Video Jam

20 October
Manchester Museum

The founders of Video Jam may have migrated down south, but they're welcome back any time. Manchester Science Festival proved to be a worthy opportunity to exhibit their tried and often untested, impromptu or refreshingly under-rehearsed combinations of audio and visual.

With Tyrannosaurus Rex claws resting atop the temporary screen in the museum's Fossils Gallery, the selected films' themes were often scientific in fitting with the festival and venue context, including a handful from the Wellcome Collection archives.

The appeal lies in the unexpected and eclectic responses to short visual pairings, curated by Video Jam themselves. For the musician, you get what you're given, opening up a world a possibilities. To an old public information film for early antibiotics research, RNCM graduates Vandepeer Quartet performed a minimalist piece with ribbons shimmering stringed instruments. Contrast this with the electronic artist Kelly Jayne Jones' sonic narrative to Vimukthi Jayasundara's scenic think piece and there's an idea of the breadth of styles and innovations on display.

Of the picks on the day, the most frenetic was Jaydev Mistry's industrial techno made to almost seamlessly match with the full-throttle stop-motion of the world's various species, and Carmel Smickersgill's deft composition as played by her instrumental ensemble.

Following Video Jam's own Paul Evans' ambient rendition and Rebekah Reid's looped strings, it was down to global jazzists Bethlehem Casuals to round off with aplomb.

The Oxford Road venue has had something of a prolific programme lately, having featured ethical fashion co-op Stitched Up and vocal sculptor Jason Singh at one of its After Hours events and hosting showcases by local band videographers Sessions of March, who've so far obliged by booking the likes of Honeyfeet, Shunya, Lauren Housley and Alabaster de Plume for past events.

Ian Pennington