Our Neighbourhood: Audio Tour And Dance Fusion in Wanstead Park

Imagine a walk in the park where memories float around your ears and dancers animate the landscape… Memento: Wanstead Park is a world premiere – a unique mix of dance, exploration and storytelling taking place in East London this July.

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East London’s spectacular hidden treasure Wanstead Park is the location for a new immersive experience, bringing dance into its wonderfully green open spaces together with a blend of untold stories and dream­like music. Memento: Wanstead Park­ is part of an East London trilogy of the sound walk series by creative producers ScreenDeep.

As a self guided experience wearing headphones, each walk is unique and an alternative way of getting to know a location with Redbridge Council having supported the initiative through their arts grants scheme.

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Park stories come alive as locals are interviewed about their connection to this parkland and now dancers interpret moments from the soundtrack in a new, one-­off event. The dance event is free and takes place as part of the 2016 Big Dance week on Sun 10 July with choreographer Hannah Anderson­-Ricketts | Hannah Meraki Dance leading the visual experience.

“Site­-specific work is always an exciting experience as a viewer and choreographer, you never know what random events may happen on the day! This is a great chance to bring dance to the sound experience ­ fusing different art forms to create a unique event” ~ Hannah Anderson­-Ricketts, Hannah Meraki Dance.

The local reverend, the girl who grew up there, the historical enthusiast ­ all kinds of voices guide you through this tucked away green space, once a garden for Wanstead House and its charismatic owner.

“The history and local connections to the park will further come alive through this event. We’re always exploring new ways to make all kinds of places cultural and memorable” ~ Olivia Bellas, ScreenDeep.

The Event is free and lasts 1.5 hours including a walk back to the start point (Wanstead Tube Station). Equipment will be provided, and comfy shoes are recommended. More information is here, and ticket are available from here.

This is a a chance to explore a hidden corner of East London – put on your headphones and switch on your senses.

 

On Street Culture: The LATA Festival Returns

The LATA Street Culture Festival is coming back to London this summer – celebrating street culture through art, music and film.

The festival returns to Shoreditch’s superb Red Gallery, and will feature outdoor street art painting, workshops, exhibition, film and party. Creatives involved include Binho Ribeiro, Tinho, Ananda Nahu, Milo Tchais.

After our time travelling around Brazil earlier this year, we’re really looking forward to this one.

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Brazilian street culture is embedded in the country’s social lifestyle and LATA is bringing the colours and creativity to Old Street.

There will be an exhibition, a film screening and urban music by partners of B-Mundo label for a special opening evening.

The festival is produced by Braziliarty and is in partnership with Pigment, B•Mundo Label, Alternative London, Kamio at Red Gallery, as well as its media partners Brasil Observer and Instagrafite.

Check out the full programme, timings, outdoor workshops, live painting and more information on the website here.

On Music: The ICA Announces Detroit Techno Exhibition

As long-term readers will know, we spent a memorable summer in Detroit in 2013.. So, it’s great news to hear that London’s Institute Of Contemporary Arts has announced a new exhibition on Detroit techno later this year.

Scheduled to open on July 27th and run through to September 25th, Detroit: Techno City will chart the genre’s development from its 1970s origins to the early 1990s. It will explore how a generation of creative people were inspired to create a whole new kind of electronic music. The show will tell the story of the Belleville Three – Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson – while also celebrating the Motor City’s other techno pioneers.

It will also examine the links between Detroit and Europe, and how the culture of electronic music was shared across the Atlantic, ushering in a second wave of Detroit DJs such as Carl Craig and Richie Hawtin.

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The exhibition will be accompanied by a season of online shows on always brilliant NTS Radio featuring Detroit artists. Details announced later this summer, and more information is here.

On Culture: stories from Calais and beyond

The CultureJukebox team go along to First Thursday in Shoreditch every month, so was great to see such a powerful and important new exhibition open on Redchurch Street – Call Me By My Name: stories from Calais and beyond.

It’s a remarkable and eye-opening exhibition, hauntingly beautiful at times, exploring the complexity & human stories behind the current migration crisis. It really is a must-see. Here’s what the press release has to say:

The Calais camp has become a potent symbol of Europe’s migration crisis. Public opinion on this ever- evolving shantytown and its inhabitants is polarised: to some a threatening bunch seeking entry to our overstretched island-nation, to others a shameful symbol of our failed foreign policy. Amid such intense debate, it is easy to lose sight of the tens of thousands of individuals who have found themselves in limbo in Calais, each with their own story and reasons for wanting to reach Britain.

The exhibition features compelling works by established and emerging artists, refugees, camp residents and volunteers. These include a powerful new installation by award-winning artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, art made in the camp by ALPHA, drawings of Calais by illustrator Nick Ellwood, and an installation of lifejackets embedded with the stories of their wearers. It will serve as a forum for a range of discussions, film screenings and performances, including a poetry evening hosted by Michael Rosen. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to leave their responses, which will become part of an art piece by artist-in-residence, Cedoux Kadima.

“Visitors will journey physically and emotionally through the space, seeing refugees and migrants emerging from a nameless bunch to named individuals, neither victims nor angels but each with their own story to tell. We hope that visitors will come away with a heightened sense of empathy for the individuals behind the headlines, an enhanced understanding of the history and evolution of the Calais camp and broader migration developments, and questioning their response and responsibilities towards current refugee and migration developments.” ~  Sue McAlpine (curator)

Call me by my name is the latest exhibition by the Migration Museum Project, which is working to establish a permanent, dedicated migration museum for Britain, examining the role of migration to and from Britain throughout its history.

The exhibition is open until Wednesday June 22nd. More information is here - and you can follow @MigrationUK on Twitter too.

 

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On Ideas: An Airbnb For Local Farm Tourism

As someone who grew up in rural North Lincolnshire, I was immediately intrigued by this Farmcation idea. It aims to connect the food-curious to local farmers, reducing food miles and (I guess) helping people to eat more healthily.

See below for more details.

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Farmcation is a U.S. born initiative that facilitates a meaningful connection between consumers and the origins of their food by allowing them to meet the individuals who grow it, and the places where its produced.

The founders – Grace Lesser and Caitlyn Toombs – are hoping to combine a contemporary preference for experiences over possessions, by giving farmers the platform to share their knowledge.

The website – check it out here - allows for a both a ‘Guest’ and a ‘Host’ sign up and matches a tick list of interests to the relevant farm. Activities include: farm tours; fruit picking: canning, jamming, pickling and cooking workshops; cheese making classes and farm to table meals.

Grace and Caitlyn hope that their idea will help to foster support for small-scale farmers while connecting an increasingly food curious population with the land. How long before it comes to London we wonder..?

 

 

On Alternate Realities: Big ideas at Sheffield Doc/Fest

I’ve been lucky enough to attend three different Sheffield Doc/Fest festivals, and always been so impressed by its progressive showcase of forward-thinking alternate realities programming.

Virtual and alternate realities are often a such an imaginative, immersive and impactful way to tell the stories that matter – it’s been great to properly digest this year’s programme over the past couple of days. Here’s a few of the highlights:

Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition

The festival’s Interactive Exhibition will showcase a range of interactive docs that you can play with, touch and experience. You can be among the first to see some mind-blowing cutting edge technology which has not yet been shown by to a public audience. Here’s what in the programme:

The Enemy uses augmented reality technology that uses the camera on your phone to superimpose life-sized characters into the room right in front of you, in this case a member of the Israeli Defence Force and a Palestinian fighter. As you move towards and around them, they react to you, talking about who they think the enemy is.

The USC Shoah Foundation’s New Dimensions in Testimony invites you to have a conversation with the scanned image of a holocaust survivor powered by sophisticated natural language processing software that allows you to ask him questions about his experiences and get a natural response.

The festival will set up an Empathy Station to test how bias can be changed through empathy. Games have finally grown up and games developers are working with documentary producers to allow us to connect with documentary stories on a level where you experience the narrative as a participant rather than a viewer.

In This War of Mine: The Little Ones you can discover what it’s like to be a child struggling to survive in a war-torn city. Antariksha Sanchar is India’s first major video-game, a beautifully-crafted experience in which you follow in the footsteps of a young mathematician learning to make sense of the cosmos.

Walden, a Game simulattes the experience of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau as he goes back to nature at Walden Pond. It’s a game in which you are rewarded by reading literature and discovering the natural world.

Two Billion Miles puts you in the shoes of a migrant trying to find a safe haven in Europe. You see the results of decisions you make about the journey played out in actual news footage showing the stark reality for many thousands of people over the past few months.

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#Hacked: Syria’s Electronic Armies invites us to become a journalist investigating the ISIS cyber war. The festival has some beautiful interactive documentaries in which artists invite us to play and explore.

John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes takes us on a boat with Lennon as he travels to Bermuda with his son Sean, a journey of renewed creativity which resulted in his Double Fantasy album.

In Avatar Secrets, Canadian interactive film-maker Ramona Pringle analyses online identities in today’s connected world.

A Polish Journey retraces the steps of a Polish migrant to Britain after the Second World War. The festival has a couple of art installations as well.

Trick or Treat : Bhai-O-Scope takes us into the curious world of India’s unregistered street doctors while Undoing Time looking at the American prison system through the products of the prison industry.

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The Alternate Realities Summit

On Sunday 12 June 2016 the Alternate Realities Summit (previously The Crossover Summit) will be taking place at Sheffield Doc/Fest. It promises a day of panel talks and playful presentations from some of the smartest minds in news, documentary, digital storytelling and virtual reality.

Fascinatingly, the festival is the first to have an Android keynote speaker, Bina48. This is not to be missed! Anyway, the festival programme tells us:

We kick off the Summit morning session ‘Robots, Androids and Avatars Live’ with a series of keynotes and practical demonstrations from intelligent machines and their human companions: social robot Bina48 debates love, war and the universe with Ramona Pringle, Dr Stephen Smith presents virtual Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, who answers all your questions about his experience in real-time, NAO gives us a brief history of robots and iCub helps us to see beyond our own eyes with telepresence experiments.

Back by popular demand, our VRfternoon sessions explore the impact of virtual reality on factual storytelling. Google’s very own Principal Filmmaker for VR, Jessica Brillhart kicking off post-lunch proceedings, with her latest insights from the frontline of VR making. We will be delving into the advantages and potential pitfalls of binaural sound, investigating how journalism works in virtual reality, sharing what the VR community can learn from immersive theatre, analysing whether virtual reality can increase our empathy levels, as well as launching a new VR film from the United Nations.

I’m particularly interested in Dr Stephen Smith’s keynote talk, showcasing a New Dimensions in Testimony; ground-breaking natural language software that allows audiences to have a “virtual encounter” with the recorded image of Holocaust survivor, Pinchas Gutter, who responds in real time, powered by complex algorithms providing realistic conversation. I saw a trailer of this project at UCL last year, and this kind if work has the awesome potential to transform storytelling and archives of the future.

static1.squarespace.jpgAlso, really looking forward to the United Nation’s VR film launch. This will be a mass viewing of the organisation’s latest VR film; all about gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where factions fight over the country’s mineral resources. After the viewing, the project’s director Gabo Arora will be interviewed by Francine Stock of BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme.

 

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If virtual reality and pushing the boundaries of factual reporting is your thing, then highly recommend visiting the Sheffield Doc/Fest website to explore for yourself.