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Brighton Digital Festival reveals new art commissions and funded events for September

Festival awards largest funding to date, with 11 events awarded more than £32,000 from art commissions and grassroot funds

Brighton Digital Festival: 1 to 30 September 2016

@DigitalBrighton #BDF16

Brighton Digital Festival today announces a range of new funded events, including five new commissions that will support works exploring the impact of art and technology in today’s society. The events will be held across Brighton as part of the month-long celebration of digital culture throughout September.

Selected artists include interactive designer Simon Wilkinson and audio-visual artist Matt Parker, acclaimed lighting and architecture duo Thomas Blackburn and Jack Wates, and Canadian artist Jane Frances Dunlop.

The art commissions include Slave to Mortal Rage, an immersive virtual reality installation by Simon Wilkinson held at The Old Market in Hove from 4 to 7 September. The installation will transport audiences to a luxury apartment in a high rise block, using HTC Vive ‘room scale’ virtual reality and hand controllers to create a multi-sensory, immersive experience. Audiences can explore and interact with the world, feel the wind upon their face and uncover a story in which they are the central character.

Lighting Sounds is an interactive installation exploring the relationship between sound, light, movement and play at Onca Gallery from 2 to 9 September. Artists Thomas Blackburn and Jack Wates have created an instrument made up of a grid of vertical elasticated strings that influence the lighting of the room when played by the audience. The work will explore the way people can play and interact with their environment.

Matt Parker’s audio-visual experience ‘Fields of Athenry’ juxtaposes YouTube footage of Irish football fans singing Fields of Athenry, a traditional folk song from the time of the potato famine with sound recordings from contemporary Athenry where Apple are building a huge data centre.

Canadian artist, writer and PhD student at University of Brighton Jane Frances Dunlop, will challenge the viewer’s perception of physical and digital in her livestream installation - hurl outward at a certain pace. Her work addresses the connections individuals experience between the digital and physical world by repeatedly folding the same space back on itself to form a series of feedback loops. The display will be projected at the Onca Gallery from 4 to 7 September.

All of these commissions are in partnership with University of Brighton and Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts (DRHA) – an annual conference and networking platform for worldwide industry leaders, academics and practitioners to share information and build connections.

Laurence Hill, Brighton Digital Festival Manager said: “It’s very exciting to have developed new commissioning partnerships with University of Brighton and Brighton and Hove City Council and I’m thrilled by the quality of work that was submitted and selected. In particular, artist group Meyouandus have responded to a very difficult challenge by bring together public and digital art for a piece at the Open Market guaranteed to draw attention and visitors to it.

“Much of this year’s selected work features interaction through sound, visuals and virtual reality. The opportunity to be physically engaged and to interact with an artist’s work is a powerful one, an opportunity that we want to share as much as possible.”

In addition to the Art grants, Brighton Digital Festival has also partnered with Brighton & Hove City Council to award a £15,000 grant for a project at The Open Market. Following an open call for submissions. Sonic Market by artist group Meyouandus is today confirmed as the selected installation.

Artist group Meyouandus will transform The Open Market into a musical instrument. Environmental data generated by a weather station on the roof and ambient sounds will be processed through sound technology to create music, which will be heard throughout the the space. The artists will be consulting with stallholders and directors of the market and holding a demonstration of the technology involved during September and the work will be installed soon after.

Finally, five Grassroots funds of £500 have been awarded to independent event organisers, to support projects that will attract a diverse audience to the festival. The free-to-attend events include Music Makers, a collaboration with Sonic Pi inviting people of all ages to engage with electronic music composition through coding. Local community choirs will perform a Twitter Chorus as part of the Diep-Haven festival and finally, drag princess #Sergina will perform love songs in a digital age, both online and in the flesh.

Young children are also invited to experience life on the streets of Brighton though a guided audio walk with Street Stories Revisited. Plus Harvest Hack will invite children to explore the growing issue of food wastage through apps, where they will present their findings to the Brighton Digital Festival panel.

The full programme of events and art commissions are on the website and anyone wishing to host an event this year can submit their ideas via the festival website -