Machine / Icon / Monument

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

In March 2018, supported by outdoor arts consortium; Without Walls and Manchester International Festival, an all female company of 7 dancers, 3 architects, a structural engineer, choreographer, movement director, production manager, producer and lead artist Melanie Wilson, undertook two weeks of research into a brand new idea about the history and future of female endeavour.

The project will develop throughout 2019 and be presented in a range of UK locations from May to September 2020.

Machine/Icon/Monument presents the endeavour of a group of diverse women constructing a large architectural sculpture in a public city centre space. The group build the structure over the course of a day, in an eight hour durational performance, the last hour of which includes music, singing and poetic text.

The structure, once built, can be used and interacted with by the public, and can remain for a weekend or for up to two weeks. During its residency, the structure will house a series of public debates, talks, music and events on themes related to the status and future of female work and gender roles, the city as a space for radical ideas and the future for communal public space. At the end of its stay, the structure is taken down in a mirrored performance.

The project will have a public presence in each location and will comment upon and work in conjunction with the existing architecture of the place. The project offers positive representation and memorialisation of female endeavour and challenges gender roles through the sight of women undertaking hard construction.

For further information, email Louise Blackwell at:


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