Mr Monkey sees Institution for the Future at the CAC, 6th October
Mr Monkey scampered into Manchester, even though it was raining, to see Institution for the Future at the Chinese Arts Centre, part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011.
This is an exhibition showcasing Asian artists' collectives and small, independent, institutions, and wondering what sort of institutions and organisations they would need for the future.
The work of Malaysian artist Roslisham Ismail aka Ise centres on personal experience of urban communities and the use of networking. Mr Monkey watched You'll Never Walk Alone, a video documenting friends meeting up and travelling to attend a Liverpool FC football match, then studied photos of places where Ise has slept borrowed a sleeping place, and a photomontage of the 'Superfriends' who help his work.
medium/rare by Richard Streitmatter-Tran is the Vietnamese artist's response to China's announcement that it intends to restrict the export of its rare earths. Rare earths are important to many modern industries, and China apparently controls 98% of the world's supply.
Mr Monkey was interested to read a large poster explaining that local health regulations prevented the display of vacuum-packed meats. He was more impressed by the bits of bull made from wire mesh, and a combination of the rare earths section of the periodic table and a diagram of cuts of meat.
Jakarta-based artist's collective ruangrupa have set up siasat - a short tactical guide for an artist-run initiative, a kind of 'survival kit' for artists. This comprises a series of suitcases - Infrastructure, Artistic, Organizational, General Affair and Public, Finance, and Coping With Disasters - which have been emptied out in a corner of the gallery. Mr Monkey found this exhibit both interesting and confusing, as it was colourful but largely unexplained.
Jun Yang's exhibit is a very large poster intended to make people think about a potential contempary art centre in Taipei. Mr Monkey thought it was rather striking, but didn't really tell anyone what sort of institution Jun Yang himself wanted.
Mr Monkey was probably most interested by the work of Michael Lee, even though it was the least photographable.
One wall of the gallery is covered with the Ex-Files, in which artists who had collaborated with other artists gave their versions of why things had gone wrong; this was interesting but wordy. Mr Monkey really enjoyed the intricacy of the mazes and pop-up pages carved into books in the video Hinterlands.
While he was in the Centre, Mr Monkey popped into the Breathe residency space to the Utopia Group's display before it shut.
Deng Defei and He Hai used their residency at the CAC to explore Manchester's declined textile industry. To do this they fashioned a very large textile ball and a pair of woollen outfits, and spent two weeks pushing the increasingly grimy ball around Manchester.
As they waddled on all fours between Mancunian landmarks, Dan Shannon, a local film-maker, made a video showing their interactions with the public.
Mr Monkey carefully avoided the textiles in case any of the grime rubbed off on him, and thoroughly enjoyed the video; it was odd to see a giant ball being pushed through MOSI or rolling down a slope in the dark.
Institution for the Future runs until November 26th.