Capital Circus Chapter One
Cinematographer: Shaina Anand
Duration: 00:20:33; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 31.237; Saturation: 0.032; Lightness: 0.426; Volume: 0.208; Cuts per Minute: 17.650; Words per Minute: 107.845
Summary: Capital Circus. Chapter-I 23 minutes.
The Arndale Mall in the Manchester City Center was equipped with 206 CCTV cameras at the time of the project, "with more being added each day". These cameras do not include 'in-store' surveillance, they cover the ‘street’ areas of the Mall. The mall was also the site of the largest IRA bombing in the UK, (in 1996) and its rebuilding (to create the largest Mall in the UK) marked the beginning of Manchester City's massive regeneration program. In Manchester you inevitably stumble upon the saying: the IRA bomb saved Manchester. On a tour of the city recently, the tour-guide stopped outside the mall and told us, “In England we say, ‘Every dark cloud has its silver lining...’the rebuilding of the city was the silver lining of the bombing...."
Manchester is the first industrial city in he world. It was here that Engels wrote 'The Condition of the Working Class in England’ in 1844. From the turn of the 19th century, Manchester's modern history is populated with events and movements that mark modern history, globally. From the Peterloo massacre in 1819, the chartist movement, the women’s suffragette movement, the anti-corn law league, the birth of workers papers and radical press, to Bob Dylans 'electric' concert, the birth of punk... the bomb.
This work combines CCTV footage with a audio narration of some of this history. By having over 100 members of the public sign 'image-release' forms, the crew manipulated the UK Data Protection Act to have 'public' access to the surveillance feed from the 206 cameras. This is the visual source material for a serialised film, Capital Circus, which looks deep inside the “archive” of Manchester City. The control room of the Arndale acts as a window to the past, the areas covered by the cameras echo the stories and actual locations of the city before. Chapter I takes us to the mid-1800’s.
Operator: Right so you've read the rules. You get one free trial view. Then you've got to pay per view. We don't charge you for previews though, you can preview as much as you like.
Visitor: Oh cool!
Operator: So what can I do for you then, what are you looking for?
Operator: Let's see what we've got. 1950's, 1900's, 1850's....
Visitor: it's actually 1844.
Operator: Yes I know.
Operator: Here it is. I could pay the preview.
Visitor: Yes please thank you.
Operator: Engels. Born 1820. Barmen, Germany. Came Manchester in 1841 to manage his father's mill. The Victoria Mill of Ermen and Engels. Engels did his job alright, but he would leave his fathers factory, and go out in the streets and slums of Manchester and speak to workers outside. He was kind of like a...a social investigator.
Operator: Would you like to review it?
Visitor: Uh, huh.
Engels V/O: The town itself is peculiarly built. So that a person may live in it for years and go in and out daily without coming into contact with the working people's quarters or even with workers. That is so long as he confines himself to his business or to pleasure walks. This arises chiefly from the fact that by unconscious tacit agreement as well as with outspoken conscious determination the working people's quarters are sharply separated from the sections of the city reserved for the middle class.
Engels V/O: But all this is nothing in comparison with the courts and lanes which lie behind to which access can be gained only through covered passages in which no two human beings can pass at the same time.
Engels V/O: Of the irregular cramming together of dwellings in ways which defy all rational plans, of the tangle in which they are crowded literally one over the other, it is impossible to convey an idea. And it is not buildings surviving from the old times of Manchester, which are to blame for this. The confusion has only recently reached its height when every scrap of space left by the old way building has been throwed up and patched over until not a foot of land is left to be further occupied. And such a district exists in the heart of first manufacturing city of the world. If anyone wishes to see in how little space a human being can move, how little air... and such air he can breathe, how little of civilisation he may share and yet live, it is only necessary to travel hither. True, this is the old town and the people of Manchester emphasize the fact whenever anyone mentions to them the frightful condition of this hell upon earth. Everything which here arouses horror and indignation is of recent origin. Belongs to the industrial epoch.
Engels V/O: The history of the proletariat in England begins with the second half of the last century, with the invention of the steam-engine and of machinery for working cotton. These inventions gave rise, as is well known, to an industrial revolution, a revolution which altered the whole civil society; one, the historical importance of which is only now beginning to be recognised. England is the classic soil of this transformation, which was all the mightier, the more silently it proceeded; and England is, therefore, the classic land of its chief product also, the proletariat. Only in England can the proletariat be studied in all its relations and from all sides.The effects of modern manufacture upon the working class must necessarily develop here most freely and perfectly. And the manufacturing proletariat present itself in its fullest classic perfection.
Engels V/O: The degradation to which the application of steam-power, machinery and the division of labour reduce the working-man, and the attempts of the proletariat to rise above this abasement, must likewise be carried to the highest point and with the fullest consciousness. Because Manchester is the classic type of a modern manufacturing town, and because I know it as intimately as my own native town, more intimately than most of its residents know it, we shall make a longer stay here.
Engels V/O: Since commerce and manufacture attain their most complete development in these great towns, their influence upon the proletariat is also most clearly observable here. Here the centralisation of property has reached the highest point; here the morals and customs of the good old times are most completely obliterated; here it has gone so far that the name Merry Old England conveys no meaning, for Old England itself is unknown to memory and even to the tales of our grandfathers.
Engels V/O: Hence, too, there exist here only a rich and a poor class, for the lower middle-class vanishes more completely with every passing day. Thus the class formerly most stable has become the most restless one. It consists to-day of a few remnants of a past time, and a number of people eager to make fortunes, industrial Micawbers and speculators of whom one may amass a fortune, while ninety-nine become insolvent, and more than half of the ninety-nine live by perpetually repeated failure.
Engels V/O: Between June 12th and August 3rd, 1843, the Manchester Guardian reported the following serious accidents (the trifling ones it does not notice): June 12th, a boy died in Manchester of lockjaw, caused by his hand being crushed between wheels. June 16th, a youth in Saddleworth seized by a wheel and carried away with it; died, utterly mangled. June 29th, a young man at Green Acres Moor, near Manchester, at work in a machine shop, fell under the grindstone, which broke two of his ribs and lacerated him terribly. July 24th, a girl in Oldham died, carried around fifty times by a strap; no bone unbroken.
Engels V/O: Let the wise bourgeois ask the people who sweep the streets in Manchester (though even this is past now, since machines for the purpose have been invented ), or those who sell salt, matches, oranges, and shoe-strings on the streets, or even those who beg, what they were formerly, and he will see how many will answer: "Mill-hands thrown out of work by machinery."
Engels V/O: The numbers of arrests for criminal offences reached in the years: 1805, 4,605; 1810, 5,146; 1815, 7,898; 1820, 13,710; 1825, 14,437; 1830, 18,107; 1835, 20,731; 1840, 27,187; 1841, 27,760; 1842, 31,309 in England and Wales alone.
Engels V/O: What inducement has the proletarian not to steal! It is all very pretty and very agreeable to the ear of the bourgeois to hear the "sacredness of property" asserted; but for him who has none, the sacredness of property dies out of itself. Money is the god of this world; the bourgeois takes the proletarian's money from him and so makes a practical atheist of him.
Engels V/O: The workers soon realised that crime did not help matters. The criminal could protest against the existing order of society only singly, as one individual; the whole might of society was brought to bear upon each criminal, and crushed him with its immense superiority. Such as the old town of Manchester. And on re-reading my description, I am forced to admit that instead a being exaggerated, its far from...
Visitor: Is that Marx who he meets?
Operator: Yes it is. It says here that they first met in 1844. Engels had been contributing to Marx's journal. They became close and in 1845. Marx was in political exile in France was brought here by Engels. They spent six months here writing together.
Marx V/O: The moment the workers resolve to be bought and sold no longer, when, in the determination of the value of labour, they take the part of men possessed of a will as well as of working power, at that moment the whole Political Economy of today is at an end.
Marx V/O: It is too late for a peaceful solution. The classes are divided more and more sharply, the spirit of resistance penetrates the workers, the bitterness intensifies, the guerilla skirmishes become concentrated in more important battles, and soon a slight impulse will suffice to set the avalanche in motion. Then, indeed, will the war-cry resound through the land.
Operator: For Engels the graphic depiction of the slum areas of the city of crime, infrastructre, death, decay served as a backdrop for what he saw as the mathematical certainty of proletarian revolution that he and Marx were to write about in one of the most influential political manuscripts.
Operator: Well, the system recommends that we view the next clip. Remember you'll be charged for this one.
Marx V/O: The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society, has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East Indian and Chinese markets, the colonization of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known. The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the worldmarket given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country.
Marx V/O: The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian nations into civilization. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i. e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.
Marx V/O: Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the netherworld whom he has called up by his spells.
Marx V/O: For many a decade past, the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial. each time more threateningly. In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity--the epidemic of overproduction. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce.
Marx V/O: The constant revolutionizing of production, the uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeoisie epoch from all earlier ones.
Marx V/O: All fixed, fast-frozen relations with their trail of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions are swept away. All new formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air. All that is holy is profaned and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.
Visitor: Do you have anything shot that's like.. free to watch?
Operator: We have a few. This one's written on the town hall bells.
BBC Operator: Hello! And welcome to this recording brought to you by the British Council. 'Ring out wild bells' by Alfred Lord Tennyson. "Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light; The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more, Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to all mankind. Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife; Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws. Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Ring out wild bells
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It occurred at 11:16 a.m. (GMT) on Saturday 15 June 1996, when the IRA detonated a bomb containing 1500kg (3300 lb) of explosives. The bomb was located in a Ford lorry parked two hours earlier in Corporation Street, between the Arndale Centre and the city's Marks and Spencer store, close to the centre of the city's shopping district. It was the largest IRA bomb ever detonated in Great Britain, and the largest bomb to explode in Great Britain since the Second World War.
Operator: Shortly before 10'o clock local time we received a warning that a bomb may go off in Manchester City Center. As a result our police officers evacuated a large part of the major shopping center called 'The Arndale Center' in the center of Manchester. And we called the bomb squad... the bomb disposal experts to the scene. We had found a vehicle that seemed suspicious and the bomb disposal experts....
Manchester City Center
inset: Boot Room video made for Manchester City Council about the regeneration of Manchester after the 1996 bombing.
right: end credits for short film, Capital Circus. 2008.