*CITY CONDUCTING for an overwhelmed specie*

ArtEZ and MMU meets NOMA in Manchester for a new project named NEIGHBORHOOD: MORE _THAN_HUMAN_COMMUNITIES 2022. The project aimed to enable biodiverse neighbourhoods, where communities meet in social, spatial and ecological ways. The framework of the project was set up as an experimental lab for workshops, research, and inquiries for the development of 20 Acres in the city of Manchester. And it aimed to deliver prototypes, test new models, as well as developing new modes of thinking on nurturing community engagement, wellbeing, and the ecological benefits through growing a new sense of neighbourhood and connectiveness.


Given the broad and philosophical approach to research city-dwellers in their natural habitat. Desginers Elza Bērzina, Vicky-Lynn Geerdink and I created CITY CONDUCTING – for an overwhelmed specie. We did not limit ourselves to the assigned 20 acres, and we went exploring and analysed the surrounding area as well. We took on the perspective of seeing urban workers and their made environments as if they were ants that created their own ecological system. Reframing the perspective of men-made items into this new-ecology, as a part of nature, we can for example see traffic lights and advertisement banners as new species in this ecology. Perhaps we should learn novel ways of interacting with the organisms of this ecology. Could we conduct a specie counterpoint within the city ecology? Conducted by a new member of an urban worker and an extension of its’ suit?


We developed a film and posters that would highlight these essential and key species of the city’s ecosystem. The posters were distributed around the city as lost, wanted and hunted posters with the aim to make visible the overseen and invisible species of the city’s ecosystem. In the film, the neon yellow coloured cloth refers to the urban worker. The colour grabs attention to ‘watch out’ yet the cloth covered key species as an intervention to make the viewer contemplate what is missing. What is always there but is never noticed? Additionally, the neon cloth is the base of projection of other parts of the city as is functions as a green screen. The multi-layered imagery of the cityscape shows the density of the ever-growing systems for housing, transportation, land use, production, and communication. It is the density that facilitates interaction. Yet, it is also the probable cause of environmental frustration. CITY CONDUCTING – for an overwhelmed specie aims to relief the frustration by acknowledging new species into nature, species worth looking and admiring at.


In collaboration with Standart Practice, NOMA, National Trust, UFO/MMU and ArtEZ. Special thank to Judith van den Boom and Gunter Wehmeyer