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The quest for immortality and a ‘projection wonderland’ – NEoN Digital Arts Festival returns!

16 October 2014

The quest for immortality and a 6,944 sq ft ‘projection wonderland’ are just some of the artworks that will be on display as Scotland’s only digital arts festival, NEoN, returns for its sixth edition next month.

The seven day Dundee-based programme includes exhibitions, workshops, performances, screenings and a mini-symposium, bringing the work of local, national and international artists to the fore.

Futureproofing is the theme this year, and the festival will explore the challenge of how to look after - and preserve when we are gone - the vast numbers of digital files and online records that have been created over the recent past.

Artists whose works will help address these issues include Oliver Mezger, Edward Shallow, Sara Robertson, Murray Ballard, and Thomson&Craighead.

This year’s flagship exhibition - Coded After Lovelace – will bring together the work of seven pioneering female computer artists 199 years after the birth of Ada Lovelace, who is credited with being the world’s first computer programmer.

Coded After Lovelace - guest-curated by Nora O’ Murchú and Faith Holland - seeks to bring greater visibility to the work of women artists who have often been left out of histories of art and technology, but who have forged new ground in their respective fields, not only embracing new technologies, but also inventing new forms and uses for them.

Elsewhere in the festival, photographer Murray Ballard will explore cryonics - the practice of freezing people after their deaths - in an illustrated talk.

His images in The Immortality Series will take the viewer on a journey through the tiny but dedicated international cryonics community who hope that one day medical advances will mean those they are preserving can be brought back to life.

The week-long festival will kick off with Smart Materials expert and local artist Sara Robertson’s interactive ‘Crafting Light’ workshop on Sunday 2 November. This will be a chance for anyone interested in wearable technology to learn more about it, the science behind it, and how to craft their very own fibre optic designs.

The mini-symposium on Friday 7 November, Show Us Your Assets, will bring together academics and artists to debate the best ways of ensuring knowledge about digital art is preserved as well as the works themselves.

The festival will close with BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer): a one-night extravaganza that will see 6,944 sq ft of the Vision Building transformed into a projection wonderland: an epic lightscape covering the building from floor-to-ceiling in a patchwork of light, colour and sound.

BYOB is an open-source event that was founded by New York based visual artist Rafaël Rozendaal in 2010. The concept is simple: find an exhibition space, invite artists and ask them to bring their projectors.

Feature films, animation, performance art and more are projected onto every available surface of the building, in a 360 degree experience that will saturate the viewer’s senses.

Speaking about this year’s eclectic programme, NEoN Festival organiser and Abertay University lecturer Clare Brennan said:

“NEoN is Scotland’s only digital arts festival, and has been going strong for six years now. There’s a really vibrant digital arts scene here in Dundee, so it’s the perfect place for something like this.

“The theme this year is ‘futureproofing’, so every event and exhibition ties in with this in some way, either by taking a look back across the recent history of digital art or by looking forward towards ways of ensuring digital art is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

“Digital art is one of the most dynamic forms of art there is, but because technologies change so quickly, there’s a real concern that we’re entering into a digital Dark Age in terms of preserving it and ensuring that it has a place in art history alongside everything else.

“Just imagine if we had no record of work created by Leonardo da Vinci or Picasso. We need to ensure that we leave a legacy of the moving image and media art when in the future it might not exist in the same forms it is in today. So we hope that the works on show will get people thinking about things like that, and that they will encourage some useful discussions.

“Our key exhibition is Coded After Lovelace, which will be on show at the Hannah Maclure Centre here at Abertay throughout the festival, but there is plenty more besides. Murray Ballard’s Immortality Series about the underground cryogenics community, for example, is the ultimate in future-proofing, and we’ve got a wonderful new work, which will take over 60 years to run, called ‘Stutterer’ by Thomson&Craighead on at LifeSpace.

“There’s also another fantastic Pecha Kucha lineup with Creative Dundee, and we’re delighted to welcome this year the expertise of guest curator and media art historian Sarah Cook and the support of New Media Scotland, the national development agency fostering artist and audience engagement with all forms of new media practice.

“Our closing event will be a real showstopper. At the moment, we’re used to viewing the internet on just one or two screens in front of us, but in the future we’ll have information all around us, so BYOB is potentially a taste of things to come. We’re currently calling for visual, digital and performance artists to submit work for what is sure to be a spectacular finale to the festival.

“We’ve got so many amazing artists taking part this year – not just from Dundee, but from around the world – so there should be something for everyone and I hope that this year’s theme might encourage a few new people to dip their toes into the world of digital art for the first time.

“Dip your toes in, everything looks better bathed in NEoN!”

Details of how to submit work to the BYOB event can be found on the Yuck ‘n Yum website.

For the full programme of events please visit the NEoN Digital Arts Festival website.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

  • Coded After Lovelace was originally curated by Nora O’ Murchú and Faith Holland at WhiteBox Gallery in New York. It has been re-curated for the Hannah McLure Centre at Abertay University. Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, is widely recognised as being the world’s first computer programmer.
  • Stutterer by Thomson&Craighead is a new commission for LifeSpace, Science Art Research Gallery at the University of Dundee supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award.
  • The full list of artists is as follows: Oliver Mezger, Electric Bookshop, Edward Shallow, Sara Robertson, Murray Ballard, Thomson&Craighead, Yuck ‘n Yum, Carla Gannis, Claudia Hart, Kate Rich, Cornelia Sollfrank, Lorna Mills, Lilianne F. Schwartz, Erica Scourti, Rosa Menkman, Olia Lialina, Martin Collins, Eric Parr, Daniel Brown, Jennifer Chan, Gaby Cepeda and Adriana Minoliti, Nicole Killian, Giselle Zatonyl, Claudia Maté, Dafna Ganani, Tessa Siddle, Morehshin Allahyari, Eva Papamargariti, Sabrina Ratté, Geraldine Juarez, Claire Evans, artists whose works are included in REWIND Artists' Video in the 1970s & 1980s.
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