Copyright: David Caines
FUNDUS THEATER /Theatre of Research and Live Art Development Agency, Animals of Manchester (Including HUMANZ), 2019, Manchester, UK
Imagine a city in which animals of all kinds, including humans, live together in peace. What might life be like if dogs, cows, squirrels and other creatures lived alongside us not just as our pets but as our peers – our companions? Imagine what the city could look like then.
Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) was an interactive live art experience created by Sibylle Peters (FUNDUS THEATER/Theatre of Research) and Lois Keidan (Live Art Development Agency) for the Manchester International Festival 2019, which posed questions about the relationship between humans and other animals.
Audiences were invited to follow a trail through Whitworth Park and Gallery, and to take part in all kinds of animal encounters. Across a series of installations and performances, children, families and adults alike explored the relationships with fellow species, were invited to become a citizen of the alternative city and to share ideas on how to improve relationships between species.
The mayors of the alternative city were two cows who live at Wythenshaw Park Community Farm. In the Town Hall, they hosted the Standing Conference of Animals where alliances of animals from microbes to pigeons to humans made their case for equality and companionship. What could an assembly of animals (including humans) look like?
In the Life Art Library, hundreds of documents were gathered to give an account of live art created by human and non-human animals together and by non-human animals alone.
Researchers: Sibylle Peters (FUNDUS THEATER/Theatre of Research), Lois Keidan (Live Art Development Agency).
Co-reserachers: Ansuman Biswas, Andy Field and Beckie Darlington, Daniel Ladnar and Esther Pilkington (random people), Joshua Sofaer, London Fieldworks, Marcus Coates, Angela Bartram, Tim Spooner, Martin O’Brien, Benji Reid, Krõõt Juurak & Alex Bailey, Katharina Duve, Rebecca Chesney, Jack Ashby, Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, Antony Hall, Kerry Morrison, Kira O’Reilly, David Weber-Krebs & Maximillian Haas, children/students from Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Claremont Primary School and the Greater Manchester Home Educators network, local animal experts and activists from Dogs4Rescue, Withington Hedgehog Care Trust and Wythenshawe Community Farm, the artistic and administrative team of Manchester International Festival
Participants: Several thousand audience members from all ages and backgrounds
Collaboration: Live Art Development Agency, Manchester International Festival
Formats: Heterotopian Zone