21 May 2007

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and tenantspin bring you Bold Street Project, an exhibition to celebrate the history and culture of one of Liverpool's most famous thoroughfares.

At a defining moment in the city's history, FACT explores Bold Street, the community on the organisation's doorstep, where heritage and community are closely intertwined and whose past is illustrative of Liverpool's fortunes.

The Bold Street Project is a collaboration between FACT, tenantspin, and artists Michelle Wren and Katie Lips. Liverpool photographer and artist, Wren has created a visual representation of Bold Street; a model using 3D photo-montage and mixed media. Community generated content developed by tenantspin and online content developed by new media artist Katie Lips will be integrated into the model, and used as a catalyst to extend the piece online ensuring the exhibition will spill out of the gallery and onto the Internet where people will be able to upload their memories, pictures and videos of the street. Peering into the shop fronts depicted in the model will reveal exclusive films made for the exhibition, including a new commission The Bolder They Walk by Director Kim Ryan (gente hermosa) featuring Alex Cox (repoman, FACT patron) and Chris Bernard (Letter to Brezhnev).

FACT's pioneering community webcasting project tenantspin has inspired the exhibition through its long-running explorations of Liverpool. As part of FACT's Collaboration Programme that brings citizens, artists and new media together, tenantspin will present a series of keynote live discussions at FACT during the exhibition in which professionals, traders, residents, buskers and shoppers can get on record their thoughts on Bold Street.

Bold Street represents a microcosm of Liverpool's cultural evolution. In 1800, the first gentleman's subscription library opened on the street at a time when the city's docks were reaching its global prominence. Eighty years later, it began to earn its title as the 'Bond Street of the North' with the opening of the fashionable and exclusive department store Cripps - the first of several to open over the next fifty years and to cater for the gentry and the mercantile elite, at the top end of the social scale. As WW2 altered the skyline of the city, thus it left much of Bold Street as rubble, defined by the remains of St Luke's Church, left as a standing memorial to those who died. As the city's economic fortunes deteriorated, its artistic and cultural leadership flourished and nowhere was this seen more keenly that on Bold Street with the opening of Café Berlin - which played host to The Smiths in the 80s - the Mardi Gras and, later that decade, the start of the ground-breaking Video Positive Festival, a celebration of contemporary video art, which acted as a forerunner to the Liverpool Biennial.