Something unusual: Rendered at Manchester Art Gallery

Polly Checkland Harding
Still from a video as part of Rendered.

Ed Atkins’ programme of moving images at Manchester Art Gallery is startling and surreal – we stopped by to try and work it out.

Opened with very little fanfare at the start of this month, Rendered at Manchester Art Gallery has been curated by artist Ed Atkins as a kind of ‘obscure primer or appendix to’ his ground-breaking Manchester International Festival project, Performance Capture. On the top floor of the gallery is a viewing area surrounded by blackout curtains, in which a loop of film clips that have informed Atkins’ practice is screened.

A pair of strangely human crutches drag themselves through wasteland

When we dropped in, Untitled (Crutches) by Peter Wächtler was showing, in which a pair of strangely human crutches drag themselves through a post-apocalyptic wasteland while lines of an angry, disillusioned monologue from a man who fought in the Korean War flash up above. So far, so obscure: as the following clip and the introduction to the show confirm, this programme has some complex preoccupations.

The title feels like the key; describing both the outcome of processing computer generated video and the method of melting fat down ‘to clarify it’. There is, then, a sense of procedure at work here: hitting recurring tropes of disembodiment, fragmentation and disruption, Rendered is like a lengthy visual scrapbook for a bigger project. Drop by to try and piece it all together.

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