Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City


Contributing artists:

Peter Kennard (UK) // Epos257 (CZ) // Ztohoven (CZ) // Chim-Pom (JP) // VOINA (RU) // Francisco Tapia (CHI) // Shift//Delete (UK) // Brandalism (UK+) // WochenKlausur (AT) // Bill Posters (UK) // Franck Allais (FR) // Leah Borromeo (UK) // Tracey Moberly // Steve Lambert (US) // Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative (FI) // The Vacuum Cleaner (UK) //  John Beieler (US) // Peter McNaughey (UK) // Ben Parry (UK) // Ed Hall (UK) + citizens of Manchester.


Upper Space is pleased to announce our latest exhibition and programme entitled Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City. 19 interventionist artists from 7 countries are exhibiting provocative works that launch a new contemporary gallery and cultural space for Ancoats, Manchester.

Politika explores the growing field of intervention in relation to cultural activism and social change. A diverse program that includes an exhibition, live interventions, public workshops, talks and debate will offer the public the opportunity to re-think the role of art and artist in contemporary society. Politika will see a merging of the intersections between art, social justice and activism as artists and the citizens of Greater Manchester assert their right to the city. The exhibition is situated within an old cotton mill in Ancoats – the world’s first industrial suburb.

Politika sees Chim-Pom (Japan), Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative (Finland), Papas Fritas (Chile) and Brandalism (UK+) exhibiting in a gallery in the UK for the first time.


Manchester is where the world’s first manifestations of industrial capitalism took shape, and from which came the neoliberal ethic of intense possessive individualism, and its cognate of political withdrawal from collective forms of action. These chasm between citizens and political institutions grow. If the city is both the producer of citizenship and the generator of innovation, it is the soil in which democracy lives. Without the city and maximized exchanges, democracy loses strength to create potential futures.

There is scope to generate an answer, another view, in order to sustain another ideology against consumerism and the disempowerment it represents. Politika creates opportunities for people to transform themselves from passive consumers into active participants – active citizens.

Politika occupies the intersection between art, politics and social justice in an historic moment, as people across the world reclaim their right to the city and experiment with real democracy and collective empowerment.

The exhibition is timed to run parallel to the party political conferences that are happening across the UK in 2014.

Politika Programme:

For Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City, we are offering a diverse programme of free talks, screenings, workshops and debates orbiting 5 central themes that flow through the art works on display in the gallery:

Ancoats // Capitalism? // Activism in the Digital Age // Sustainability // Emergency

See our full programme here


Launch Event:

Private View: 6pm – 8pm // Launch Event: 8pm – 12am

Exhibition running: 19th September – 1st October 2014

  • The first chance to see provocative artworks by urban interventionist artists from seven different countries including previously unreleased works by major artists.
  • The newly renovated grade 2 listed building hosting the exhibition is in the heart of Ancoats, the world’s first industrial suburb. Politika includes mixed media, digital, sculpture and visual art installations.


  • A Samba band procession from Stevenson’s Square in the northern quarter to the gallery in Ancoats, arriving in time for the launch. Time TBC.

In the Bar:

  • Select teas and cold coffees from Manchester’s own North Tea Power.
  • A live installation by Manchester based artists Shift//Delete entitled ‘Molotov Cocktails?’. Come forth and consume specially commissioned alcoholic drinks laced with a dash of espionage. Prepared and served by our very own Sunny Wray.
  • Local brews from Moss Cider, IPA and a range of other drinks available at affordable prices.

Music provided by Mind On Fire, OneFiveEight, Endless City & Groovement.

Make sure you join the launch event on Facebook

Twitter: @Upper_Space



The Engine Room Gallery, Hope Mill

113 Pollard street, Ancoats, Manchester

See our ‘Find Politika’ section for lots of helpful advice on how to find the gallery.

Poitika is kindly supported by:

Arts Council England

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Now Then Magazine

The Modern Institute

Mujin-to Productions

Hope Mill Partnership