“On the lower right bank stands a long row of houses and mills; the second house being a ruin without a roof, piled with debris; the third stands so low that the lowest floor is uninhabitable, and therefore without windows or doors. Here the background embraces the pauper burial-ground, the station of the Liverpool and Leeds railway, and, in the rear of this, the Workhouse, the ‘Poor-Law Bastille’ of Manchester, which, like a citadel, looks threateningly down from behind its high walls and parapets on the hilltop, upon the working-people’s quarter below.”
– From The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844 by Friedrich Engels
The embryonic musings of what was later to become socialism, The Condition of the Working Class in England was written by the 22 year old son of an industrialist on his arrival in Manchester in 1842, the heart of the industrial revolution. Sent to run a factory in order to ‘stay out of trouble’, young Engels ventured out at night after his hours managing the factory to undertake a social investigation, prowling the mean, dangerous streets of Manchester’s poorest districts. Correlating industrialisation with the declining condition of the labouring class, Engel’s legendary account includes resonant descriptions of urban living in the nineteenth century documenting disease and poor sanitation resulting from rapid growth and exploitation. By the age of 24 Engels had completed the Condition of the Working Class. Originally published in 1844 in German, addressed specifically to German audiences, it was not published in English for another 47 years.
Reading for Reading’s Sake have invited Artist Rainer Ganahl (Austrian, based in NY) to be in residence in Greater Manchester from 18th- 22nd May 2011 as part of the Bury Text Festival. Ganahl will be hosting a reading seminar on Engels’ the Condition of the Working Classes over three days, culminating in a solo show where documentation of the seminar will be shown. The 3 seminars will take place on the following dates: Weds 18th May 2011, 18.30 pm-20.30 pm, Thurs 19th, May 2011, 2pm-4pm and Fri 20th May 2011, 18.30pm-20.30 pm at Bury Transport Museum. Reading seminars have been part of the artist’s practice for around 15 years and you can see some of the previous here.http://www.ganahl.info/reading.html
This is not an academic exercise for people specifically interested in the work of Engels, it is open to all aptitudes. No prior reading knowledge or advance reading is required. All reading will take place during the 2 hours sessions over 3 days. Participants in the reading seminar will be filmed and photographed as part of an artwork by Rainer Ganahl, and at the end of the 3 days will be gifted a limited edited print artwork by the artist in gratitude of contributions.
If you are interested in the reading seminar, please get in touch with curator Helen Kaplinsky at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Ganahl seminar’ as the subject.
The exhibition and seminars take place at Bury Transport Museum, Castlecroft Road, BL9 0LN
We also have opportunities to volunteer with the production of the exhibition. Please contact Helen with ‘Ganahl Volunteer’ as the subject for further information.