Social Capital: Construction and destruction in 48 hours

Social Capital building design by Anthony Whittaker

29 March – 30 March 2014

Blank Media Collective invites you to help construct a new ‘community’ building in the heart of Manchester, during the Future Everything weekend (Sat 29 – Sun 30 March). The building which will be ceremonially destroyed immediately after completion on Sun 30 March, in an echo of a 6,000 year old community tradition.

As part of this year’s FutureEverything festival, the Blank Media Collective team will set up a workshop and construction site in a previously un-explored city centre location. They will spend the duration of the festival on-site, manufacturing building blocks and constructing a new addition to the city’s skyline, just a stone’s throw away from the Manchester’s major landmarks and monuments. Unlike those monuments, the Social Capital building will be built to last barely one day.

Archaeologists have found evidence that over 6000 years ago, grand ‘halls’ were built by communities, only to be destroyed shortly after completion. These people believed that buildings had a more significant impact on a community if they existed as a shared memory rather than as a physical structure.

Social Capital intends to echo this ancient tradition in the contemporary urban landscape of modern Manchester, but also in the ‘future’ city projected by Future Everything.

During the Future Everything festival (27th March – 1st April) Manchester city centre will become a ‘speculative city’ under the banner of City Fictions, the theme of this year’s festival. Blank Media Collective’s Social Capital will become an ephemeral institution in Future Everything’s fictional city.

Architecture student Anthony Whittaker has been researching the use of experimental materials in construction and has designed the structure of the Social Capital building, using bricks made from plaster of Paris and newspapers. Blank Media Collective invite the public to help them manufacture these bricks and help physically build the structure, scheduled for completion bySunday 30 March.

On Sunday, the temporary structure will be destroyed at a special gathering and the remains of the building left standing until the end of the festival. The experimental materials, when destroyed, will leave behind the skeleton structure, becoming a temporary monument and a comment on a community’s relationship to its buildings and itself; exploring the ideas of preservation, loss and mourning.