Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory
Tai Shani, The Neon Hieroglyph (still), 2021

31 March 2021 — 31 March 2022 Entrance is free — Visit now

Can psychedelic drugs offer more than ‘just’ a trip? For artist Tai Shani, such mind-bending substances have the potential to open a powerful imaginative space from which new visions of society and alternative possible futures can emerge. For her major new online commission as part of the Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory series, the joint 2019 Turner Prize winner is inviting audiences to accompany her on a (strictly virtual) hallucinatory journey across time and space, drawing on forgotten histories, folklore and myth. Buckle-up.

Titled The Neon Hieroglyph, the nine-part episodic artwork is rooted in the story of ergot – a fungus that grows on rye and other common grains from which LSD is derived. There have been outbreaks of ergotism (caused by long-term ingestion and which led to bouts of mass-hallucination) throughout history, with suspected references stretching all the way back to a great plague in 857 AD. The convulsive symptoms it causes may have played a role in the accusations of bewitchment that spurred the Salem witch trials. The last reported incident in the UK was during the late 1920s in Manchester.

The intergalactic odyssey will unfold through a rich combination of lyrical monologues delivered by a spectral female narrator rendered in trippy CGI visuals, set to a haunting soundtrack by the Manchester-born composer Maxwell Stirling. The piece draws upon a wide array of source material, from Palaeolithic cave markings to hyper-sexual mushrooms. We’re in safe hands with Shani as our guide, however, the artist having been brought up around ‘LSD evangelism’ and esoteric/occult practices and forms of knowledge.

The Neon Hieroglyph forms part of Shani’s ongoing creation of a feminist mythology of psychedelics and will continue to develop through 2021. Prepare to have your consciousness expanded.

31 March 2021 — 31 March 2022 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory

Manchester
Restaurant
Fenix

Modern Greek Mediterranean cuisine from the team behind Tattu.

Flat Iron Leeds
Leeds
Restaurant
Flat Iron Leeds

Relaxed restaurant in Leeds serving impressively high-quality steaks at an affordable price point.

Odioba
Stockport
Restaurant
Odioba

Odioba is a new audiophile bar in Stockport, from the team behind the much-missed NAM. Coffee shop by day, bar by night.

Universally Manchester Festival 6-9 June 2024
Manchester
The University of Manchester

Celebrating its 200th year in 2024, The University of Manchester is the largest single-site university in the UK, and boasts come incredible cultural institutions, found on campus, across Manchester and…

Victoria Arcade
Leeds
Shopping Centre
Victoria Arcade

Leeds’ go to place for premium shopping, Victoria Arcade, has both style and substance in abundance.

Alborz
Levenshulme
Restaurant
Alborz

Much-loved Persian restaurant on Stockport in Levenshulme, reopened after a lengthy lockdown-related hiatus.

Manchester
Restaurant
Jaan

New food concept from the team behind Another Hand, based at Exhibition and serving up exceptional Persian cuisine.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides