Video still for We Cut Through Dust

A walk into the future, guided by a series of phone calls. Over the course of an hour, you’ll be taken on a journey through the city.

Set in a world not too far from now, you arrive at a location where your phone triggers a giant mechanical sign to open.... and so your story begins.

At a time when everyone has experienced their own kind of science fiction, We Cut Through Dust hovers somewhere between the real and the fantastical, where something is not quite right. In fact, it might not be how you imagined things were going to be at all.

“So much talk of ‘levelling up’ the arts – uprooting London institutions, breaking up already meagre budgets and spreading them thinly across the country – misses the point. We Cut Through Dust starts from a different place, empowering marginalised people, reinventing derelict spaces, ­revitalising lives and threading people back into communities.” – The Mirror

Artists’ Statement

At the start, we chose to work on a story set slightly in the future, which slowly became much more of a love story about two men, set in adverse times. Building on the experiences of the members of Manchester Street Poem, surrounded by the challenges of the political climate in which we all live, the world of We Cut Through Dust is a blend of many things. A fire in a shitty hotel sets the whole story in motion. A hum across the city prompts a division in society of those who can leave, those that want to stay in their city and those who have no choice.

Science fiction is something we all experience, the future just out of sight, an imaginative unknown and we are always stepping into it, unfurling it all around us. And that’s why it stuck. Anything can happen in the next moment and our minds are capable of such huge leaps, even if this is not always helpful and the brain is not always very reliable or our best friend.

At its best for me, science fiction give us a new sense of possibility, allowing us to do other things, to act otherwise and to try on new ways of being. This is not about silver spacesuits and flying cars, this is about the grubby, the beautiful and the messy days of tomorrow. It consists of three calls and is constructed out of writing made over eighteen months by seventeen people.

You hear all of this told in the voices of Manchester Street Poem on your phone. There are no actors here.

We Cut Through Dust is a collaboration between Blast Theory and Manchester Street Poem, a co-produced art collective whose works reflect the personal experiences of Manchester’s marginalised communities. No strangers to the Festival, Manchester Street Poem first featured in MIF17 and have worked closely alongside MIF ever since, making space for the stories of those who find themselves homeless in the city.

We Cut Through Dust has been made in collaboration between Blast Theory and Manchester Street Poem.

Commissioned by Factory International for Manchester International Festival.

Produced by Blast Theory.

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