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 Pockets of [Manchester] is an interactive drift and assemblage montage randomly and collaboratively generated through gifts and referrals.
Piccadilly Gardens is a grassy space in the heart of Manchester. A mishmash of green and concrete surrounds what was once a water feature focal point. The fountains don’t appear to have been working for some time and so a dozen planted boxes have been placed around the space to give people sitting on the surrounding benches something colourful and verdant to look at.
A large loft of pigeons congregate on the fountains. When agitated by dogs or small children they sweep and turmoil around the ducking heads of pedestrians walking on the road dissecting the gardens.
To begin my journey, I stood in the gardens, holding up the below sign:
Ike was the first person who approached me in response to the sign. He told me that he was in town looking for fabric to tailor some traditional Nigerian garments. I explained to him about what I was doing and he sent me to see his pastor, Timi Davies at Winners Chapel International.
Winners Chapel International is an evangelical “living faith church”. The Manchester branch is housed in a tabernacle-sized venue space. Gospel mood music was being piped into the main reception where I asked to see the resident pastor, Timi Davies.
I was told to take a seat and wait for Timi as he was currently engaged with guests. While I waited, I heard vehement “hallelujahs” and “praise your name lord Jesus’s” escaping from a prayer session taking place in one of the adjacent rooms.
Eventually, Pastor Timi emerged and I explained to him about what I was doing.
Pastor Timi declined participating explaining that the person who he really wanted me to meet personally was the god of the gospel. He then proceeded to proselytize to me about his faith.
As Pastor Davies declined participation, I returned to Piccadilly Gardens with my sign to start over.
This time the first person to approach me was a lad called Ritchie. Ritchie asked me if I was lost. Ritchie’s older sister, Rylie and his mother Rachel soon joined him. They told me that they go Piccadilly Gardens every other weekend and bring with them sandwiches, cake and fruit to feed to homeless people.
After I explained to them about what I was doing, they sent me to Afflecks Palace. They told me that they had just bought some incense sticks there.
I’m able to see anyone I choose in Afflecks.