Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool Biennial’

We’re in Liverpool again. I blame the artists: in the run-up to Liverpool Biennial, artworks described as ‘crazy’ by one of their curators dot the city and there’s something about them that I can’t resist. So Milo and I have come to Liverpool and stomped all the way up Greenland Street to see a huge new work that’s called Arbores Laetae (or the Joyful Trees).

It’s fabulous: a newly planted park now stands by the side of one of the busiest roads in Liverpool. Trees line the edge and, at the centre, three of them slowly revolve, as if inhabiting tiny planets spinning on their own axis. Or maybe they just sway in a supernatural breeze.

‘What do you think, Milo?’

Milo stomps about all over the verdant grass but is only interested in one thing: the emergency stop button that (presumably) cuts the power supply to the plates beneath the moving trees. He spends a long time exploring the big red stop button, hitting it vainly with his tiny hands in the hope that something, anything, might happen.

‘Look at the trees, Milo, they’re moving all by themselves!’

Milo looks longingly at the red button again and then tilts his head back to look at the leaf-framed sky. He giggles, showing me his teeth, and then gets back to the important business of trying to disconnect the power.

While Milo gets up close and personal with the National Grid, I glance at the traffic thundering by. We’re at the crossroads of Great George Street and Parliament Street; it’s four or more lanes across and what those in the planning department call an arterial route.

‘Hey boy, can I tell you a story?’ I ask Milo as I heft him back into his pushchair.

Luckily for me, Milo has not yet learned the art of rolling his eyes, nor is he bored with all my tall tales.

‘See that pedestrian crossing over there? I was going home on the bus one day when we pulled up at the traffic lights. Sat on the top deck, right at the front, I saw this little dog running down the road, heading right for us.’

Milo and I are heading back into town, past a strange assortment of cute little houses wedged in between an industrial estate.

‘But when the dog got to the pedestrian crossing, he stopped. He looked right, then left and then just waited. The traffic came to a slow stop and, outside, I could hear the beep beep beep of the pedestrian crossing. The dog looked up as if making sure he could see the green man and then trotted safely across the road.’

Milo appears to be nodding off. I lean over the pram.

‘So there you go. A dog that can use a pedestrian crossing; how clever is that?’

Milo’s slumped against the side of his pushchair, his eyes glazed over. I don’t think he believes me but I swear it’s true: when I lived in Liverpool, Scouse dogs knew the Green Cross Code.

Incidentally, the theme of this year’s Biennial is ‘Made Up’.

Ratings: Babychanging facilities: No. Cafe: No. Buggy-friendly? No. Cost: Free Worth it? Yes, of course: Liverpool Biennial artworks are great for kids.

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