Factotum, Belfast

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updated on 21 June 2019


Factotum is an arts organisation or artists' project that was formed in 2001 by Stephen Hackett and Richard West, who both wanted to create projects outside conventional exhibition spaces or formats. The first Factotum work was a video piece called 'Bottletops', which consisted of still photographs taken around Belfast with comic explanatory captions. This was animated (unintentionally) in such a way that the captions changed before the viewer had time to read them. This work was premiered at a book launch in Catalyst Arts in 2001. It was subsequently lost, though a copy of it may exist in Northern Spain.

Company description
An early ambition was to publish a free newspaper but with no resources early projects concentrated on a (less expensive) series of guided tours of central Belfast called 'What's He Building in There?' and contemporary dance pieces, for which the organisation was very proud to receive a nomination for the Belfast City Council Arts Awards. Just as it seemed Factotum was destined to express itself entirely through the medium of dance, the opportunity arose to design and generate editorial for a community newspaper called Citywide. This newspaper appeared to have arisen by accident as it was published by a charity mostly concerned with the care of the elderly and run by a Canadian woman who would have to return to her home country once her visa ran out. In 2003 Factotum volunteered to take over the running of the paper (and its generous grant from the Department of Culture) and modified its name to The Vacuum (it's Citywide). Also in January 2003 Factotum completed its first large project, a book and CD package called Belfast Songs, which was launched with a jukebox jury event to decide the audience's favourite song about the city.
Publishers, Exhibitions, Distribution, Project, Arts Organisations, Animated, Bottle Tops
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