A Drunk Pandemic was an unexpected look at the 1830 cholera epidemic in Manchester.
Thousands of working class people were buried in mass grave pits under parts of central Manchester. Others survived only because they drank beer rather than Manchester’s disease-filled water supply.
During the festival, Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom built an entire underground brewery in a secret city-centre location (actually an abandoned tunnel area under Manchester Victoria Railway Station.)
Visitors were able to taste the specially brewed drink ‘A Drop of Pandemic’ during brewery tours. The space also hosted pub quizzes hosted by members of Chim↑Pom, along with more serious fare. History experts led talks around this hidden piece of local history, and how the working classes were viewed back in the 19th century.
We’re thrilled to see this event take on a whole new life on the far side of the globe. We wish Chim↑Pom and ANOMALY all the best in bringing A Drunk Pandemic to a new audience.
A Drunk Pandemic was commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and Contact. It was created by Chim↑Pom and Curated by Contact Young Curators.
Wez, one of the Young Curators team, said “A Drunk Pandemic was an amazing event which shone light on Manchester’s hidden history in a very real and tactile way, because of its location of the mass burial site and because you could see the beer being brewed and drink it.
It’s amazing it is being shown in the artist’s home country and I think it’s a particularly important piece to show now in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. Just as the show felt real to mMancunians because of the history and the fact it was site specific, anywhere in the world will now feel the power and reality of the piece as we can see how differently a disease affects those with wealth and those with not. Like all diseases, COVID-19 is most certainly not a leveler.”
Watch below: Contact Young Curators explain A Drunk Pandemic
Speaking of fermentation and brewing, Wez has spent lockdown developing a very different idea with some equally tasty results. Discover Fermentation here.