Brighton Digital Festival opens today

Posted On 01 Sep 2011 at 11:16 pm

The month-long Brighton Digital Festival started today (Thursday 1 September).

The official launch of the festival, which celebrates the burgeoning digital and creative sectors in Brighton, took place at the Phoenix Gallery in Waterloo Place, by St Peter’s Church.

The festival features more than 60 events from conferences, workshops and meet ups to exhibitions and even a comedy show.

Other events include a Geek film festival at the Duke of York’s cinema starting on Saturday with Inception and a quiz called The Geekest Link at the Caroline of Brunswick pub on Sunday.

The festival ends on Friday 30 September.

David Litchfield, the director of development at Phoenix Brighton, said: “The Brighton Digital Festival is a wonderful example of the arts ecology of Brighton.”

Honor Harger, the director of Lighthouse, the digital culture agency based in Kensington Street, Brighton, is one of the leading lights of the festival’s steering committee.

She praised the vibrancy of Brighton’s digital economy, saying: “Where else do you have such a thriving arts community which is matched by a thriving digital community!”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, the Brighton and Hove City Council cabinet member for culture, said: “This festival is a fusion of these two forms which are worth more than £100 million to the local economy at a conservative estimate.”

And Aral Balkan, another steering committee member, said: “I see the Brighton Digital Festival as a magnifying glass, as a flare, showing what is happening in the community at grassroots level.”

Mr Balkan is the organiser of Update, a sell-out conference for digital designers which is being held at the Dome on Monday (5 September).

One of those taking part is Ronald Wayne, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Mr Wayne created the first Apple logo and wrote the manual for the first Apple computer before selling his 10 per cent stake in the company for just $2,300.

Had he kept his stake he would be worth more than $30 billion today.

Mr Balkan said that the festival was attracting many leading thinkers in the digital world and was another step along the way towards Brighton and Hove becoming the first digital city.

The digital festival has its roots in the Brighton and Hove Virtual Festival, run by SCIP from 1998 to 2004.

It became the Brighton Digital Festival when Wired Sussex joined with SCIP from 2005.

Over the years it has been a showcase for local talent with a focus on the ways in which new media is being used by the community, businesses and artists.

Guests at the launch event this evening also saw an exhibition of the work of the leading Brighton-based digital artists and film-makers Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. They are known collectively as Semiconductor.

The exhibition, called Solar Systems, opened yesterday (Wednesday) and includes three installations, including one that was used in the Brian Cox television series Wonders of the Solar System.

The films, which last about an hour in total, can be seen between 11am and 5pm from Wednesdays to Sundays until Saturday 15 October.

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