Running throughout September, Brighton Digital Festival sees the city’s artistic and digital communities coming together for a month of innovative collaboration. Programme events range from specialised talks and conferences to large scale performances and projections, with many free, educational pieces aimed at engaging with the city as a whole. Here’s just a handful of highlights, picked from the endless scroll of the festival website.
David Blandy: Odysseys
Lighthouse Sat 1st – Sun 23rd
David Blandy is possibly the best – if not, certainly among the best – at transferring the pop culture of video games, video, anime and television into gallery settings, wittily deconstructing it but also spiking important thoughts about how this whirr of noise and immediacy permeates the way we process things. The exhibition, Odysseys, is accompanied by a screening of anime feature Princess Mononoke (Duke Of York’s, Mon 17th), a comic book workshop (Phoenix, Weds 19th) and a tournament on loads of arcade machines (Phoenix, Sat 22nd).
Jubilee Square Sun 2nd
The launch event for the festival is an interactive digital fireworks display, projected onto the façade of Jubilee Library. First seen outside the Unitarian Church during 2008’s festival, and returning in new, higher resolution development, Seb Lee-Delisle’s creation allows audience members to use their body movements to trigger rocket explosions from glowing orbs of light. You point, they explode. Marvellous.
Pavilion Theatre Thurs 6th
An evening of readings and discussions from three leading British SF authors: Brian Aldiss, Lauren Beukes and Brighton resident Jeff Noon. In the context of the festival, SF stands for the broader ‘speculative fiction’, an umbrella term incorporating science fiction, of course, as well as other fantasy writings. Veteran author Aldiss is the big draw here, with nearly 60 years of published short stories, novels, poetry and criticism to his name, including the literary kernel of Spielberg’s A.I.
Mini Maker Faire
Corn Exchange Sat 8th
Spilling out from the Corn Exchange and into the Dome bar and foyer, this year’s free Mini Maker Faire brings together over 50 stalls of scientific and craft creativity for all ages. Activities range from building model quadcopters (yes, a multi-rotor ‘copter) and hot air balloons to learning about digital coding. A foyer bar after-party features sound artists, DJs and interactive exhibits, and the chance to socialise more informally with the Faire’s stallholders.
Mesmerist / North Laine Sat 15th – Thurs 30th
Scattered along selected storefronts, Windowbots are Twitter powered, interactive robot photo booths. Does this even need further explanation? Ok then. Free to use, passers by send a tweet to the ‘bot, which displays a suggested pose to strike. One the photo’s taken, the ‘bot sends it to your Twitter feed, hash-tagged to compare with other people’s poses in an online gallery. It then eats your soul.
The dotBrighton Games Jam
Skiff Fri 21st – Sun 23rd
A free weekend of game creation down at The Skiff on Gloucester Road. Participants are given 48 hours, working alone or in teams, to design a new game on a given theme. A background in video gaming isn’t a necessity, as any form of game (board, card, playground) is welcome, so if you’re feeling creative, book a place and get involved. The weekend finishes with everyone having a go at playing one another’s creations, with prizes for the best.
Nightingale Theatre Thurs 27th
A launch event for an iPhone app, bridging the ether from your mobile device to the world of the deities. The 0-1 app sounds just like the sort of technological advance to bend fragile minds, as, according to its developers, “0-1 will claim the iPhone as its human-godbot interface, peeling back the flesh-machine divide to speak with your digital soul.” On the other hand, wine and cakes will be available, so it’s not all apocalyptic techno-doom.
Words by Stuart Huggett, Ben Miller