DIY Ballroom / Live, 2007-8, video/audio work (13 mins 24 secs) and live event (Manchester stills)

DIY Ballroom / Live (2007-2008) was one of four projects commissioned by Cornerhouse, Manchester and BBC Big Screens for the first Bigger Picture National Touring Programme, alongside artists Juneau Projects, Esther Johnson, and Perry Bard.

Comprising a video/audio work and related live participatory events, DIY Ballroom / Live was launched with the Urban Screens Festival in Manchester and presented through a related conference and screening programme (10 – 14 October 2007). The work then toured to BBC Big Screens in Norwich (_enter, Aurora Festival, 10 November 2007), Leeds (17 November 2007), and Site Gallery, Sheffield (18 March 2008), with live events taking place in Manchester and Sheffield. At these events the screened video/audio work, comprising digital amateur footage of amateur ballroom dancers sourced online, coincided with analogue, ad hoc, offline gatherings of amateur dancers on the street, the former then alternating with a live camera feed of the latter.

Screenings & Events (*)

11 – 14 October 2007, Cornerhouse and Cathedral Gardens Manchester (part of Urban Screens) *
10 November 2007, _enter, Norwich (part of Aurora Festival)
11 November 2008, Leeds
18 March 2008, Site Gallery, Sheffield *

DIY Ballroom / Live develops and expands on previous work engaging ideas around cultural dance, amateurism, migration, aspiration, the local and the international, as well as questions of the formation, duration, animation, and performance of archives. Where an earlier residency with the Media Archive of Central England raised questions of access, memory and narrative, through a performative encounter with the materiality and limits of a concrete, formal, recognised professional regional news archive (see NEWS and REEL, 2005), DIY Ballroom/Live emphasises the unlimited, immaterial, and comparatively ‘accelerated’ archive of informal, amateur footage accruing on the web. The work seeks to engage both archival and performative impulses, exploring the temporality and spatiality of the archive, and the potential of ‘engineered spontaneity’ (see the various live events that took place as part of Golden (Lessons), 2006). DIY Ballroom/Live is documented on two DVD publications, one produced and disseminated by Cornerhouse, the other by the Urban Screens Festival.

A version of DIY Ballroom also featured in the exhibition, March 2012, SITE Santa Fe, in 2012.


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