Machine / Icon / Monument

Machine / Icon / Monument is a collaboration between Melanie Wilson, Louise Blackwell and Hawkins Brown Architects.

This performance project draws together a group of women from the areas of outdoor art, choreography, music and architecture, to respond to the conflicted status of female labour.

Drawing on the history and present of feminist ideas from Marxism, economics, architecture, ecology and land art, the project represents and challenges the unpaid labour and work of women across time and society, hidden by contemporary economics and politically denied by policy makers.

The heart of the project is a day-long outdoor performance, in which an ensemble of women construct a large pavilion-like sculpture in public space. The construction work is both real and symbolic, making space for visible female endeavour in the public domain, standing as an icon for the future of equitable female work, and as a monument to the women who have gone before.

These acts aim to celebrate and converse with women and their communities, and connect them to contemporary ideas about how our social structures problematise female work, how we experience those barriers in our lives, how we support each other to navigate them and what we can do to change them.

The project uses three concepts to inform and power these aims: process, connection and relation. Three ideas to change the world.

The project is in development through 2020.

An R&D phase has been supported by outdoor arts consortium Without Walls and Manchester International Festival.

For further information, contact Louise Blackwell at:


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