Think La Machine, Eden and Disney - kicking off with fundraising banquet
IN any walk of life, the winds of change can cause havoc. And when they blew through Wolstenholme Square at the end of 2015 and swept away the Kazimier, there were many who suspected that it might spell the end for the beloved venue’s indefinable creative influence on the city.
After all, the Kazimier was equal parts gig venue, nightclub, twisted cabaret and conceptual hothouse, home to some of the most relentlessly inventive artists and party-starters that Liverpool has known in recent years. As a beacon of creativity in the heart of boozy Ropewalks, how could its elusive spirit be transplanted elsewhere?
There are no gleaming 3D images of these things, no parade of councillors telling us how 'iconic' and 'world-class' it’s all going to be
Within months, however, we had the first indication that the Kazimier’s spirit was refusing to go gracefully. When the team’s new north docks playground, the Invisible Wind Factory, hosted its first public show last May – the extraordinary pagan-rite-cum-space-opera Omphalos: Energy Eternal – it was clear that the singular Kazimier vision was still spawning deliciously inexplicable events.
Since then, the venue has consolidated its place in Liverpool’s cultural landscape, attracting audiences to what was, for many, a previously out-of-mind portion of the city. Club nights, gigs and sheer “WTF?”-type happenings have all occurred within its walls.
It also houses the Kazimier team’s workshops – where they plan and build installations and spectaculars for events such Festival Number 6 and Kendal Calling – along with artists’ studios and a canteen in what was, until recently, a complex of derelict warehouses.
How quickly those winds of change can bring with them new moods, new ways of thinking. If the Invisible Wind Factory’s Regent Road location was once considered to be off the cultural radar, it now finds itself with its own city council-sanctioned branding. The roads book-ended by Costco and Stanley Dock are now the “Ten Streets”, with promises of development as an official “creative quarter” and even a new “stage-around theatre” at some as-yet unspecified future point.
So what is the Invisible Wind Factory planning to imagine into existence now that we’re all getting used to it being where it is?
The latest news from behind those scarlet doors is that summer 2017 sees the launch of “Leisure Land”, which the venue describes as “a living cultural exhibition for Liverpool inspired by the likes of La Machine, Eden Project and Disneyland”.
The Invisible Wind Factory says the project will be a “seasonal visitor attraction” which will grow year by year. It will offer “a world of ‘experiences’ where the public can wander through immersive environments, exploring new concepts in ‘leisure’ and its role in future societies”.
In order to bring this vision to fruition, the venue is running a fundraising campaign, launching with a gala dinner on April 21. The gala will include a banquet, live music, an auction and the chance to take a tour of the factory – exploring the Invisible Wind Factory’s studios, workshops, R&D lab and facilities. There will also be a film presenting the long-term vision for the venue as “a new kind of cultural destination – a theme park of the future”.
Following the launch, a crowd-fundraising campaign will run for 30 days, allowing the public to contribute to the venue’s plans. A similar Kazimier Kickstarter campaign in 2015 raised over £9,000 towards Omphalos: Energy Eternal.
It seems then that with the Kazimier itself now a memory – although its ghost still watches over the continuing Kazimier Garden – this team remains determined to keep its restless life-force kicking and screaming.
It’s the unpredictability that really intrigues, and the sense that what these people imagine really can come true. After all, what is a “theme park of the future”? What is a “living cultural exhibition”? There are no gleaming 3D images of these things, no parade of councillors telling us how “iconic” and “world-class” it’s all going to be.
But if enough people put their hands in their pockets and support the venue’s fundraiser, we’ll find out soon enough. And those winds of change will hopefully continue blowing through the north docks and bring us something very special indeed.