On the other side at FACT

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
An image captured from overhead of two men embracing. One is seated, and the other is kneeling.
Melanie Crean, A Machine to Unmake You (M2UY) (2019-2024). Film still. Courtesy of the artist.

Until 2 June 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

FACT’s spring exhibition focuses on themes of authority and power. Three artists examine systems of control and from the perspectives of those who design them, those who administer them, and those who are subject to their enforcement. 

On the other side presents brand new work from Melanie Crean and Katrina Palmer alongside an existing video work from Pilvi Takala.

Prisons and incarceration are prominent motifs throughout the show, with Crean and Palmer’s work both being the result of collaboration with people from across Liverpool, York and Rochdale who have experiences with the justice system. 

On the other side gathers mostly installation, film pieces and sculpture. You’ll encounter Crean’s multi-channel video installation: A Machine to Unmake You (M2UY) (2019-2024), a piece created with staff and incarcerated veterans at HMP Altcourse in Fazakerley, Liverpool. The film is a result of workshops and conversations about life in the armed forces and the return to civilian life as well as the experience of prison. The cryptic title refers to a specific observation from the participants about military training being like a machine and the lack of its equivalent to “unmake them” back into civilians. Crean’s work will be accompanied by a publication too, from May 2024.

Palmer’s work utilises the power of the written word. Her piece Sentences (2023) is a book of texts produced with people within the justice system: prison officers, prison education professionals, academics and people who are currently incarcerated. The artist offers fiction and narrative storytelling as a way to explore relative freedoms but also to delve into the way that incarceration exists in the collective imagination of those who have never experienced it.

Takala’s Close Watch (2022) was originally commissioned for the Pavilion of Finland at the 59th Biennale di Venezia. The work gained critical acclaim for its compelling portrayal of a world many of us encounter on a regular basis but don’t have much knowledge of. The multi-channel installation is inspired by the artist’s experiences as a security guard in a shopping mall. The piece reveals the working conditions, lack of regulation and comments on how the private security industry has created an infrastructure for the distribution of power in public spaces.

The exhibition benefits from a focused, unhurried visit as is often the case for time-based media pieces. There is a variety of perspectives and nuances to delve into on issues that directly affect us all as citizens so this is not one to miss.

Until 2 June 2024 Entrance is free Visit now


  • Audio Described
  • Captioned

Where to go near On the other side at FACT

MAYA Manchester

MAYA is a stylish new restaurant and bar on the corner of Canal Street and Chorlton in central Manchester.

New Wave Ramen

New Wave Ramen is a stylish, friendly Japanese ramen bar and restaurant on Tib Lane in the heart of Manchester.

caprismcr - restaurant
City Centre
Capri’s Cucina Italiana

The King Street area isn’t short of popular Italian restaurants, but none strike quite the same note as Capri’s, where you’ll be greeted like family and served some of the most authentic Neapolitan food in Manchester.

The Feel Good Club exterior
Event venue
Feel Good Club

Our flagship Feel Good Club in Manchester, open 7 days a week, providing a beautiful friendly environment for coffee, brunch, lunch, cocktails and beers with an amazing selection of non alcoholic beverages too.

Bar or Pub
Finders Keepers

Welcoming waterside bar in New Islington Marina, serving a wide array of carefully-curated cocktails.

City Centre

Highly-regarded wine-led, French-leaning wine bar and rooftop restaurant in the city centre.

Image licensed with iStock.
Stockport Central Library

Stockport Central Library is a Carnegie library, built 1913–15 in the Edwardian Baroque style. It continues to serve as Stockport’s largest library.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Festival-goers at Green Island
Music in Manchester and the North

Gazing longingly towards the good times that will accompany the surely imminent sun, we take a look at the best music festivals coming up in Manchester and Salford.

Theatre in Manchester and the North
Theatre in Manchester and the North

Affecting contemporary performances and fresh, relevant takes on enduring classics, we pick out shows that help us scrutinise the world we live in.