Friedrich Engels – philosopher, writer, radical thinker – is coming back home. Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins is returning Engels to the city where he made his name – in the form of a Soviet-era statue, driven across Europe and permanently installed in the centre of Manchester.
Ceremony will be a singular moment in the city’s history. Performers, musicians and the people of Manchester will create an extraordinary live film to bring MIF17 to a close, mixing footage from the statue’s journey with live coverage of its inauguration. The welcome celebration will also include a soundtrack by Mica Levi and Demdike Stare, a new anthem by Gruff Rhys, and stories of today’s Manchester workers filmed by Collins during his year-long MIF17 residency.
The radical son of a German mill owner, Friedrich Engels arrived here in 1842, documenting the plight of the city’s working classes during his 20-year stay. It’s now exactly 100 years after the ideas from The Communist Manifesto, written by Engels and Karl Marx, changed the course of history by inspiring the Russian Revolution during the final phase of the First World War. Reflecting on the conditions of contemporary workers and the last century of change, as part of 14-18 NOW, Ceremony will return Engels to prominence in Manchester, reasserting the city’s crucial role in the history of radical thought.
Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and HOME, Manchester. Produced by Manchester International Festival, HOME, Manchester, Shady Lane Productions and Tigerlily Productions. Supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence, the BBC, the Henry Moore Foundation and My Festival Circle.
Photo: Phil Collins in Maryanivka, Ukraine, December 2016
© Yevgen Nikiforov