Art, Travel


The 10-day biennial festival of digital culture kicked off on Friday 23rd with a wealth of treats. Using the theme of liberation to celebrate 800 years of the Magna Carta (Lincoln has its own version of the document; one of only four that now exists) the event includes a mix of new artist commissions alongside pre-existing installations that have been re-worked especially for the event.

We’ve picked our highlights of the festival which we urge you to see…

Freedom Lies
The Collection Museum and Gallery
Hard-hitting works that feature themes around capital punishment take over The Collection Museum. Asking the question ‘Is it ever OK to kill?’ the audience is plunged in to a dilemma of choices. Jordan Baseman’s video installation piece ‘July the Twelfth’ follows the radio broadcast of the execution of Ivon Ray Stanley in Georgia who was sentenced to death after being found guilty, alongside two others, of murdering Clifford Floyd. The public broadcast from 1984 is transcribed by Baseman and shown as a text transcript alongside the actual speech description in sound. The blank black background is punctured with white Helvetica text and looks almost banal and dull in comparison to the subject of the prisoners execution that is being described. The audience is left to their own imagination as to the harrowing scene set before them.The video is contextualised with the newspaper reports and historical documents of hangings in Lincolnshire. The city has a particularly significant link with England’s death penalty due to resident hangman William Marwood who invented the ‘long drop’; a more ‘humane’ and swift way of execution to break the neck.

Ghana ThinkTank
The Collection Museum and Gallery
The ongoing public art project Inverts the process of first world countries trying to solve the issues of the third world by setting up think tanks in developing countries like Mexico, Ghana, Cuba and Iran to help solve ‘First World’ problems. The group collect problems from the UK and US and send them to the think tanks to receive solutions. Ghana Thinktank Lincoln takes the form of an installation evidencing the projects so far, telling the stories of outcomes from problem solving.

Seeper – The One, The Few, The Many
Castle Grounds & Cobb Hall
Technology crafters Seeper have been commissioned to produced two pieces of work. Their concept takes the themes of the Magna Carta; in particular the fundamentals of the recipients for which the document was written to choose to tell a reinterpretation of the story through The One (King John), The Few (the 25 rebel barons) and The Many (the citizens).
The first part of the project sees a visitor take a seat on a throne-like chair within the vaulted tower of Cobb Hall (previously thought to be used as both a chapel and dungeon). One-by-one visitors are invited to put on a virtual reality headset. While waiting visitors in the room experience sound and lasers around them the chosen one in the seat is privy to the scene infront of them. The experience is intense as you start with an image of King John on his throne you are then literally zoomed around the castle grounds on an intensely enjoyable ride of discovery. A virtual roller coaster that sends your stomach in to your mouth, puts you in to a brief moment of panic before leveling out… and then it’s over.
Seeper’s main piece culminates in a laser light and projection show on the castle grounds on the 30 & 31st October.

Shun Ito – 
Cosmic Birds
Chad Varah Chapel
Mesmerising mechanical works of motion with tiny flicking lights and soft music alongside the occasional sound of a mechanism culminates in a strangely hypnotic piece of work by Japanese Artist Ito. Set in the city’s Chad Varah Chapel dark lighting gives the viewer the option to get close to the works and examine how they continuously move with the help of gears and drive systems.

Taphobos by James Brown
Chad Varah Chapel
James Brown’s immersive coffin experience consists of a two player team game with one person closed in a coffin wearing a virtual reality headset while the other is given five minutes to release them before they run out of oxygen using a screen and a controller. Communicating via headphones / speakers clues appear on the headset of the person in the coffin who relays them to the one on the outside. Brown has programmed a scene of a church and crypt to take the players through the experience and to see if they communicate well enough to succeed.

Road by Nick Driftwood
Chad Varah Chapel
Digital artist and videographer Nick Driftwood takes us through the roads and highways of the American southwest with his immersive non linear 4k screen work. Through deserts and cities, along lonely roads, picturesque mountainous climbs, coastal views, during day and night the piece is set to a soundscape made through orchestrated data compression and composed by Kevin Matthews.
The continuous journey pans out in front of the viewer as you sit in the seats of a vintage car feeling as though you are making the journey yourself.

Through the Fourth Wall by Illuminos
Postern Gate
We’ve become secret voyeurs peeping in to the home of strangers at night. Tiny projections are set against the cobbled brick of Postern Gate which is our canvas to look into people’s lives. Frustratingly we can’t quite make out what they are doing; it looks like a family sit down to dinner, while in another window, a woman fluffs up her duvet. Some windows appear empty, or there is a slight and tantalising movement. What are they doing? Who are they? Do they know we are here…?

Enlightenment by Squidsoup
Waterside Shopping Centre
Immerse yourself in the hanging light maze and watch as the lights react to your movement. The responsive LEDs ripple, change sequence and colour as visitors walk through the space. The installation reflects the ideas that change the status quo as our choices make change to the world around us.

I-Finite by Tom Dale Company
Dance music, art and design clash in a mesmerisng performance piece choreographed by Tom Dale. We are invited to roam around the stark white studio as projections light up the walls around us. Our movements change the artwork as people’s shadows cast large looming figures across each wall. A lone dancer interacts with the light formations; from the grid on the floor which appears to move with the dancers twists and turns to his own face which is pixelated on the wall.
The intensity moves up a level as smoky dry ice fills the room. The projectors strike through the smoke adding levels of space and light that the dancer interacts with in stunning compositions. A beautiful and sublime experience.

The festival runs until 1st November at venues throughout Lincoln city centre.

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