Merge Festival Returns to Bankside

Savannah Before I Die by Trevor Coe

If you live or work in Bankside, the stretch of river between Blackfriars Bridge and London Bridge, prepare to have your usual cityscape artistically altered in the coming weeks.

Hoardings and buildings are being transformed into works of art as part of the Merge Festival, kicking off next Thursday. Head down Blackfriars Road to see an “upside down building”, created by sculptor Alex Chinneck, to highlight the structure’s “history and life.” Outside Tate Modern, the Riverside Stage on the walkway by the Millennium Bridge will host live bands at the weekends. And if you’re in Flat Iron Square, you can contribute to the art yourself, adding your thoughts and ambitions to a giant blackboard: Candy Chang’s ‘Before I Die’ installation is one of more than 150 Before I Die walls, in over 40 countries including Kazakhstan, Argentina, China, Italy, Israel, Thailand, and South Africa.

More unique to London is the Kirkaldy Testing Museum (one of the city’s stranger museums) which will also be hosting event during the festival. Artist James Capper will be working with a unique Victorian water-powered hydraulic testing machine to create new sculptures, “merging art and science”. Two sound artists, Dan Wilson and Chris Weaver, will also be performing in the museum for Merge. Oscillatorial Binnage – Music at Breaking point is a site-specific work which turns the museum’s machines into electro-acoustic instruments “to draw out their unusual musical properties.”

Curated by Illuminate Productions, there are plenty of other exciting-sounding “happenings” taking part during Merge. Check out their website, below, for some more ideas.

Merge Festival runs from 19 September to 20 October, at various venues all around London’s Bankside. Visit mergefestival.co.uk to find out more. Or follow the festival on Facebook or twitter @MergeFestival.

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