Taking inspiration from the nationwide Arts Lab movement of the psychedelic sixties counterculture and following the lineage of Liverpool’s creative underbelly, the Liverpool Arts Lab was set up to create a network and framework that allows artists of all different fields to feed off each other’s ideas and push the city’s culture forward.
Opening up a creative world to those previously unable to partake, the Arts Lab is wholly inclusive and accessible to anyone who has something to contribute, whilst looking to spark a creative drive in those disconnected from that side of themselves.
Picking up the baton from organisations like The Liverpool School Of Language, Music, Dream And Pun, Earthbeat and Urban Strawberry Lunch, the Liverpool Arts Lab is a grassroots organisation that builds up culture from ground level to oppose the influences that are sapping the real culture out of the land and replacing it with a vacuous culture imposed from above.
The Arts Lab formed in the Dingle’s celebrated Florrie at the end of summer of ’17, born out of the ‘14 Hour Super Weird Happening‘ that took over the building on April Fool’s Day that year. Using the Florence Institute as a base for operations, the Arts Lab has brought together a plethora of different creatives, who’ve been working prolifically on a number of events and capers.
Following last year’s memorable ‘Renaissance Of Mathew Street‘ performance/ceremony/happening and the reading of Alistair Fruish’s unique and experimental novel ‘The Sentence‘, the Arts Lab released ‘The Renaissance Of Mathew Street‘ comic book early in 2018, followed by a video showing ‘Alan Moore In Conversation With Youth‘ at the Super Weird Happening. They also launched the unique festival workshop ‘The Arts Lab Skiffle Factory‘ at Liverpool Sound City 2018 and are working towards their next caper, ‘The Illumination Of Mathew Street’ on 6th June.
Liverpool has a long history of countercultural agitation and DIY creativity, dating back to the 1950s with the Liverpool Poets and into the 1970s with the punk ethos “if nobody’s going to give us a chance, we’ll make our own”, which has since consistently informed Liverpool’s counterculture.
The Arts Lab movement has started picking up steam again, with Arts Lab Northampton paving the way and further Arts Labs appearing in Brighton, Hebden Bridge and Martin “Youth” Glover’s Spanish Space Mountain. The climate is right for the movement and this time we’ll learn from the mistakes of the ‘60s to create a more-inclusive and less ego-driven movement for the here and now.
What the Liverpool Arts Lab seeks to do is restore the city to the pool of life it was once envisioned to be in the hugely significant dream of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Pushed in the right direction, there’s potential for creativity to ooze out of every corner of the city, reclaiming it from the bland, homogenising forces currently pulling the strings.