Out and About

As we run Culture Hack, we’re always interested in events that don’t just rely on the classic conference format. Conferences are often thought of as training or learning opportunities, but the following recent events have all caught our eye because they seem to do something more: perhaps they have been organised with the intention of provoking a wider change, as a catalyst to making something or just as an excuse to bring some interesting people together.

Art Hack screengrab

From the Art Hack showcase http://arthackday.tumblr.com/

The Serpentine Gallery holds a “marathon” every year, as part of the Pavilion programme, to investigate a single theme. This year’s theme was 89 plus, focussed on “emerging practitioners, born in 1989 or after, with influential speakers of all generations.” This is part of a larger project to understand an emerging generation:

89plus is a long-term, international, multi-platform research project co-founded by Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist. It is conceived as a mapping of the generation born in or after 1989. Without forecasting artistic trends or predicting future creation, 89plus manifests itself through panels, books, periodicals and exhibitions, bringing together individuals from a generation whose voices are only starting to be heard, yet which makes up nearly half of the world’s population.

One highlight from this year’s event was James Darling’s talk, reflecting on education, politics and his experience as a software developer. (You can also watch the talk by Bruce Sterling, referenced in James’s piece.)

Aldeburgh Creative Talent conference was held on 14 and 15 October and was billed as an “extended debate on how we nurture talent”.  The numerous financial difficulties of nurturing talent appears to have been a recurring theme: from the cost of education and access to resources through to paying a fair wage. Jon Jacob has written a thorough round-up of the discussion and the conference live blog promises a manifesto.

Meanwhile, Rhizome have been to London, bringing both Seven on Seven, which pairs technologists and artists for a day of making, and a discussion on Post-Net Aesthetics at the ICA.

One of our favourite conferences, Playful, has happened again. Our highlight was Dan Catt’s talk on making the best Snakes and Ladders Board of all time, which showed how patience and curiosity can unlock the most intricate of puzzles in things that might seem to be commonplace and mundane.

And Rachel was really pleased to go along to the Fun Palaces Open Space, organised by the brilliant Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings. Fun Palaces will be brought to life all over the world on the weekend of 4/5 October 2014. First imagined by the theatre director Joan Littlewood and the architect Cedric Price, a Fun Palace is somewhere you can:

Choose what you want to do – or watch someone else doing it. Learn how to handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, or just listen to your favourite tune. Dance, talk or be lifted up to where you can see how other people make things work. Sit out over space with a drink and tune in to what’s happening elsewhere in the city. Try starting a riot or beginning a painting – or just lie back and stare at the sky.

We’re really excited to be involved in this project, and hope to have more Fun Palaces news to share soon.

There have also been a few interesting hack days:

MIT Hacking with Art at the end of September, at MIT Media Lab. The data sources and winning hacks are all listed here.

Art Hack Day in Berlin, 26-28 September, around the theme of “Going Dark”. You can see what was made here: http://arthackday.tumblr.com/

EdTechHack in London, 26-27 October, with data from the Tate, V&A and National Maritime Museum among others.

And upcoming talks by us include a session on Creative Entrepreneurialism for the Watershed Digital Producers Lab and a lunchtime lecture on Open Cultural Data at the Open Data Institute.

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