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Grope Manchester – sort of

Make your mark on Manchester with a handout in Piccadilly

Published on December 5th 2008.


Grope Manchester – sort of

One of Manchester’s most distinctive buildings - the 107 metre tall City Tower in Piccadilly Gardens - will become a huge, open canvas from Friday 12 – Sunday 14 December (4pm – 11pm), when passers-by are invited to leave giant handprints on the side of its imposing tower.

One side of City Tower, owned by office providers Bruntwood, will host an interactive public art installation, Handprint, which will offer members of the public the chance to add their own virtual handprint to a collage of real-time projections.

Handprint gives a futuristic spin to the childlike activity of dipping a hand into paint and applying the print to paper by employing cutting edge technology.

Participants can reach for the top of the building by scanning in their hand, saving the image and choosing where their print will be projected onto the landmark structure. Once in the system it appears above the heads of commuters and shoppers in the area below and can be seen for miles around.

A supervised touch screen will be situated in Piccadilly Gardens near to the square’s bars and restaurants for Christmas shoppers, tourists and workers to happen upon and take part.

The project is the brainchild of interactive designer Alastair Eilbeck, whose participatory artwork has been seen previously at Toyota’s brand HQ on the Champs-Elysées, Paris where handprints were projected onto one of the brand’s cars. Inspired by the response in France, Alastair set about increasing the scale of the project and hit upon Manchester as the perfect setting.

Of the project Alastair said, “By taking the contributions of individuals and multiplying them in the form of a spectacular collage, I hope to get a very real and human expression which marks a collective experience.

“Involving passers-by to place their hands on this landmark building should make participants and spectators see a familiar place differently for that moment in time. It should be a spontaneous decision to take part and interaction between strangers will take place where you’d least expect it.”

Inspired by a 'human urge' to leave palm prints, the handprints on cave walls dating back 30,000 years offer a prehistoric starting point for his work. The objective is to bring this ancient instinct to the modern urban landscape, encouraging people to leave their own personal and unique signature.

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mr TDecember 5th 2008.

I wonder how long it'll take for someone to add a one finger salute or put the V's up

Anthony BrowneDecember 5th 2008.

Brilliant...well done!

Ali McGowanDecember 5th 2008.

Good idea, I like it :)

AnnaDecember 5th 2008.

Brilliant, Manchester needs more of this kind of stuff. Love it or hate it, at least you notice it & it has made you think.

jimmy savileDecember 5th 2008.

your right it should be kept grey like all the other buildings because that's a fun and exciting color that reflects the city isn't it...nipple

LylaBDecember 5th 2008.

Looks great - more of this please!

ZabzyDecember 5th 2008.

what a disgusting carbunkle!!

jamie hDecember 5th 2008.

hilarious! we'd soon moan if there wasn't the odd "quirk" going on somewhere in our city, but as soon as we have one, we complain! weirdos

JudeDecember 5th 2008.

Looks fantastic to me! Great idea.

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