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Underworld to revisit ‘unheard’ stories of Manchester homeless

Underworld’s Karl Hyde and the Manchester Street Poem artwork (Tarnish Vision/PA)
Underworld’s Karl Hyde and the Manchester Street Poem artwork (Tarnish Vision/PA)

Electronic music duo Underworld are returning to the Manchester International Festival to showcase “unheard” stories of the homeless.

Two years ago, Karl Hyde covered the walls of a disused city centre space with words and phrases drawn from the streets as part of the Manchester Street Poem live installation artwork.

The space was also filled with a soundtrack by fellow Underworld member Rick Smith that used fragments of human voice recorded throughout the city.

Underworld duo Rick Smith, left, and Karl Hyde
Underworld duo Rick Smith, left, and Karl Hyde (Rob Baker Ashton)

This year Manchester Street Poem returns in a new incarnation with a daily changing exhibition in the city’s Albert Square from July 9 to 21.

Billboard-sized artworks will be created each day at a temporary city centre workshop in Albion Street by Hyde and the Manchester Street Poem team.

Visitors will be able to scan a QR code on the artworks which will enable them to listen directly to the contributor’s voices, newly recorded for the project.

Members of the team will also be available on the square to answer questions and engage in conversations about the work they do throughout the year, while the creative process can be viewed at the workshop.

Karl Hyde covers a wall with words and phrases drawn from the street
Karl Hyde and the Manchester Street Poem artwork (Tarnish Vision/PA)

Hyde said: “The experience of taking part in MIF17’s Manchester Street Poem performed installation was both euphoric and humbling, something that will remain with all of us involved in the project forever.

“In the two years since we have rolled out a series of monthly workshops, continuing to collect new stories and drawing in the wider community. This year we’re filling an even bigger canvas, publishing fresh stories daily, as billboard-size broadsheets, right at the heart of Festival Square.

“This is a project that we will continue to evolve for as long as there are stories that need to be told and voices that remain unheard.”

The Manchester Street Poem Installation Score – created from the 2017 project – is available to buy from underworldlive.com

Proceeds from download sales will go towards funding the ongoing activities of Manchester Street Poem.

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