The New Observatory at FACT

Polly Checkland Harding
This connection should make us suspect - Liz Orton.

The New Observatory at FACT, City Centre 22 June — 1 October 2017 Entrance is free

FACT’s latest exhibition stretches the definition of ‘observatory’; defined as ‘a room or building housing an astronomical telescope or other scientific equipment for the study of natural phenomena’, the word conjures images of white, dome-roofed structures under a wide expanse of sky. In The New Observatory, however, the phenomena being observed isn’t entirely natural – and the closest thing to an architectural observatory is a 40-ft, four-storey watchtower inside FACT’s main atrium.

The idea behind the exhibition is to transform FACT itself into an observatory for the 21st century, featuring work by international artists that explores modern developments including embedded technologies, satellite surveillance and scientific projections. Using alternative modes of measuring the world through data, imagination and other methods, The New Observatory reflects on a reality in which the minutiae of our everyday lives is watched and tracked – most obviously through James Coupe’s A Machine for Living.

This aforementioned 40-ft watchtower incorporates spaces for living, sleeping and working across different levels, including a kitchen and garden, within all of which cameras and monitors will record, archive and broadcast the interior via online platforms. Burak Arikan’s MYPOCKET, meanwhile, begs the question of what is done with the kind of information A Machine for Living will generate; the artist created custom software to predict his spending patterns over a two-year period, with striking accuracy. Ultimately, the observatory at FACT’s shift in focus from natural to digitised systems highlights the need for better scrutiny of this change in our everyday interactions with the world.

The New Observatory at FACT, City Centre 22 June — 1 October 2017

Book Now

What's on at FACT

LuYang Arcade Liverpool at FACT

‘LuYang Arcade Liverpool’ at FACT takes viewers on an immersive, interactive journey across the world of games, digital identities and spirituality.

free entry

What's on: Exhibitions

Nothing About Us Without Us at PHM

‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ at PHM explores the history of disabled people’s activism and their ongoing fight for inclusion with a wonderful collection of exhibits brought together for the first time, 

free entry
ExhibitionsNorth East
Chris Killip, retrospective at Baltic

This spring, Baltic welcomes a major retrospective of the work of Chris Killip, one of Britain’s most influential and prolific post-war documentary photographers whose tender gaze captured the lives of communities in the North East of England.

free entry
(Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth

Through a fantastic collection of classical and contemporary artists’ work, ‘(Un)Defining Queer’ examines the use of language, histories and narratives to explore what ‘queer’ really means today. free entry

Culture Guides


We go all in on festivals, with a round-up of everything from city-spanning giants to grassroots gems you may not know about.


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.