r Monkey caught the train to Deansgate and turned left on the way out to go to the preview night of Summer House: Home and Away
and the opening of the Feral Trade Café
at the Castlefield Gallery.
As Mr Monkey entered the gallery he was met by the Feral Trade Café
Since 2003 Kate Rich, an Australian artist based in Bristol, has been using social networks to informally import and export various foodstuffs. For six weeks visitors to the Castlefield Gallery can have a snack or a drink made with ingredients sourced direct from suppliers and transported as excess baggage on an existing journey. This doesn't sound like a totally reliable supply chain to Mr Monkey, but they must know what they're doing.
Mr Monkey scampered downstairs to see Home and Away
, an exhibition featuring the work of six UK-based artists (though there are only five pieces in the show) who use photography and video to consider travel and the difference between the home people leave and the home they return to.
Home and Away
is the first of three exhibitions in the Summer House
The first work Mr Monkey saw was Reasons to Travel
by Taiwan-born Ting-Ting Chang.
This is a collection of framed digital C prints, intended to explore the ideas of being at home as against travelling and of foreignness. Some of the prints were so high up that Mr Monkey regretted not having a ladder.
Many of the pictures - which, to Mr Monkey seemed more about being away than at home - were accompanied by a text giving a reason for travelling.
Mr Monkey was tickled by the idea that a reason for travelling would be to learn French and so know what "Interdit de stationner"
Next he watched a video, The End
, by brother and sister duo Barney and Lucy Heywood.
He found out that the short film about an old man in a home looks depressing until you put the headphones on (or share with your human) and listen to everything the old man is saying.
Until he looked at Travelling Home
by Yin-Hua Chu, Mr Monkey hadn't realised there were so many different sorts of slide viewer.
He started peering into the viewers, and found that each held a slide showing a room in a different town. Strangely the wallpaper was the same everywhere. It turned out that Chu had used small ornaments and Google StreetView images to make models of rooms she'd lived in, based on memory rather than reality.
This was probably Mr Monkey's favourite piece in the exhibition.
One corner of the ground floor was occupied by a screen and a projector displaying a slide show by Alexandra Wolkowicz called Time-Windows: Squaring up to the Past
Each slide shows a hand holding up a photograph in front of the place the photograph was taken. All were taken in or around Wolkowicz's father's flat on Weilbergstr 1, somewhere in Germany. The slides were taken in 2009, when her father was moving out, the photographs being held up were taken when Wolkowicz was a child so the pictures show a journey in time as well as space.
Finally, Mr Monkey examined Will you ever go back?
by Joanna Zylinska.
A collection of twelve photos taken in Zylinska's home town in Poland, this is the result of thinking about being asked if she's going back 'home' even after living in the UK for almost 15 years.
Viewers might see a projection of their fantasies of communist Poland in the photos, though Mr Monkey never quite managed that. Miss Carol did realise than they'd been taken in Eastern Europe, which was more than Mr Monkey or Mr Rik managed.
And then Mr Monkey led his humans out of the gallery and up to Piccadilly station and the train home.