EAR TO THE GROUND
Skateboarding has long been connected to the urban environment and forms a close-knit community that, for many, is a huge part of growing up in and knowing a city.
We asked artists to put forward their interpretations of the city and what it means to exist within it in EAR TO THE GROUND. By exploring skater’s unique documentation of socio-environmental city culture and its inherent connection to urban creativity and art, We fostered a space that embodies the ever-evolving urban landscape and its inhabitants.
We opened a window into the skating community, allowing people from outside to peer into its complex, diverse, and inherently creative output. We at RAG shone and continue to shine a light on, and celebrate, the subculture within which skaters are ingrained. We promoted those who listen carefully to the rhythm of the city (arguably best knowing its many contours) and stand in critique of Manchester City Council’s often hostile and antagonistic relationship to skateboarding. Featuring strong local identity through artwork and fragments in time by means of a visual archive, this was a collective event where the older and younger generations of artists and skateboarders were encouraged to exhibit work and reflect on the current moment in Manchester. A visual archive of the city FROM THE GROUND UP!
As part of EAR TO THE GROUND all profits were donated to The Ben Raemers Foundation, which aims to talk more openly about and support those struggling with mental health in the skateboarding community. Beyond this, we encouraged artists to reflect on their own experiences of mental health, perhaps looking at the effect skateboarding has had on their mental health. We wanted all participants to think directly about the communities they’ve grown in and become part of, our support of the foundation hopefully provided an access point for artists and attendees to consider these topics.
This celebration of culture saw the premier of Vic Kretsis’s long anticipated film ‘DOWN LOW’ and One Seven Seven’s ‘Long Hard Look’, as well as archival footage and contemporary, local and emerging artistic output. We came together to reminisce on the past and reflect on what the future might hold.