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Barbican July and August highlights

Amadou and Mariam standing back to back, smiling and leaning on each other
  • On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July 2019, Walthamstow Garden Party returns to Lloyd Park, presented by the Barbican, Create London, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and local residents. Newly announced today, appearing on the Barbican Music Stage, are Amadou & Mariam alongside Blind Boys of Alabama; The Bongo Hop, a project presented by French trumpeter Etienne Sevet; and local grime acts Lemzi and Bonez.
  • The UK premiere of Sight Machine, a project between American visual artist Trevor Paglen and San Francisco based string quartet Kronos Quartet, comes to the Barbican Hall in July as part of the Barbican’s 2019 season, Life Rewired. 
  • Shubbak Festival, London's largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture, includes a film programme curated and produced by the BAFTA-nominated Elhum Shakerifar which looks at questions of identity, nationality and notions of borders. Also part of the Shubbak Festival at the Barbican will be a special tribute concert to the late Palestinian singer, songwriter and composer Rim Banna.
  • Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s multi award-winning production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar transfers to the Barbican Theatre for just 60 performances.
  • Lee Krasner: Living Colour, the first retrospective in Europe for over 50 years of American artist Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984), continues in Barbican Art Gallery.
  • AI: More than Human, an unprecedented survey of the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence, continues in The Curve.


Walthamstow Garden Party 
Lloyd Park
Sat 13–Sun 14 Jul 2019
12–9.30pm (Sat) / 12–8pm (Sun)

On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July 2019, Walthamstow Garden Party returns to Lloyd Park for a sixth year running, presented by the Barbican, Create London, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and local residents. This is a global festival made locally, celebrating and powered by the incredible creativity of Waltham Forest, the Mayor’s first ever London Borough of Culture.

Over the weekend more than 70 local groups, organisations and businesses will present music, theatre, dance, circus, spoken word, crafts and food and drink alongside an international line-up on the Barbican Music Stage including Zara McFarlane, La-33, Carleen Anderson, Tássia Reis, Mayra Andrade, Orquesta Akokán and Renegade Brass Band.

Also appearing on the Barbican Music Stage, announced today, are Malian duo Amadou & Mariam alongside Blind Boys of Alabama for a new project fusing contemporary African sounds with African-American roots music. The Bongo Hop, in which Etienne Sevet blends Colombian and West African influences, and local grime artists Lemzi and Bonez, will also take the stage.

AI: More than Human
Until Aug 2019
Part of
Life Rewired

Part of Life Rewired, the Barbican’s 2019 season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything, AI: More than Human is an unprecedented survey of the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence. Taking place all over the Centre, it explores the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology, starting with its ancient roots in Japanese Shintoism and Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s early experiments in computing, to AI’s major developmental leaps from the 1940s to the present day.

This festival-style exhibition presents immersive art installations, interactive exhibits and digital projects to examine the subject from multiple, global perspectives, and show how an age-old dream of creating intelligence has already become today’s reality. It features some of the most prominent and cutting-edge research projects as well as commissions by artists, researchers and scientists, which all ask the big questions: what does it mean to be human? What is consciousness? Will machines ever outsmart a human? And how can humans and machines work collaboratively?


Shubbak – A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture
Wed 3–Sun 7 Jul 2019, Cinemas 2 & 3

Curated and produced by the BAFTA-nominated Elhum Shakerifar (A Syrian Love Story, 2015), Shubbak Festival’s film programme (screening exclusively at the Barbican) looks at questions of identity, nationality and notions of borders through a selection of recent titles.

Highlights include the London premiere of Sofia (France & Morocco 2018, dir Meryem Benm'Barek-Aloïsi) – winner of the 2018 Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival – about a young girl’s unexpected pregnancy and the ever sliding scale of women’s rights; and the London premiere Panoptic (Lebanon 2017, Dir Rana Eid) a letter from a daughter to her deceased father, a former general in the Lebanese army, in an attempt to reconcile with her country’s turbulent past.

Other notable events include the Arab British Filmmakers Panel Discussion, which brings together a multi-award winning panel of Arab-British directors – including Amrou Al Kadhi (Run(a)way Arab, Anemone), Sally El Hossaini (My Brother The Devil), Naziha Arebi (Freedom Fields) and Saeed Taji Farouky (The Runner) – who will explore how they interpret their hyphenated identities and the way it impacts on the stories they tell.

For further information please contact Anna Arthur at Anna Arthur PR:
[email protected] / 07973 264373.

Forbidden Colours: Retablo (18*) + Introduction
Peru/Germany/Norway 2017 Dir Alvaro Delgado Aparicio, 95 min
Tue 9 Jul 2019, Cinema 2, 6.30pm

Barbican Cinema is pleased to present Forbidden Colours, a new strand which celebrates rarely seen queer-focused films from places where LGBTQ+ people still suffer societal oppression and struggle for equality.

Opening on 9 July – with the Peruvian film Retablo – this series offers an opportunity for these stories and points of view to be seen on the big screen.

Alvaro Delgado Aparicio’s powerful drama features excellent performances, especially from Junior Bejar as the conflicted teen Segundo, a young apprentice learning how to make retablos – artisan story-boxes depicting personal scenes – under the tutelage of his adored father. One day, he finds out that his father has been unfaithful to his wife with other men.

In a community defined by traditional values, Segundo decides to keep this revelation a secret, even as it threatens to tear his world apart.

This screening is introduced by David Edgar, Film Officer at the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Heat of the Moment: Turning Points on Film
Thu 1–Thu 29 Aug 2019, Cinema 3

The boiling heat of summer is a catalyst for personal, political and social change in this selection of films, screening every Thursday in August. The programme includes: Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing (US 1989), Stonewall  ( US/UK 1996, Dir Nigel Finch), Le Bonheur (France 1965, Dir Agnès Varda), I Knew Her Well  (Italy 1965, Dir Antonio Petrangeli) and La Ciénaga (Argentina/ France/ Spain/ Japan 2001 Dir Lucretia Martel).

Part of the Cinema Summer Special.

Come Together: A Music Film Series
Fri 2 Aug – Fri 30 Aug, Cinema 3

Every Friday in August, Barbican Cinema presents a season of concerts on film, offering the joy of the festival experience from the comfort of a cinema seat. Screenings include: Woodstock  (US 1970, Dir Michael Wadleigh), Fela Kuti: Midsummer Concert, Home of the Brave (USA 1986, Dir Laurie Anderson) and Monterey Pop (US 1970, Dir DA Pennebaker).

Part of the Cinema Summer Special.


ECHO Rising Stars
Until Fri 5 Jul 2019

The ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) Rising Stars series presents emerging young talent tipped for stardom by the directors of Europe’s premier concert halls. There are two ECHO performances at LSO St Luke’s this July:

Anaïs Gaudemard (harp)
ECHO Rising Stars
Fri 5 Jul 2019, LSO St Luke’s, 1pm

Since winning the 1st Prize at the prestigious International Harp Contest in 2012, Anaïs Gaudemard has become an internationally recognized soloist. Nominated by the Cité de la musique/Philharmonie de Paris and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon for the ECHO series, she will give the UK premiere of a new commission by young French composer Camille Pépin, acclaimed for her sensitive feel for instrumental colour. Her programme will also include work by Glinka, Rameau, Fauré, Debussy and Smetana, among others.

Quatuor Arod (string quartet)
ECHO Rising Stars
Thu 12 Jul 2019, LSO St Luke’s, 1pm

This performance features French string quartet Quatuor Arod performing works by Mozart, Webern, and Brahms.

Nominated by Bozar Brussels and Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

Supported by Classical Futures Europe and the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Jónsi & Alex Somers: Riceboy Sleeps
with the London Contemporary Orchestra

Mon 8 Jul 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

To celebrate the album’s tenth anniversary, Riceboy Sleeps will be performed live at the Barbican by Jónsi & Alex Somers with the London Contemporary Orchestra, conducted by Robert Ames and with orchestral arrangements by David Handler. A collaboration between Sigur Rós singer Jónsi and American visual artist and composer Somers, this atmospheric ambient album will be performed live here in its entirety for the first time anywhere.  Recorded at home in Iceland while Jónsi was on hiatus from Sigur Rós and finished off-grid in Hawaii, the album was a sleeper hit and its stature has only grown in recent years, with songs such as Happiness and Boy 1904 enjoying success across some of the most listened to streaming playlists.

The Trace of the Butterfly: A Tribute to Rim Banna
Featuring Tania Saleh, Faraj Suleiman, Bu Kolthoum and Sabrine Jenhani
Tue 9 Jul 2019, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Shubbak Festival returns to the Barbican this summer with a special tribute concert to the late Palestinian singer, songwriter and composer Rim Banna, featuring musicians who knew her best as well as close peers in the Palestinian music scene, including: Lebanese visual artist and singer-songwriter Tania Saleh, Palestinian composer and pianist Faraj Suleiman, Syrian producer/MC and rapper Bu Kolthoum and Tunisian singer-songwriter Sabrine Jenhani, who will be performing newly re-orchestrated versions of Rim Banna’s material accompanied by a specially assembled band. The event title, The Trace of the Butterfly, is the name of one of Banna’s songs as well as a poem by Mahmoud Darwish.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Marsm and Shubbak Festival with support from A. M. Qattan Foundation, Arts Council England, Bagri Foundation and British Council.

Part of Shubbak - A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture.

Kronos Quartet & Trevor Paglen: Sight Machine
Thu 11 Jul 2019, Barbican Hall, 8.30pm
Part of
Life Rewired

Barbican presents the UK premiere of Sight Machine, a project between American visual artist Trevor Paglen and San Francisco based string quartet Kronos Quartet that focuses attention on the growing ubiquity of artificial intelligence technology in our lives by analysing a shared human experience – a concert – with machine-vision systems in real time.

Paglen’s large-scale multimedia performance Sight Machine shows how machines and their algorithms perceive a live concert and urges audiences to consider the social, ethical, economic, and political consequences of such new ways of ‘seeing’. On stage, the world-renowned string quartet Kronos Quartet performs works by composers Terry Riley, Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich and Trio Da Kali’s Fodé Lassana Diabaté. During the performance, the musicians are being monitored by an array of cameras that feed into a suite of computer vision algorithms used in applications from self-driving cars and guided missiles to facial recognition and biometric surveillance. The software has been modified so that it, in turn, produces images of the information that it ‘sees’, which are then projected onto a screen behind the performers in real time. Sight Machine illustrates the discrepancy between what we experience as human beings and what machines ‘see.

From Bamako to Birmingham –
Amadou & Mariam and the Blind Boys of Alabama

Sat 13 Jul 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Malian husband and wife Afro-pop superstar duo Amadou & Mariam and multi Grammy Award-winning soulful gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama have teamed up to combine contemporary African sounds and African-American roots music, touring together this summer and stopping at the Barbican on 13 July 2019. This is a long-awaited return to the Barbican from these artists, the Blind Boys last performed at the Centre as part of the London Jazz Festival in 2009 and Amadou & Mariam’s Eclipse event at York Hall – a concert staged entirely in the dark – formed part of the Barbican’s contemporary music programme in 2011.

Moon (15)
Screening with Clint Mansell’s music played live by the London Contemporary Orchestra
Fri 19 Jul, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

This special Barbican date sees a screening of Duncan Jones’ science fiction film Moonwith an introduction from British composer and musician Clint Mansell whose critically acclaimed score will be played live by the London Contemporary Orchestra and conductor – and Clint’s long-time collaborator – Matt Dunkley. The event celebrates both the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on 20 July 1969 and ten years since Duncan Jones’ directorial debut Moon was released. The film, starring Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell, has since become a science fiction cult classic. This live performance of the score to the film Moon is with kind permission from Sony Pictures, Park Circus and Liberty Films. 

Icebreaker: Apollo
Sat 20 Jul 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

12-piece contemporary music group Icebreaker return to the Barbican with their Apollo project to mark the 50th anniversary (to the day) of spaceflight Apollo 11’s moon landing on 20 July 1969. Their multi-media reworking of Brian Eno's Apollo album will be performed by Icebreaker, also featuring renowned pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole alongside excerpts of Al Reinert’s film of the Apollo space missions, For All Mankind. Widely regarded as Brian Eno’s most significant ambient album, Apollo was composed by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois, and matches the beauty and tranquil mystery of the moon and earth, the scale and feat of engineering involved, and the banality and the humour of the astronauts as they skitter about the moon’s surface. The concert programme is completed with works by Anna Meredith and JLin, Michael Gordon, Gavin Bryars and as a special tribute to the late Scott Walker, it also includes Icebreaker’s version of Epizootics! featuring Scott’s original vocals accompanied by the film commissioned for the track and directed by Olivier Groulx.

Brilliant Corners
Thu 25 Jul 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 7pm

As part of the accompanying events series for Barbican Art Gallery exhibition Lee Krasner: Living Colour, Mark Kavuma leads a musical response to one of Lee Krasner’s favourite jazz records – Thelonius Monk’s 1957 album Brilliant Corners.

Mark Kavuma is a prominent young trumpet player on the British jazz scene who leads his own quartet, the 'Floor Rippers' house band and 'The Banger Factory’. Kavuma also plays with Jean Toussaint's Young Lions, Jazz Jamaica and is one of the brass leaders at London based carnival band Kinetika Bloco. 

Lucinda Williams  
Sat 27 Jul 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams performs her critically acclaimed, influential masterpiece Car Wheels On A Gravel Road in its entirety followed by a second set of songs from her celebrated career. Williams will be joined on stage by her long-time backing band Buick 6, featuring Butch Norton on drums, David Sutton on bass and Stuart Mathis on guitar. 2018 marked the 20th Anniversary of Williams’ Grammy Award-winning Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. The story of the making of the album, and how long it took, is quite remarkable: the changing producers, the re-recording and the revolving list of musicians only add to the folklore surrounding its creation. However, the album came to be and Williams never wavered on her vision for this masterpiece, and what she envisioned changed music on a multitude of levels. 


Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – Jesus Christ Superstar
Thu 4 Jul–Sat 24 Aug 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tue 9 Jul 2019, 7.45pm

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s multi award-winning production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar transfers to the Barbican Theatre for just 60 performances.

With direction by Timothy Sheader, design by Tom Scutt, choreography by Drew McOnie, musical direction by Tom Deering, lighting design by Lee Curran and sound design by Nick Lidster for Autograph, the production won the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical.

The new cast of Jesus Christ Superstar includes: Robert Tripolino and Ricardo Afonso in the iconic roles of Jesus and Judas, with Sallay Garnett as Mary. Matt Cardle plays the role of Pilate, with Cavin Cornwall and Nathan Amzi as Caiaphas and Annas.


Lee Krasner: Living Colour
Until Sun 1 Sep 2019, Barbican Art Gallery

Lee Krasner: Living Colour is the first retrospective in Europe for over 50 years of American artist Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984). One of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism, Krasner made work reflecting the feeling of possibility and experiment in New York in the post-war period. The exhibition features nearly 100 works – many on show in the UK for the first time – from across her 50-year career, and tells the story of a formidable artist, whose importance has often been eclipsed by her marriage to Jackson Pollock.

For information and images please visit: http://www.barbican.org.uk/LeeKrasnerNews

Accompanying events in July and August include:

Ninth Street Women
Thu 4 Jul 2019, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

Author of Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel celebrates Krasner and her fellow pioneers of Abstract Expressionism: Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler.

What Beast Must I Adore? Lee Krasner and Poetry
Sat 6 Jul 2019, Frobisher Rooms 1 & 2, 11am – 5pm
Ages 16+

Poet and tutor Tamar Yoseloff leads a workshop on reading and writing poetry in an attempt to find the ways the written word influenced Krasner’s imagery.

On Colour
Thu 11 Jul 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 7pm

Artist David Batchelor and Kassia St Clair, author of The Secret Lives of Colour, lead an exhibition tour focusing on key works that demonstrate Krasner’s approach to colour.

Audio-described Tour of Lee Krasner: Living Colour
Tue 16 Jul 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 6.30pm

Lisa Squirrel leads an audio-described exhibition tour exclusively for Blind and visually impaired visitors, highlighting key artworks on display.

Tour: Anne M. Wagner
Thu 18 Jul 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 7pm

Anne Wagner, art historian and author of Three Artists (Three Women), leads a tour of Lee Krasner: Living Colour where she selects her highlights.

Excessive Gesture: Experimental drawing for young people
Sat 20 Jul, Frobisher Rooms 1 & 2, 2 – 5pm 
Ages 16+

Inspired by Lee Krasner's energetic and vibrant mark making, artist Florence Peake leads a mark making workshop to create large-scale drawing and painting inspired by movement practices from Somatic dance techniques.

Living Colour Family Day
Sun 21 Jul, Level G, 11am – 4pm

A day of activities for all the family inspired by Lee Krasner’s colourful, vibrant and expressive artworks.

BSL Tour of Lee Krasner: Living Colour
Tue 23 Jul 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 6.30pm

John Wilson leads a British Sign Language exhibition tour exclusively for Deaf and hard of hearing visitors, highlighting key artworks on display. The tour will be interpreted for non-BSL users by Anna Kitson.

Body Positive Life Drawing for Teenagers
Sat 27 Jul 2019, Frobisher Auditorium Rooms 1 & 2, 2 – 5pm
Ages 12+

Esther Bunting of Spirited Bodies leads a workshop for young people on finding body acceptance through life drawing.

Tour: Eleanor Nairne
Thu 1 Aug 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 7pm

Curator Eleanor Nairne leads a tour of Lee Krasner: Living Colour and discusses what it takes to organise an exhibition of this kind.

Life Drawing
Thu 8 Aug 2019, Frobisher Rooms 4, 5 & 6, 7pm

Drawing tutor Adrian Dutton leads a life-drawing class looking at modernist artist Hans Hofmann, whose dynamic teaching inspired Krasner’s pioneering move into abstraction.

Tour: Charlotte Flint
Thu 22 Aug 2019, Barbican Art Gallery, 7pm

Exhibition Assistant Charlotte Flint leads a guided tour of Lee Krasner: Living Colour focusing on the artist’s extraordinary life.

Painting Now
Thu 29 Aug 2019, Frobisher Auditorium 2, 7pm

Art historian and critic Suzanne Hudson discusses the legacy of Krasner’s work, her fellow Abstract Expressionists and their enduring influence on later generations of artists.


Life Rewired Hub
Until Dec 2019
Part of
Life Rewired

Motivated by the need to develop and test new models of public engagement, the Barbican presents a temporary new venue for public programming on Level G. The Life Rewired Hub explores the key ideas in our 2019 programme, inviting audiences to encounter the voices who are witnessing and revealing some of the elusive forces shaping our lives today.

Architects Dyvik Kahlen have designed the flexible new space, which is a platform for a year-long programme of talks, workshops, research, and residencies. These events stem from the themes in the Life Rewired season, and a significant strand of activity has been co-programmed in partnership with the Royal Society and the British Council.

The Life Rewired Hub also houses an exhibition which presents curated content from the complex, vast, and all-too-often confusing discourse taking place around the impact of technology on our lives. This features specially-commissioned contributions from writers and thinkers including Jaron Lanier and James Bridle.

Events taking place in the Life Rewired Hub throughout July and August include:

Creator, Computer, Curator
With Lawrence Chiles, Dr Oomagh Murphy, Harrison Pim and Casey Scott-Songin
Thu 4 Jul 2019, drop-in 11am–9pm

Exploring, critiquing and understanding the ethical implications of AI within a museum context is increasingly becoming a pressing need for museums. Could robots replace museum tour guides? Should data decide what exhibitions get commissioned? Can AI help to identify hidden stories in the archives? 

Staff from The National Gallery, Wellcome Collection and Goldsmiths University will discuss how AI technologies could be used to develop new ways to see and experience art.

Bio-Augmented Materiality
Fri 5–Sun 7 Jul 2019, 12-8pm

What if our buildings could protect us – not just by putting a roof over our heads, but contribute to our internal health as well? Richard Beckett from the Bartlett School of Architecture is conducting research into buildings made from living materials, ones which can be resilient to disease and can adapt to environmental extremes such as storms and flooding with the ability to sense damage, self-repair and even re-assemble themselves.

Beckett has assembled the NOTBAD research group – an interdisciplinary group of designers and scientists with expertise in architecture, microbiology and antimicrobial resistance. The group is part of an 18 month project funded by the AHRC exploring a novel approach towards preventing the spread of antimicrobial resistance by reversing the notion of sterilising our walls and floors and instead encouraging the growth of other benign or beneficial microbes.

The project team includes Richard Beckett (PI), Sean Nair (CO-I) and Carolina Ramirez-Figueroa.

As part of a separate piece of biology-influenced design, Beckett has also developed CornCrete, an eco-friendly alternative to concrete which can be grown (from sweetcorn) rather than mined. CornCrete can also be set extremely quickly using a microwave, meaning you can make and take your creation with you. On Sunday 7 July, try your hand at building your own sustainable concrete structures and sculptures using CornCrete.

Turing Lecture: Regulating Unreality
Thu 11 Jul 2019
Frobisher Auditorium 1, 6.30pm

‘Deepfakes’ or the use of AI to convincingly simulate or synthesize content, voice, images or video for malicious purposes have become prominent recently, most obviously as a means to create realistic but fake pornography involving celebrities or particular victims.

However, its implications are far greater: techniques to generate deep fakes are evolving in response to a parallel arms war of detection techniques, and may eventually result in a world where ‘fake news’ expands to everything we see, hear and experience, not just the news we read.

Lilian Edwards, professor of law, innovation and society at Newcastle Law School, explores whether knowing what content is genuine should be a new human right.

Food Assembly
Thu 11–Sat 13 Jul 2019, Life Rewired Hub, Level G, drop-in 12–8pm

As climate change warms the planet, insect populations collapse and soil nutrients become more and more depleted, the strain on global agriculture is likely to make food a central topic for change.

Here, product and strategy consultancy Method imagine a not-so-distant future in which three radical solutions for feeding the world have been proposed.

Using objects, videos and storytelling, you’ll get a flavour of what tomorrow might taste like.

Dazed Weekender
Sat 3–Sun 4 Aug 2019

Media Partner Dazed take over the Life Rewired Hub on Level G for a weekend of AI inspired proceedings. Further details to be announced.

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterston
Sat 10 Aug 2019

Jeanette Winterson and her latest novel Frankissstein will take over The Hub. Events throughout the day will include a talk about the book, an intimate book club discussion of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which is at the heart of Winterson’s novel, and a book signing.