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The Crack Magazine

Municipal Disaster Zone Estate by Jimmy Cauty.png

Middlesbrough Art Weekender

Fancy going to see a dystopian model village, live smelting and lava sculptures and riding on soundscape-equipped bikes? Then look no further than the Middlesbrough Art Weekender. Taking place across multiple locations such as Centre Square, The Auxillary and Orange Pip, this free event’s fourth year promises a striking showcase of unique art between the 30th September and the 3rd October.

Following their popularity at Sonic Arts Week in July, the Sonic bikes will be returning to Middlesbrough. Visitors can take a ride through the town on the bikes, which are equipped with a soundscape shaped by local people’s stories, sounds and music.

Municipal Disaster Zone Estate by Jimmy Cauty is an immersive experience looking down the grim lens of a dystopian future. It features four abandoned concrete tower blocks housed in a 40ft shipping container for visitors to walk through. Expect satirical scenes of mass social, economic and environmental devastation, residential ‘Live-Work-Die’ Units and a centre for neo-pagan misbehaviour. Visitors can choose to experience the installation in one of two modes – Lockdown and Full English. Lockdown is a calmer, more leisurely exploration whereas Full English is a chaotic and louder experience.

For the first time ever, work by American site-specific artist, Gordon Matta-Clark, will be exhibited in the North East, thanks to a three-year partnership between Middlesbrough Art Weekender and his estate. From March to June 1974, Matta-Clark used a chainsaw to bisect a New Jersey house scheduled for demolition. After chiselling at its foundations, Matta-Clark transformed the house into a temporary sculptural environment. The film Splitting, which documents this process, will be shown at the festival. Day’s End will also be shown, a film about one of Matta-Clark's most ambitious and controversial deconstruction projects where he recovered and dissected Pier 52 on the Hudson Pier, a relic of the industrial heritage of New York City, for public enjoyment and collective creation.

Other attractions include performances, installations, immersive experiences and workshops, all connected to Middlesbrough’s industrial heritage. Middlesbrough Art Weekender is the largest contemporary art festival in the North East. It’s definitely worth a look.