FutureEverything at Cornerhouse

This weekend saw not one but two FutureEverything events hosted at Cornerhouse.

First up was Show and Tell For Sendai in the modern, crisp and creative atmosphere of the Cornerhouse’s Annex. 9 groups had up to 15 slides each and no more than 5 minutes to illustrate their project.

Sat around familiar faces from the local creative community, the aim of the session was to encourage creativity and collaboration. Sendai has a very creative industry, similar to Manchester, and they are keen to make links in the UK, and re-build their reputation, after the Tsunami in March 2011 destroyed everything in it’s path.

The audience seemed to adore the “To be continued…” collection by Design by Day, a range of personal projects that Louise and Angela do in their spare time. Their ideas ranged from trying to make a £5 note that was never there, out of parts of other monetary paper; using “creative nouns” words as a centre for artwork, arty t-shirts, and “insect people” where people’s photos were “jazzed up” with editing software.

For the geeks amongst us, Brendan Dawes from Magnetic North gave us an insight into how he “takes play seriously”. Taking his inspiration from the book “101 things to do in a shed” he showed us a selection of his hand-made geekery. Even though he doesn’t actually own a shed, he’s made an iphone charger out of an Altoids tin, a 3d printer,  a wooden weathervane that connects to the internet, and a lovingly made keepsake box which displays random love texts between him and his partner (even though, Brendan explains, his partner asked for something very different – “when she said I want this really lovely Channel face cream, what she really meant was I want an Arduino based box showing our love”).

Other interesting concepts from the groups, included a giant Swan pedalo that gets out and about in the community, tree scanning, an open source microfiche film, an interactive post-war buildings map of Manchester, the search for the perfect burger, and a graphic design database of all you need to know about British foods.

The agency, WOW, in Sendai, said they appreciated all the help and aid they were currently receiving from around the world, and suggested that if people wanted to make donations, their chosen charity was the British Red Cross.

Then I moved downstairs to Cinema 2 for the second event of the day.

The seats filled up in anticipation of a special preview, ahead of the UK premiere in June, of the film Life In A Day. Produced by Ridley Scott, directed by Kevin MacDonald and edited by Jo Walker, the names alone give you the feeling you’re in for something truely special. Then, to create the film completely from user-generated content via YouTube, from 192 different countries, with different formats, the concept of how big this project must have been to complete, is phenomenal.

The film clips were all recorded on 24th July 2010 and the opening shot sees elephants playing happily in the water underneath a full moon, being viewed by night vision. Then the morning begins. We see people rising with the sun (and already at work) and are taken on a journey, jumping from continent to continent, following the stories of all these YouTube users. We see the day come and go, weather conditions change; births, marriages and deaths, soon forgetting that you are watching video not professionally produced.

This film tries to give a glimpse into people’s lives and it’s interesting to see there are so many similarities and difference between people across the globe. There are shocking contrasts of living conditions in eastern slums, and luxury, westerners on the other side of the world, think is “normal”. Themes throughout the film include religion, travel, sports, electrical appliances, relationships, clocks, and even hints towards war and the people affected by them.

We return to some special characters within the film, to learn more about their stories. They include a mother battling her second round of cancer and the effects on her family; a single father trying to survive after his wife’s death; and a cyclist going around the world for his 36th day in a row, getting emotional over a fly in his soup.

This film would appeal to anyone who’s interested in an un-biased look at the day-to-day life of the world, or even someone who just likes watching and posting videos on YouTube. It’s a very voyeuristic film, that will make you question what people around the world are doing, right now. One thing I must advise is that you don’t walk out before the credits have finished as there’s a lovely extra “tasty” bit at the end.

To round up, both events connected very well together. You could get inspiration and an idea of how creative people spend their downtime in the Show and Tell presentations; then watch the film to see how others spend their time around the world. Cornerhouse is clearly interested in your opinions on why we all now feel the need to broadcast our lives. In my opinion, if we learn more about others’ lives and the way they live, the more we can understand and appreciate them, that’s got to be a good thing, hasn’t it?

Liz Hardwick
Cornerhouse Digital Reporter