has created Ceremony, a project that focuses on Manchester's history of radical thought. Collins engineered the journey of a Soviet-era statue of Friedrich Engles (who wrote the Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx) being transported across Europe and installed permanently in Manchester city centre. The launch will feature a 'live film' with performances by Mica Levi, Gruff Rhys and local dark electronic duo Demdike Stare.

Read: After shunning the spotlight and working diligently to perfect his sound, Sampha has bared his soul by way of Process, his emotionally-driven debut album.


Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Hanna Moon
Styling Max Clark

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Holly Herndon
Haxan Cloak
Manchester International Festival