By Mila Brazzi
For those of you that have been living under the Brighton pebbles this summer, Brighton Digital Festival is a month-long celebration of digital culture which takes over our city with over 140 events running throughout September.
So what does that actually mean? Basically it’s a rare opportunity for creatives, entertainers and geeks to combine forces and create an assortment of events promising something for everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – offering cutting-edge art installations, literature and comedy nights to highbrow digital and creative conferences, 48-hour hackathons and, live music performances, plus everything in between.
With so many events covering such a broad range of interests, planning your festival itinerary is no easy task. With this in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to lighten the load for you guys with my sneak peak preview of this year’s not to be missed highlights.
A selection of Tiny Games will be positioned in outdoor locations across central Brighton. The games are small (duh) and very quick to understand, originally inspired by a few conceptual challenges: is it possible to fit a complete game into the 140 characters allowed by Twitter? And what sort of game could be made for an outdoors space and run over the course of a month with no moderation, and no equipment provided on-site? Are you intrigued? I am. Let’s play!
On Saturday 14 September at 7pm at the Old Steine is where you will find the Nomadic Sound System Brighton walkabout. All I’m going to say is, it’s free and it’s going to be quite a spectacle. (If you’re boring and can’t handle the surprise then click on the link.)
Shlomo, the world record-holding beatboxer who has worked with the likes of Björk, Damon Albarn and Jarvis Cocker, will explore the art and science of geekdom, gadgets and the music of the human voice at the Dome in Brighton on Friday 27 September in Shlomo: Human Geekbox.
Excited just doesn’t cut how I feel about The Rise and Fall Of Geo Goynes, an outdoor, interactive event from Root Experience that combines digital technology and theatre. Members of the public will be guided on a journey across the city for the ultimate real life gaming experience. The games start at the Old Market and will be held on Saturday 28 September and Sunday 29 September. So cool!
Brighton Digital Festival also offers an extensive (and mostly free) exhibition programme with heaps of cool art types including, pioneering digital artist William Latham and his Mutator 1 + 2 exhibition at Phoenix Brighton from 7 September.
Another internationally renowned (Brighton-based) artist at the festival will be Simon Wilkinson with his atmospheric live AV performance in The Sound of the Wind in the Trees at the Old Market on Thursday 5 September, followed by an artist Q&A. The show features haunting large-screen projections and a live soundtrack built around a collection of poignant micro-interviews with people from earlier generations about how they make sense of our common human predicament: that we are standing on a ball which is floating through space and we don’t know why. This version will feature contributions from several Brighton and Hove residents. Click here to check out his preview video.
Swimming with Plankton in 3D is beautiful and free exhibition at the Booth Museum of Natural History from Friday 6 September to Wednesday 25 September. Originally commissioned for Kew Gardens as a permanent exhibition in 2004, Swimming with Plankton is highly educational, demonstrating the vital role plankton plays in our survival.
Tech and business
Joining this year’s popular headlining conferences is the new Connected TV Brighton conference at Komedia on Wednesday 4 September. YouTube and Relentless TV representatives, among other heavyweight industry names, will deliver a practical guide on making money and reaching new audiences by merging traditional TV formats with other multimedia platforms.
Brighton Digital Festival gets techy with the DigBig Data Storytelling: The Global Financial Crisis and Recovery event. A group of artists, software developers and data scientists will come together for a 48-hour hackathon at the Brighton FuseBox to try to shed some light on the global financial crisis and the recession that it caused. You will be guaranteed an interesting day on Saturday 21 September at the Brighton University Grand Parade Gallery when hackathon participants use digital and physical graphics and art to publicly display their findings.
Ok, so this last thing isn’t strictly an event but it is a very exciting, fresh idea. The Dream Factory is essentially a lush hangout space for Brighton creatives to do there whatever they want do and do it together. If bouncing new ideas around, hosting workshops or discussing creative/techy projects with like-minded people sounds as interesting to you as it does me then I suggest you get yourselves a membership pronto.
For more information and to check out all events throughout September and the full Brighton Digital Festival programme, go to www.brightondigitalfestival.co.uk.
I hope you can join me in making the most of the creative digital delights that our clever Brightonians have created.