Manchester Society of Swandeliers Meeting, Tuesday 22nd May 2012

Manchester Society of Swandeliers Meeting, Tuesday 22nd May 2012

(Thanks to Cornerhouse Manchester for being gracious hosts at short notice.)

Main Points:

1. Summary of recent Swan Pedalo activities (Sam Meech)
2. Discussion of Leeds Waterfront Festival opportunity (Steve Hackenbush) 30th June/ 1st July
3. Welcome new Manchester based Swandelier, Ella Wredenfors, and discussion of waterways at New Islington area of Manchester
4. Round up of Liverpool based “Open Source City” activity (Ross Dalziel) Dates TBC
5. Introduction of Andrew Kotting “Swandown” Film Premier and opportunity with Abandon Normal Devices Festival (Gabrielle Jenks) 22nd June and 23rd June
6. Extended discussion and ideas generation for Manchester “initiation” event to coincide with “Swandown” screening (All)
7. We did our famous “washing line of impossibility” ideas generation activity
8. Summary of points arrived at in this discussion which continued along the canal and into the pub

In attendance were:
Gabrielle Jenks
Ella Wredenfors
Sam Meech
Dave Lynch
John O’Shea
Steve Hackenbush
Ross Dalziel
(apologies: Simon Derwent, Neil Winterburn, Markus Soukup, Ruth McCullough)

1. Summary of recent Swan Pedalo activities:

Sam discussion the Liverpool to Leeds Challenge and showed the film he had made which documented the Swan’s triumphant arrival into Leeds.  This adventure with BBC Radio Leeds achieved one of our major goals for the swan and raised over £55000 for BBC Sports Relief – well done to all Swandeliers who put a lot of energy in behin the scenes.  We reflected on the fact that the important issue here had been the scale and ambition of the challenge, and that the swan is not necessarily a good vessel for charitable work (although it is nice that this was all done for a good cause.)

2. Discussion of Leeds Waterfront Festival opportunity, 30th June/ 1st July:

Steve is well underway with planning for participation in the Leeds Waterfront Festival (which we took part in last year led by Simon and Dave). This year there are plans for a variety of activities including a Romeo and Juliet performance and there are still places fro people to get involved if they would like.  Since this is the week after the Manchester activity we have a double incentive to complete all essential maintenance before then.  Also it was noted that interventions developed for Manchester could potentially be repeated / developed for the Leeds weekend.

3. Welcome new Manchester based Swandelier, Ella Wredenfors, and discussion of waterways at New Islington area of Manchester

Ella very kindly brought along a wealth of information (and maps!) regarding initiatives along the waterways and involving pedal-power in Manchester.

4. Round up of Liverpool based “Open Source City” activity (Ross Dalziel) (Dates TBC?)

Ross will be leading on the Liverpool “Open Source City” initiative which in which Grace will take part.

5. Introduction of Andrew Kotting “Swandown” Film Premier and opportunity with Abandon Normal Devices Festival (Gabrielle Jenks) 22nd June and 23rd June

Gaby talked to us about AND Festivals role in commissioning new cinema and explained Andrew Kotting’s new film “Swandown” as a charismatic journey/adventure between friends (including Ian Sinclair, Stewart Lee and with music by Jem Finer) taking a Swan Pedalo from Hackney to Hastings and engaging in some way with critical dialogues around the London 2012 Olympic Games.  We watched a short excerpt from the film to wet our appetite – some notes from the narration:

on swan pedalos:
“shrouded under capes, blind, can’t see, not hybrids, not human, caught in the ghetto, waiting for some kind of release…”

regarding the mission:
“onward and outward – releasing a soul… …take a plastic swan and pedal until it became a real swan”

Our swan is called “Grace” and it was lovely to find out that Andrews swan is called “Edith”.

6. Extended discussion and ideas generation for Manchester “initiation” event to coincide with “Swandown” screening (led by John O’Shea and Dave Lynch)

We discussed the potential ways in which the Society of Swandeliers can welcome/acknowledge the premier of Andrew Kottings Swandown film and highlighted four things we might want to consider:
A. mark/acknowledge the premier of film (swan after party?)
B. opportunity to get onboard the Manchester waterways
C. potential “not on water” challenge – public space
D. olympic torch is in Manchester

7. We did our famous “washing line of impossibility” ideas generation activity and all of the ideas are viewable here:

http://www.swanpedalo.org/ideas/2012/05/23/manchester-swandeliers-ideas/

8. Summary of points arrived at in this discussion which continued along the canal and into the pub:

The best thing would be to identify some simple, punchy and achievable things and do them well – we only have finite time.
This is a chance to invite potential Manchester stakeholders to get involved (Madlab, Plattfields Boathouse, FabLab, Critical Mass etc.)
One nice opportunity would be to do a dark promenade type event immediately after the screening (walking along the canal with the swan, projecting from the swan, swan costumes etc.) end with a ritual and/or party.
Another nice idea would be to do something lighter and conversation based the following day on this stretch of the canal, building on the “space for new conversations” strand – suggestion people who do not know each other make a journey on the swan.

John and Dave will lead on co-ordinating logistics and Ella expressed an interest in getting involved with public communications.  Sam made some sketches for projection type ideas.

Next step: John will phone Andrew Kotting and see what his take is.

Also – it would be interesting to know what happened with his swan after the film ie. who owns it? is there a potential for another Swandelier group towards that London?

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