Over five days, Urbanism 09, led by Liverpool Biennial, presented the outcome of over six months of environmental interventions, projects and imaginative approaches by artists, architects, urbanists and residents to unlock the potential of the Leeds & Liverpool canal.  The week included Propositions for a Happy City from Artists, Activists and Architects; the How to Design a Happy City Conference and Canal Carnival- a water-borne parade.

UP Projects worked in partnership with Liverpool Biennial to commission Rob SweerePublic Works, M-O-T-H and Ben Parry to create works that formed a key part of the finale week of activities culminating in a Canal Carnival.

Rob Sweere invited people to have a ‘Silent Conversation with the Sky’, lying on the roof of the Pride of Sefton narrow boat thereby taking part in a growing artwork and gaining a personal new experience of their surroundings as part of the Propositions for a Happy City Event. The Silent Sky Project consists of a series of small events, in many different locations, cultures and circumstances on the planet.  A series of large scale photographs that document Sweere's different 'Actions' around the world were presented at the carnival finale site, including an image of Bootle's own Silent Sky.

Public Works' Canal Club was a floating 'club-house' which resided on the canal for the week, hosting a programme of public events that encouraged discussion, anecdotes and memories about the canal.  A "cloud of lanterns" made by the Liverpool Lantern Company and local residents were accumulated on and around the structure during its residency, becoming the base for a collection of public messages that were later dispersed into the water during the canal parade.

Multi-media artists M-O-T-H (Ed Firth and Shaun O'Connor) animated the walls, water, people and spaces along the canal with video animations inspired by the canal.  They projected their moving images, guerilla style using their own unique, wearable, wireless video projection units at the Portoallegro launch party at Bank Hall and during the water borne parade.

We screened Ben Parry's Terminus film as part of the finale event.  Parry has created a cinematic construction of the entire Liverpool dock complex as could have been witnessed from a journey on the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR) 1893-1957.  A single, real time tracking shot at an elevation of 8m, takes the viewer along the length of the docks into the container port at the mouth of the River Mersey and back again.

The week culminated with a boat parade, followed by the finale party at the Portoallegro site, which included M-O-T-H's canal inspired visuals, Ben Parry's film screening and Public Works' Canal club lanterns being released into the water.

Urbanism was supported by Arts Council South West and Places Matter.

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