Digital Revolution

An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames
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3 Jul-14 Sep 2014

Digital Revolution

3 Jul-14 Sep 2014
Digital Revolution:
An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames
3 Jul–14 Sep 2014
Media View, Wed 2 Jul 2014, 10am –1pm
Digital Revolution explores and celebrates the transformation of the arts through digital technology since the 1970s. The exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media. It also looks to the future considering the impact of creative coding, DIY culture, digital communities and the creative possibilities offered by technologies including augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearable technologies, robotics and 3D printing.

Curated by Conrad Bodman, the exhibition includes new commissions from artists Umbrellium (Usman Haque and Nitipak 'Dot' Samsen); Universal Everything; Seeper; and artist Yuri Suzuki; and a collaboration with Google in the form of digital art commissions called DevArt, pushing the possibilities of coding as a creative art form, featuring four new gallery commissions, an online inspiration hub and a competition for undiscovered creative coders. It also presents work by Oscar®-winning visual effects (VFX) Supervisor Paul Franklin and his team at Double Negative for Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking film Inception; artists and performers including Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin, Björk , Amon Tobin, CuteCircuit and game developers such as Harmonix Music Systems (Dance Central).

Digital Revolution comprises immersive and interactive art works alongside exhibition-based displays. Usman Haque and Dot Samsen from Umbrellium, known for their large scale mass participatory interactive outdoor events are producing their first artwork for an indoor space, Assemblance. This immersive experience takes over The Pit, creating a three-dimensional light field in which people can shape, manipulate and interact with luminous forms, blurring the distinction between the physical and the virtual.

Universal Everything, one of the UK's leading media art studios, is producing a new multi-screen work called Together for the Barbican’s Silk Street entrance. Taking digital drawing as its theme, visitors are able to contribute to the work both in the venue and online. Filmmaker and artist Chris Milk’s major interactive work The Treachery of Sanctuary is presented for the first time in the UK. This three-screen shadow play installation explores life, death and rebirth through a moving onscreen narrative which visitors can interact with. For its global launch at the Barbican, arts and technology studio Seeper have created a living wall called Straws which allows visitors to sculpt responsive 3D forms into a video wall.

Neil McConnon, Head of Barbican International Enterprises and project commissioner, said: Showcasing a new generation of artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians, Digital Revolution celebrates creatives who are pushing artistic boundaries across the arts using digital media. Through a series of gallery based work and public interventions the exhibition, transforming the Barbican into an animated canvas - inspiring digital natives, gamers, movie fans, retro geeks, family groups and art fans alike.

Digital Revolution is the most comprehensive presentation of digital creativity ever to be staged in the UK. A festival-style exhibition, Digital Revolution takes place across the Barbican with ticketed and non-ticketed elements. It is accompanied by a talks and events programme and a dedicated publication.

The exhibition builds on the Barbican’s rich history of championing pioneering artists across all art forms that use digital technology within their work – including Merce Cunningham, Robert Lepage, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin and Rain Room by Random International.

The first section of seven exhibition spaces within the Curve opens by juxtaposing creative software projects from the 1970s to the present day, shown on their original hardware platforms. Showcasing work across art, design, music and film, the interactive Digital Archaeology section creates an overview of key creative moments during this period of rapid change. Pieces range from the classic videogame Pong; the first website by Tim Berners-Lee; vintage music hardware such as the Linn LM-1 drum machine (used in the production of The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me); a rarely seen transparent casing version of the Sinclair ZX80 – one of the first mass market home computers, as well as early digital graphics experiments by Lillian Schwartz.

We Create explores projects that allow people to become the creators. A highlight of this section is Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin’s crowd-sourced tribute website, the Johnny Cash Project, which allows people to contribute a frame to an online filmic tribute to Cash. It also explores DIY culture through projects developed using the programmable Raspberry Pi, Arduino; and online video communities such as Minecraft (Mojang) and the Kickstarter project Broken Age (Double Fine), where fans are directly involved in the game development process.

Creative Spaces examines how digital technology is allowing rapid creative change in film and online, contrasting blockbuster Hollywood visual effects with the work of a new generation of independent artists and film-makers. It explores the innovative visual effects (VFX) created by Oscar®-winning VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin and his team at Double Negative for Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking science fiction film Inception. London’s Double Negative is one of the world’s leading VFX houses with recent and current projects including Man of Steel, Dark Knight Rises, Rush, Thor 2, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Godzilla and Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming film Interstellar. It also features Oscar®-winning visual effects studio Framestore, with a particular focus on their innovative digital techniques and the work of Tim Webber on the landmark VFX feature film Gravity which has won an Oscar® and BAFTA award for best visual effects.

Framestore’s recent film work includes 47 Ronin, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Inside Llewyn Davis. In addition Creative Spaces features the work of young digital film-makers such as Kibwe Tavares (Factory Fifteen), who has used his experience as an architecture graduate to make the innovative short films Robots of Brixton (2011) and Jonah (2013). This section also explores digital storytelling by artists such as FIELD's Energy Flow (2012) and James George and Jonathan Minard’s documentary Clouds (2013).

Sound and Vision looks at how musicians have experimented with digital technology. Pieces include Pyramidi, a new commission by global music artist and entrepreneur and Yuri Suzuki which explores the interface between analogue and digital music in a live gallery experience. is well-known as a technology advocate and enthusiast. The section also features Arcade Fire's interactive video The Wilderness Downtown and a series of app-based projects in which artists have worked to visualise music, including the app Biophilia ( Björk ) and REWORK (Philip Glass Remixed) by Scott Snibbe Studio.

The exhibition moves into State of Play, which focuses on the ways in which we are able to engage and interact with digital projects, featuring works by artists Cuppetelli and Mendoza, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Daniel Rozin as well as a playable videogame by Harmonix Music Systems (Dance Central).

The next section is dedicated to DevArt. This major project by Google with the Barbican explores art made with code, by developers using technology as their canvas, and code as their raw materials to create innovative, interactive digital art installations. The project is designed to inspire the next generation of developers and artists by highlighting coding as a creative art form. It seeks to push the boundaries of what is possible when art and technology come together. Google have created an online platform where you can follow the creative process, and watch their journey unfold—from concept and early sketches to the finished piece: . As part of DevArt, Google are seeking to commission an up and coming developer to create a new digital art installation. The winner’s work will be showcased as part of the Barbican’s Digital Revolution exhibition, alongside newly commissioned works by some of the world’s finest interactive artists Karsten Schmidt, Zach Lieberman, and the duo Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Carnet.

Finally, the exhibition delves into what the future might look like; with technologies like 3D printing. Highlights include fashion technology with London-based Studio XO for TechHaus, the technical division of Lady Gaga's Haus of Gaga; and Pauline van Dongen’s Wearable Solar (2013) a project that explores the possibilities of photovoltaic fashion. 

Experimental architecture and design practice Minimaforms exhibit Petting Zoo (2012), an interactive installation featuring three animalistic creatures in the form of robotic arms which interact and stimulate participation with users through kinetic, sound, touch and illumination. Gibson/Martelli present Man A (2013) - a ‘dazzle’ camouflage installation that reveals a hidden animated world through an augmented reality app; and The Not Impossible Foundation debut their latest project BrainWriter (2014), a technology that allows people to communicate with the outside world using just their brainwaves. Visitors are guided by a specially commissioned videogame.

The exhibition continues through the Barbican foyers where visitors can explore Indie Games Space, devoted to the independent videogames movement. Featuring the work of a range of contemporary international indie developers, all in fully playable format, this section also showcases explorations in different games genres, game art and distribution. Games such as Antichamber by Alexander Bruce, Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga and Journey by Jenova Chen look at how an individual (or independent team) can now arm themselves with the latest creative tools to take risks and forge innovative experiences.


Press Information
For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Ann Berni, Media Relations Manager for Visual Arts
+44 (0) 207 382 7169 /
Jessica Dare, Communications Coordinator
+44 (0) 207 382 7321 /

The exhibition is created and produced by Barbican International Enterprises with guest Curator Conrad Bodman and Assistant Curators Dani Admiss and Sunny Cheung. The advisors are Jim Boulton (Digital Archaeology), Iain Simons (Director, GameCity, Nottingham Trent University), Caroline Roux (design writer), Julia Kaganskiy (Editor at Large – The Creator’s Project), Mike Stubbs (Director, FACT), Li Zhenhua (Curator) and Yukiko Shikata (Media Art Curator). Digital Revolution will tour to museums and galleries internationally for a period of 3 years. The exhibition design is a collaboration between Ab Rogers (ARD) and 59 Productions. ARD lead on the spatial design and 59 Productions lead on the media design of the exhibition.

Events programme
The exhibition is complemented by talks and events series which include In Conversations that focus on at the latest ideas including developments in special effects and gaming and offline activities aimed at children and young people from east London.

Robert Henke’s Lumière
19 July 2014, Hall, 20:00
Hailing from Berlin, sound artist and producer Robert Henke , co-developer of Ableton Live music software and founding member of groundbreaking techno music project Monolake, brings his latest live audiovisual performance to the Barbican. Using a software especially developed by Henke, Lumière features three powerful white lasers drawing rapid successions of objects, seemingly floating in space. The data used to produce these shapes is transformed into audible frequencies. Henke interacts live with the software and manipulates laser patterns and sonic treatments in real time, creating an improvised dialogue between the artist and the audiovisual machine.

Film programme
5 July – 26 July 2014
Complementing the exhibition, a film season is held in the Barbican cinemas celebrating the game-changing visual effects in both Framestore and Double Negative’s catalogues – including screenings of Alfonso Cuaron’s chilling adaptation of PD James’ dystopian Children of Men and Christopher Nolan’s dazzling dreamscape Inception – both must-sees on the big screen. The Barbican’s Framed Film Club also plays host to pioneering visual effects in July, and families are able to see some of Framestore and Double Negative’s best work on Saturday mornings, including Tim Burton’s Roald Dahl adaptation, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Exhibition Publication
An illustrated exhibition publication accompanies the exhibition with essays by leading authors in the digital field. The publication explores the preservation of hardware and software, creative coding, DIY culture, digital architecture and design, the future of gaming and the new developments in creative technology. Content includes essays by exhibition advisors.

Digital Revolution Shop
Level G Foyer
The Digital Revolution Shop offers a wide range of digital themed products. Discover books; DIY techno kits; 3D printed jewellery; and retro geek gadgets, plus Raspberry Pi kits and accessories for any budding computer programmers who feel inspired to learn more about digital technology and programming. Postcards featuring images from the show are available as well as the exhibition publication.

Barbican projects celebrating artists using digital media in spring-summer 2014 include :

United Visual Artists (UVA): Momentum
13 February – 1 June 2014
Multi-disciplinary art and design studio United Visual Artists have created a new work for The Curve. Coinciding with their 10th anniversary, UVA present Momentum, an immersive installation that combines light, sound and movement. Drawing on physics and digital technology, UVA are turning the Curve into a spatial instrument, installing a sequence of pendulum-like elements throughout the 90metre long gallery to create an evolving composition of light and sound. The pendulums – sometimes moving in unexpected ways – project shadows and planes of light across the six metre-high walls and curved floor of the space. Visitors are invited to explore the room at their own pace, and their movement through the gallery shapes their individual experience. UVA are an art and design practice based in London, creating work that lies at the intersections of sculpture, architecture, live performance and installation.

Coming to London for the first time, the tenth annual international Wikimedia conference, produced in association with the Barbican, brings together experts and enthusiasts from the worlds of academia, culture, technology and education, and includes a multi-track programme of lectures, discussions, workshops and hackathons over the course of five days. Keynotes include Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, Lawrence Lessig, author of "Free Culture", and Clay Shirky, author of "Cognitive Surplus".

Charleroi Danses: Kiss & Cry
The Barbican, in association with London International Mime Festival, presents Kiss & Cry, an interdisciplinary performance where live cinematography, digital technology and dance collide.

Alone on a station platform, a woman recalls her great, lost loves. Her memories take shape in a miniature world where toys, figurines and scaled-down sets provide the backdrop for a duo of dancing hands that flirt and intertwine, becoming tender characters in their own right. This sensual ballet of hands is caught on camera by a bustling film crew with sound effects created by onstage foley artists. Even the most minimalist expressions of emotion and intimacy are captured as the action is projected on a panoramic screen.

Kiss & Cry is conceived by choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey and prizewinning filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael. On Thursday 26 June there is a post-show talk with Michèle Anne De Mey. To complement the run of Kiss & Cry there is a screening of Van Dormael’s film Toto The Hero at the Barbican on Tuesday 24 June.

History pin
1914-2014: Barking Then and Now
The Barbican and Create London are collaborating on a major new project bringing together residents of the London Borough of Barking, four acclaimed artists, behaviour change company We Are What We Do, and online history-makers History Pin to understand how the events of World War One have impacted on communities today. This new commission looks at how the social, physical and demographic landscape of east London was transformed by the war and its aftermath, with particular focus on the pioneering social housing development the Becontree Estate in Barking. The project involves thousands of people who have lived, worked or passed through Barking, collecting memories, conversations and images to develop a rich living archive capturing the legacy of 1914-1918. This online and physical archive ranging from century old photos to YouTube clips, telling stories of movement and migration, industry and employment and architecture and regeneration over the past 100 years. Four internationally acclaimed artists are working with residents of the Estate to produce four new murals for the neighbourhood to give the legacy of 1914-18 a permanent public presence.