Red tape start to BE Festival

Ambitious project sees artists draw a line across Birmingham.

Most people moan about ‘red tape’, but artists in Birmingham are using over a mile of the stuff to create a new artwork designed to bring very different parts of the city together and make people think.

ASINGELINE is a large-scale outdoor arts project aiming to join two points of the city together with one long straight line. The 2km red line connects Ladywood, one of the city’s most deprived areas, with the city centre, one of the richest.

The red line, created with heavy duty red tape, crosses everything in its path, including public spaces, such as streets and parks, and private ones such as houses, shops and restaurants. The project, created by German artists Mamaza, is part of BE FESTIVAL, Birmingham’s European performing arts festival, which takes place from 4th-8th July.

ASINGELINE aims to connect communities rather than create borders and as a work of art creates a focal point to bring communities together. Miguel Oyarzun and Isla Aguilar, Directors of BE FESTIVAL said: “The arts are a vital way of bringing communities together. A year after the UK voted to leave the EU, and with hate crime and inequality on the rise, it’s the perfect time for this artwork in Birmingham.

“It’s an inspiring project to open up the conversation, joining together two places which are so close together geographically, but so far apart in terms of economics.
As they’ve created the line over the last few days, the artists have encountered all kinds of people from very different backgrounds. It’s been a great way to start conversations about immigration, community cohesion and Brexit. The interactions were filmed and photographed and we will be showing the results throughout this year’s festival.”

SINGELINE starts from City Road, Ladywood at the site where three young Muslim men were murdered whilst protecting community property during the Birmingham riots in 2011. The completion of the line literally took centre stage last night at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in the city’s Centenary Square to coincide with the opening of BE FESTIVAL.

Fabrice Mazliah and May Zarhy of Mamaza have previously realized ASINGELINE in Belgium, South Africa and Nigeria but this is the first time they have attempted the project in the UK.