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    Entries in Performing Arts (3)


    Briggate Idol

    As a person who is on Briggate in Leeds almost every day, I have found that it contains more and more interesting culture and talent everyday.

    I have been excited to see new and different street performers each day and for the most part they are enjoyable and talented. From the guy who sings Usher and Lionel Richie to the girl who sings Sixpence Non The Richer, this bustling street now not only is a great place to shop but also a wonderful place to grab and coffee and see some of our very own Leeds talent giving it their all and livening up our cold and rainy days. I will keep you updated with photos but for now… here are just a few of the artists I have spotted over recent weeks.

    Is there anyone you have seen recently who really caught your attention?


    Save the Arts

    We have been showing our support for the new 'Save the Arts' campaign by helping the team at Visual Arts London to set up their social media platforms and get this great video by David Shrigley out to the masses. Below is the official press release from the press-conference in London this morning:  

    Over a hundred leading artists including David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Anthony Caro, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton, Bridget Riley, Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin have joined the campaign to make the case against the proposed 25% cuts in government funding of the arts.

    The campaign is launched today with the release of a new video animation by artist David Shrigley highlighting the effect of the funding cuts and a new work by Jeremy Deller with Scott King.  Each week the work of a different artist, created in response to the campaign, will be released. Mark Wallinger will present the next project.

    Supporters of the artists’ campaign will be asked to sign a petition which will be sent to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. It points out that it has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world and appeals to the government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying this long-term achievement and the social and economic benefits it brings to all.

    The artists acknowledge that reasonable cuts and efficiencies are necessary but they fear that the 25% cuts being proposed will destroy much of what has been achieved and will have a particularly damaging impact on national and regional museums and their collections.

    The campaign is being organised by the London branch of a national consortium of over 2,000 arts organisations and artists dedicated to working together and finding new ways to support the arts in the UK. 

    The costs of David Shrigley’s animation have been covered with a grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

    Robert Dufton, Paul Hamlyn Foundation Director, said: “We are pleased to support this campaign and hope that its message is taken on board. As independent funder of the arts we are aware of the effect that cuts will have on many of the organisations we support. We stand to lose a great deal as a society if arts organisations are forced to stop the very valuable work they do.”


    Make sure you sign the petition here: 


    "All technology is neutral", a reflection on Sir Ken Robinson's speech for #shifthappens 2010

    “All technology is neutral”. This was the essence of a keynote speech given by Sir Ken Robinson (@SirKenRobinson), via Skype from his home in California, to a packed out auditorium at York Theatre Royal.

    Sir Ken Robinson addresses the audience at Shift Happens 2010

    The speech came at the end of the opening day of the third annual Shift_Happens event, the brainchild of Pilot Theatre’s Artistic Director, Marcus Romer (@MarcusRomer). Inspired by Romer’s experiences at TED, Shift_Happens draws people together from across the cultural and creative industries (the arts, media and film, museums and libraries, and so on) to talk about how they can take part in, and drive the digital landscape. The event includes a series of speeches, covering areas of both digital practice and policy, as well as performances, user testing of new digital and interactive media works, and surgeries giving new arrivals to the conversation insight into the digital landscape.

    We were very pleased to attend Shift_Happens on behalf of Hyper Island, who we work with lots, and who are working with Skillset and Screen Yorkshire on a new leadership programme for Yorkshire’s digital and creative workforce. Our mission was to find out what is making people in the arts tick when it comes to digital.

    The keynote will be available to view online in the coming weeks, so I won’t summarise here (we will provide a link once available). To be honest, I’m not sure where I’d begin anyway: it moved back and forth between the earliest developments of technology, and predictions about where we might be heading. What I can summarise, though, is the thesis: that technology, historically, has shaped the condition of society and its cultures. In that process, technology has promoted ways of living (urbanisation, for example) that push us away from nature, and each other. However, the truth of the matter is that technology is not actively working towards these ends: it is not looking to drive the wedge. Indeed, technology is only ever passive – “all technology is neutral”. What matters, then, is how we use technology. If we use it responsibly then it will promote creativity and spiritual wellbeing. If we don’t then we could be in trouble.

    Sir Ken’s keynote followed another presentation (part speech, part crowd-souring performance lecture) by Andy Field, Artistic Director of Forrest Fringe Festival (a free festival phenomenon that landed at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago).

    Andy Field, of Forrest Fringe Festival, talks to Director of National Theatre Wales, John E McGrath

    By accident or design, Field’s speech set a clear context for Ken Robinson’s keynote, and made it’s own call for a reconsideration of how technology is used by artists, to affect change: paraphrasing… “digital is a field that we are all, as artists and creative people, right at the forefront of: even if we were, in many ways, the last to arrive at the party. Rather than using technology to re-use existing ideas and content, we should be using our art to rip the heart from technology. We should bring art and technology together to dream stupid, impossibly grand visions of what the future might look like… It is true that no one can break the Internet, but we should all be trying.

    So, to end where I began (or, rather, where Sir Ken began), all technology is neutral. It is passive, non-political, non-destructive. What activates technology is us, and it is up to us to determine its uses and by extension the shape of tomorrow’s society. That all seems simple, doesn’t it? Well, not if you skip back to the middle of Sir Robinson’s presentation when he shared a prediction: that by 2050 the average personal computer will have the same processing power as all of human consciousness. Machines that think, and learn, and re-write their operating systems based on their experiences. Will technology still be neutral then?

    While you ponder that one the team at Hyper Island are heading off to buy copies of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, and here at Hebe we're getting started on the bunker.