Wondering what’s going on above Abingdon Street Market? Are there unusual and interesting comings and goings as the creators and artists pass through the magical doorway to the left of the main entrance.

Blackpool’s newest dedicated arts studio and project space will be opening its doors for a late night launch by artist Michael Ridge on Thursday 9 April. Knit, Loop & Grate will be the first exhibition to take place at the town centre studios and will be a chance for the public to get a first look at the newly developed project space on the second floor.

Knit, Loop and Grate is a series of new compact cassette and record works from UK based multimedia artist Michael Ridge. This series explores the creative deconstruction and reimagining of both audio formats whilst utilising them in ways in which they were never intended. Conceptually inspired by twentieth century Dada and Fluxus works, viewers will be presented with pieces that can be best described as insightful, interactive and perhaps a little absurd!

Several pieces are the result of collaborations with textile artist and illustrator Lisa Little and Douglas Lucas of NONE records (USA). Michael has exhibited and performed at a variety of venues including Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Louise T Blouin Institute, Royal Opera House (London), Rathmines Library (Dublin), New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Phoenix Art Museum (USA).

Since 2008 he has been a member of the Norwich artist collective other/other/other and in 2013 with fine artist Elizabeth Scrase co-founded Ridge & Scrase, a sonic art and drawing collaboration.

Michael also runs the DIY record label Quagga Curious Sounds and releases and performs Noise music under the name Zebra Mu.  This collaboration with Abingdon Studios has recently received funding from LeftCoast through its Future Popular mini commissions scheme created to enable Blackpool and Wyre based artists to run projects to engage and attract new audiences.

The Abingdon Street Studios exhibition forms part of the Other Worlds Festival of experimental music and sound art, a first for Blackpool, taking place over the weekend of 10-12 April. The festival is the brain child of Rick Thompson and Carlito Juanito, founders of independent label Must Die Records.

During the show, visitors will also get the chance to meet the resident artists of at Abingdon Studios: Sean Payne, Jayne Simpson,  Brendan Bunting, Nick Kowalski, Ann Carragher and Ruth Heritage upstairs with guest artist Lisa Wigham.

Garth Gratrix, Places Project Manager at LeftCoast and originator of the Abingdon Studios project through Blackpool Council’s Economic Development Division, said:

“It is a really exciting time for Abingdon Studios now that the space has a full complement of artists in place and we’re all thrilled to be in a position to welcome the public into the space. Having Michael bringing his exhibition to town to link in with the Other Worlds Festival felt like the perfect opportunity and we hope that lots of people will come along to see what we’re all about.”


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