IF Liverpool's Biennial have been accused of playing to the national cultural elite in the past, this year may well be seen as an attempt to reconnect with those in the place it calls home.
Biennial 2016 launched today - in Liverpool - putting some flesh on the bones of a programme announced last November which sees 42 artists commissioned from across the world and another 10 from the north.
The city's ninth Biennial, which claims it will bring £21 million into the city this summer, has put the city's political and social past as its core while taking on the mantle for "preserving the future of art" in the city.
At the centre of of the July-October arts fest are three episodes: Children, Ancient Greece and Chinatown.
Venues include the cavernous canning plant of Cains Brewery, India Buildings, the disused ABC cinema on Lime Street, Clarence Dock and the St James Oratory. Organisers say Streets, pubs, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets will also host events alongside the usual Tate Liverpool, FACT, Open Eye Gallery and Bluecoat.
Following on from the popular success of its Dazzle Ferry commission with Peter Blake, three working Arriva buses will be given an artistic makeover - one of them designed by kids.
Reflecting on Liverpool’s radical political history, Japanese artist Koki Tanaka revisits the scene of a huge protest in Liverpool in 1985. It involved around 10,000 children, demonstrating against the Conservative Government’s Youth Training Scheme.
In the days before Snapchat and Instagram, where the political spleen is now more likely to be vented via a hashtag, such mobilisations were not uncommon in Liverpool.
Tanaka hopes to bring together original participants and their children for a walk through the city, from St George’s Hall to the Pier Head, retracing the original route. Children will lead the interviews for the artist’s film of the project, which will be shown at Open Eye Gallery throughout the Biennial.
British artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd has also been commissioned to create a film, Dogsy Ma Bone, entirely cast, produced and directed with young people from Liverpool. The auditions tale place this Sunday at the Black- E.
Merseyside-born artist Mark Leckey will present Dream English Kid, a film inspired by events in his life from the 1970s to 1990s. The film will be screened alongside new sculptural works in the Saw Mill, the former entrance to Cream.
The second "episode" is Ancient Greece, the inspiration behind many of Liverpool’s grandest buildings.
A floor of Tate Liverpool will be transformed into Ancient Greece and will borrow the Walker Art Gallery's Ince Blundell sculptures to show alongside new commissions by international artists including Andreas Angelidakis, Koenraad Dedobbeleer and Jumana Manna.
Outside the Mersey Tunnel George’s Dock Ventilation Tower, the celebrated American artist Betty Woodman will create a large-scale bronze fountain made from Woodman’s characteristic vessels and fresco-like sculptural works.
And reminding us of an earlier Biennial commission, Antony Gormley's Another Place, Clarence Dock will be drained and filled with casts of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, secured to the floor of the dock in concrete. Throughout the run of the Biennial, the dock will very slowly fill with water again.
"This new work is part of Lara Favaretto’s ‘Momentary Monuments’ series: sculptural works that point towards ultimate futility in the act of memorialisation, and the impermanence of monuments themselves," it says here.
Episode three, Chinatown, acknowledges Liverpool’s heritage as Europe’s oldest Chinese community in Europe.
Among a lot of inpenetrable stuff yet to be fathomed - mainly involving FACT - work by 15 artists from all parts of the world will be featured in a show at Cains Brewery.
Watch out for an installation by Iranian artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian who have been exiled for their own safety in Dubai since 2009. They will be sending a shipping container by sea full of works from their art collection and artefacts from their home, to be reassembled in Liverpool.
Biennial Artistic Director Sally Tallant said: "'While children from Liverpool and beyond will participate in and visit Liverpool Biennial 2016, the reality is that arts subjects are being marginalised within their day-to-day schooling. Their cultural education is being eroded; they are rapidly losing the opportunity to participate and succeed in the arts."
Who's who: The artist roll call for Biennial 2016
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Jordan/UK/Lebanon), Andreas Angelidakis (Greece/Norway), Alisa Baremboym (USA), Lucy Beech (UK), Mariana Castillo Deball (Mexico), Yin-Ju Chen (Taiwan), Ian Cheng (USA), Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (Australia/UK), Céline Condorelli (Italy/Switzerland/France), Audrey Cottin (France), Koenraad Dedobbeleer (Belgium), Jason Dodge (USA), Lara Favaretto (Italy), Danielle Freakley (Australia), Coco Fusco (USA), Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni (France), Hato (UK), Ana Jotta (Portugal), Samson Kambalu (Malawi), Oliver Laric (Austria), Mark Leckey (UK), Adam Linder (Australia), Marcos Lutyens (UK), Jumana Manna (Palestine), Rita McBride (USA), Dennis McNulty (Ireland), Elena Narbutaite (Lithuania), Lu Pingyuan (China), Michael Portnoy (USA), Sahej Rahal (India), Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian (Iran), Koki Tanaka (Japan), Suzanne Treister (UK), Villa Design Group (UK/USA), Krzysztof Wodiczko (Poland), Betty Woodman (USA), Arseny Zhilyaev (Russia).
Associate Artists are: Simeon Barclay (Leeds), Jacqueline Bebb (Chester), Lindsey Bull (Manchester), Robert Carter & Lauren Velvick (Manchester), Nina Chua (Manchester), Matthew Crawley (Leeds), Frances Disley (Liverpool), Daniel Fogarty (Manchester), Harry Meadley (Leeds), Stephen Sheehan (Birkenhead)
Partner exhibitions showing during Liverpool Biennial 2016 are: John Moores Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery and Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Bluecoat.