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Programme: alt.barbican, transdisciplinary arts accelerator

Text by CLOT Magazine

Dries Depoorter low
Seattle Crime Cams, Dries Depoorter 

Barbican and The Trampery have launched alt.barbican, an arts accelerator that will encompass work across artificial intelligence, radio manipulation, wearable tech and more.

They have announced the inaugural cohort of five artists selected for this major new catalyst for artists working at the intersection of art and technology. Over 230 practitioners applied to the programme and were asked to respond to the theme of ‘the subversion of reality’. The proposals ranged from projects including mobile apps, projection mapping, voice manipulation and wearable technology. They explored subjects as diverse as privacy and surveillance, body image, representations of gender and globalisation. The final selected artists were Dries Depoorter, Henry Driver, Jasmine Johnson, Ling Tan and Magz Hall.

The six-month programme is delivered in partnership with MUTEK, the British Council, and the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio. It presents a new model of artistic support, drawing from entrepreneurial startup culture, to help emerging artists develop their careers.

Sidd Khajuria, Senior Producer at the Barbican, told us: alt.barbican is a response to an increasingly fluid creative landscape. There are more artists whose work draws on multiple disciplines and whose output isn’t designed for traditional exhibition and performance space. As a cross-arts centre, it’s vital that the Barbican is able to provide as many platforms as possible for artists in these greyer areas of production and creation.

The programme is designed to encourage a dialogue between artists approaching a similar theme from many different perspectives. The artists will also develop of new skills – our collaboration with The Trampery collaboration, in particular, will hopefully enable the artists to learn entrepreneurial practices to help make their careers sustainable”.

During the alt.barbican programme, the five artists will be introduced to experts in enterprise and learning who will lead workshops on networking, pitching and presenting. Other sessions will cover fundraising, working internationally, and audience development, led by the likes of the British Council and Arts Council England, respectively. 

In August, the artists will take their work to MUTEK, the Montreal-based festival of electronic music and digital creativity. They will also be given the opportunity to apply to an alt.barbican commissioning fund of £7,500 to produce a major piece or body of work in the Barbican’s public spaces.

We will follow the programme development and its results after the 6 months. Remarkable institutions like the Barbican develop artistic programmes that reflect how technology and science impact our society.

(All pictures courtesy of alt.barbican)
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