MIF21: Cloud Studies at the Whitworth, Manchester

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
MIF 2021: Cloud Studies at the Whitworth, Manchester
Courtesy of the artist

Cloud Studies at The Whitworth, Manchester 2 July — 17 October 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Can art be a tool for affecting real, high-level change? Over the course of its 10-year existence, Forensic Architecture has stolen the attention of the public, art world and legal sector with its endlessly in-depth, ground-breaking investigations into human rights violations – including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. The 2018 Turner Prize-nominated, Goldsmiths-based research agency works directly with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes and environmental violence, and its findings have been presented in art galleries, lectures and courtrooms around the world, bringing injustices to light.

One of the key highlights of Manchester International Festival 2021 will be Cloud Studies – a major exhibition of the agency’s work, staged at the Whitworth Art Gallery, that exposes how states and corporations weaponise the air we breathe to suppress civilian protest, to maintain and defend violent border regimes, and empower extractive industry. Examples of cases will span Palestine, Beirut, London, Indonesia, and the US-Mexico border, and provide insights into Forensic Architecture’s game-changing methods of open-source investigation, employing tools that range from creating virtual reality environments and 3D modelling to interviewing survivors of violence to access and explore memories of trauma.

The show will also feature a two-channel film that marks the first stage in the agency’s new investigation into environmental racism in Louisiana, in an area known as ‘Cancer Alley’. The state has the most toxic air in America due to the high concentration of petrochemical production facilities located along the Mississippi River, and the majority-Black communities that live in the region (once home to thousands of slaves) are up to 50 times more likely to develop cancer as a direct result. The film will contextualise the current situation within a 300-year-long history of environmental racism, beginning with colonialism and slavery, whilst demonstrating how this extractive economy continues today and fuels climate change. The project supports the multigenerational efforts of Black Louisianans to protect themselves from future erasure and lobby for ecological reparations.

This is a rare opportunity to experience the wide breadth of Forensic Architecture’s work in one setting and to witness the early stages of yet another of the agency’s deeply urgent investigations. Don’t miss.

Cloud Studies at The Whitworth, Manchester 2 July — 17 October 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

What's on at The Whitworth

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry

Where to go near MIF21: Cloud Studies at the Whitworth, Manchester

Bar or Pub
Big Hands

Big Hands is the one-time haunt of legendary Manchester band Elbow; it’s shabby, loud and dark, with a jukebox and excellent roof terrace.

The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a cafe and community hub based in Rusholme, a short walk from the city centre.

Pankhurst Centre
The Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

Music venue
Manchester Academy 3

Brilliant venue for catching a touring band on the rise. The boringly titled Academy 3 or more interesting Hop and Grape, as it was once known, is a self contained…

Manchester Academy music venue on Oxford Road Manchester.
Music venue
Manchester Academy

The Manchester Academy is a mid size, modern warehouse venue adjacent to the University of Manchester Students’ Union. It lacks any architectural merit and has always been a difficult place…

Cafe at the Museum
Café or Coffee Shop
The Cafe
at the Museum

Manchester Museum’s cafe is run by the people behind award-winning cafe Teacup Kitchen. The menu features home-baked cakes, the finest loose leaf teas and breakfast, as well as a wide selection of mains and meals for kids.

Whitworth Park, Manchester
Whitworth Park

This 18-acre park opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary provides a welcome patch of green in an otherwise densely populated and heavily used part of the city.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.