Press room

Barbican June highlights

Two people sat close to each other
  • AI: More than Human is an unprecedented survey of the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence.
  • Barbican Cinema presents a showcase of films of the younger, radical generation of directors who emerged in France in the wake of the New Wave and of the events of May ’68.
  • Topic Records celebrates its 80th birthday with a special live date in the Barbican Hall, led by music director Eliza Carthy.
  • World-renowned theatre ensemble Comédie-Française from Paris return to London after 19 years, with Ivo van Hove directing The Damned.
  • Lee Krasner: Living Colour, the first retrospective in Europe for over 50 years of American artist Lee Krasner, continues in Barbican Art Gallery.


AI: More than Human
Until Mon 26 Aug 2019
Part of
Life Rewired

AI: More than Human is an unprecedented survey of the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence, exploring the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology. Taking place all over the centre, it presents immersive art installations, interactive exhibits and digital projects to examine the subject from multiple, global perspectives.

This festival-style exhibition starts with the technology’s early roots in Japanese Shintoism, to AI’s major developmental leaps from the 1940s to the present day to show how an age-old dream of creating intelligence has already become today’s reality. Giving visitors the tools to decide for themselves how to navigate our evolving world, it asks 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?

With digital media, immersive art installations and a chance for visitors to interact directly with exhibits to experience AI’s capabilities first-hand, the exhibition presents commissions and projects by, artists, researchers and scientists, including DeepMind, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL), IBM, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Joy Buolamwini, Es Devlin,  Mario Klingemann, Kode 9, Lawrence Lek,  Massive Attack & Mick Grierson, Yoichi Ochiai, Neri Oxman, Anna Ridler, teamLab and Universal Everything.

People @ Work
Mon 3–Wed 5 Jun 2019
Life Rewired Hub, times vary
Part of
Life Rewired

What if the next generation of automation in the workplace was designed to actually benefit workers – not just take away their jobs? What can automation at work offer our physical or cognitive skills? Could computers help us to make the most of neurodiversity and a range of physical abilities in the workplace?

A panel of experts in the field of design, robotics, policy and business have come together with Masters in Research Design Pathway group from The Royal College of Art to present a series of new prototypes which illustrate to the public scenarios where the human capability to create, learn, interrogate and explore can thrive through technology. How can automation support people to collaborate, learn, develop knowledge and pursue their ambitions?

AI: Fact vs Fiction
Ian McEwan in conversation with Murray Shanahan
Thu 6 Jun 2019, Cinema 1, 6.30pm
Part of
Life Rewired

Bringing together two individuals that share interest in artificial intelligence, but explore it from very different perspectives, this in-conversation event will explore how authors can be inspired by science, and vice versa. In 2019, how much of what used to be make-believe is becoming reality?

Ian McEwan is one of the UK’s most beloved contemporary authors. In his 2019 release Machines Like Me, taking place in an alternative 1980s where Alan Turing has achieved a breakthrough in AI, he tackles the subject of AI head-on as his two characters’ relationship is put under strain by the introduction of a synthetic human.

Murray Shanahan, professor of Cognitive Robotics at Imperial College London and Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind, is a leading expert on AI, robotics and cognitive science - but, having acted as the scientific advisor on the 2015 film Ex Machina, he is no stranger to fictional portrayals of AI.

Sat 15 Jun 2019, Barbican Hall, 9am

Curated by the award-winning WIRED editorial team and co-hosted by the Barbican Centre, WIRED Pulse: AI is a one-day event featuring eight high-level keynotes from thought-provoking disruptors exploring the future of artificial intelligence and its impact on human experience. Through talks and demonstrations, it will investigate a range of topics such as AI’s effect on creativity or the ethics of algorithms.

Speakers include Marcus du Sautoy, mathematician and author of The Creativity Code; lawyer and AI researcher Sandra Wachter; and Vishal Chatrath, the founder of, the start-up putting decision-making into the hands of artificial intelligence.


Bebop New York: Birth of American Indie Cinema
Tue 4–Tue 25 Jun 2019, Cinema 1 & 3

The second part of this Barbican season presents a selection of films made in New York from the mid-50s to the mid-60s, all emerging from the city’s burgeoning bohemia. At a time when Hollywood films set in New York were still shot on Californian backlots, these films were made on location and captured urban life in its raw, unrefined state. The season complements Lee Krasner: Living with Colour in Barbican Art Gallery.

This month’s screenings include a double-bill from director Peter Emmanuel Goldman, Echoes of Silence (1964) and Pestilent City (1965), two rare micro-budget indies which offer captivating images of beat-era New York; an evening of short films by women pioneers of independent American cinema including Marie Menken, Shirley Clarke and Storm de Hirsch introduced by curator Helen de WittShirley Clarke’s The Cool World (1963), a compelling portrait of 1960s Harlem street life; and In the Street, a programme of rare short films showing New York in the 50s including work by DA Pennebaker, and films by street photographers Helen Levitt, William Klein and Rudy Burckhardt.

To view the full press release:

After the Wave: Young French Cinema in the 1970s
Thu 6–Thu 27 Jun 2019, Cinema 3

Taking place throughout June and July, this season showcases the films of the younger, radical generation of directors who emerged in France in the wake of the New Wave and of the events of May ’68.

The 1970s brought a new frankness about sex, an interest in the cultural fall-out of May ’68, and, above all, a foregrounding of regional, working-class and female protagonists.

The season highlights women who were breaking into the industry in larger numbers and beginning to make films, including Chantal Akerman’s stunning feature debut Je, Tu, Il, Elle (France/Belgium 1974), which she made at just 23, dealing with themes of intimacy, desire, longing and alienation. Desire is also central theme of Catherine Breillat’s visceral debut A Real Young Girl (France 1976), in which she rips apart conventional images of adolescent girlhood and portrays a raw and honest account of female sexuality.  Other highlights in June include Philippe Garrel’s L’enfant secret (France 1979) based on the director’s own life and relationship with the German singer Nico.

To view the full press release:

Early Japanese Animation + live accompaniment by the Guildhall Electronic music Studio
Silent Film and Live Music
Sun 9 Jun 2019, Cinema 1, 3pm

A compilation of early Japanese animation with live music accompaniment. These early anime films, including Namakura Gatana (The Dull Sword, 1917) and Kobu-Tori (The Lump, 1929), offer a fascinating glimpse into the beginnings of a rich history of Japanese animation which continues to this day. We here present a compilation of these formative works with live musical accompaniment by composers and musicians of the Guildhall’s Electronic Music Studio.

A Moon For My Father (#)+ ScreenTalk with Mania Akbari & Douglas White in conversation with Peter Bradshaw
UK/Iran 2018 Dirs Mania Akbari, Douglas White 75 min
Fri 14 Jun, Cinema 2, 6.30pm

A meeting of cinema and sculpture investigates remembrance and reconstruction, putting the trauma of the body in conversation with collective memory.

Written and directed by London-based Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari and her partner, British sculptor Douglas White, A Moon For My Father weaves a poetic tapestry from years of written and filmed correspondence between the pair. Family photographs, archival footage and imagery from White’s artwork intermix with documentary footage from Mania’s journey through cancer and pregnancy, connecting images and ideas in a dream-associative logic. Mixing the personal with the political through the visceral and conceptual engagement with the body, the film is an uncompromising, intimate work of artistic expression.


Il Pomo d’Oro / Edgar Moreau 
Sat 1 Jun 2019, Milton Court, 7.30pm

The Barbican’s Il Pomo d’Oro focus ends with a programme of cello concertos framed by orchestral music, featuring cello concertos by Platti, Tartini and Boccherini, as well as Handel’s Concerto Grosso; Durante’s Concerto for strings in F minor; Hasse’s Sinfonia in G minor, Op 5 No 6 and Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, Op 6 No 1. Soloist, French cellist Edgar Moreau, featured in the ECHO Rising Stars series in May 2017. Supported by Classical Futures Europe and the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Topic Records 80th Anniversary
Fri 7 Jun 2019, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Topic Records celebrates its 80th birthday in 2019. To coincide with the anniversary, the label releases a new landmark album entitled Vision and Revision: The First 80 Years Of Topic Records on 31 May, featuring an array of British folk royalty, each interpreting a song of their choice from Topic’s vast back catalogue. The special Barbican live date on 7 June 2019 will feature many of the artists on the album. Music Director for the celebrations at the Barbican will be Eliza Carthy, leading a specially assembled house band and a variety of guest artists. Confirmed artists include: Martin Carthy, Emily Portman, Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee, Alasdair Roberts, Olivia Chaney, Boss Morris and Chris Wood.

Andrew Bird
Thu 13 June 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter Andrew Bird makes a welcome and long-awaited return to the Barbican in June 2019, following his sold-out show at the Centre in March 2012. This concert will see him perform alongside his band and feature material from his new album My Finest Work Yet (out now via Loma Vista / Concord), which tackles themes of current day dichotomies and how to identify a moral compass amidst such divisive times.

Bach: Mass in B minor
Collegium Vocale Gent with conductor Philippe Herreweghe
Fri 14 Jun 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Few modern performers are better equipped to tackle Bach’s transcendent Mass setting than Philippe Herreweghe’s pioneering ensemble Collegium Vocale Gent. Together they have been performing Bach in a historically informed style for nearly six decades. And after a near-lifetime’s experience, Herreweghe’s ensemble approaches this music with an understanding and a naturalness that’s almost unequalled.

Conversations with Nick Cave
An Evening of Talk and Music
Wed 19 Jun 2019, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Following a sold-out run in Australia & New Zealand, Nick Cave brings his conversation events to Europe and the UK this spring and summer, stopping at the Barbican on Wednesday 19 June 2019. Appearing for a series of evenings of music and open discussion, Nick Cave will take questions from the audience on all manner of subjects and perform some of his most beloved songs on piano. Described by Cave as ‘an exercise in connectivity’, no subject is sacred, and audiences are encouraged to be bold and challenging, confrontational and unafraid.

The Cunning Little Vixen
London Symphony Orchestra/Rattle
Thu 27 & Sat 29 Jun 2019, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Leoš Janáček’s masterful comic opera The Cunning Little Vixen with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle features a stellar cast including Lucy Crowe, Gerald Finley, Sophie Burgos, Peter Hoare and Jan Martiník. This is the latest of Sir Simon Rattle and Peter Sellars’s operatic concert stagings, following their innovative, critically acclaimed artistic partnerships at the Barbican on Le Grand Macabre (2017) and Pelléas et Melisande (2016), all produced by the Barbican and LSO in collaboration. The Cunning Little Vixen is a life-affirming tale of love, death and the timeless cycle of nature, featuring eternal themes, vivid characters and a radiant score.

LSO highlights

Further LSO highlights include the continuation of the LSO Artist Portrait Series on Sunday 2 June featuring pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5, with Conductor Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas. Trifonov performs works by Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev in a solo recital on Monday 10 June. On Sunday 16 June LSO Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the LSO, with soloists Daniil Trifonov, Philip Cobb and Antoine Tamestit,  present Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Shostakovich’s Concerto No 1 and Berlioz’s Harold in Italy. Guest Conductor Elim Chan conducts the LSO Discovery showcase on Thursday 6 June with new devised pieces by Howard Moody’s LSO On Track Next Generation – talented young players from East London – plus audio-visual work created by LSO Discovery’s Digital Technology Group, and performances from LSO Create and LSO Discovery Senior Choir. The season concert on Sunday 9 June features Rimsky-Korsakov’s evocative Scheherazade, and a world premiere by Liam Mattison, and pianist Alice Sara Ott performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1.  Elim Chan conducts. Sir Simon Rattle is at the helm of the side-by-side LSO and Guildhall School concert on Thursday 20 June; the repertoire includes Bruckner’s Symphony No 4, and works by Vaughan Williams and Grainger.


The Knight of the Burning Pestle
Cheek by Jowl/Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre
Wed 5–Sat 8 Jun 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wed 5 Jun 2019, 7.45pm

Cheek by Jowl reunite with eminent Russian theatre company Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre to stage Francis Beaumont’s subversive comedy The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

The London Merchant, a drama about dysfunctional families, begins. Suddenly, from the audience, a grocer and his wife clamber onto the stage, explaining to the astonished actors that while they quite like the play, it could be a bit better – more exciting. Exotic locations, singing and dancing, and the appearance of a Knight are just what is needed to cheer the evening up. And, luckily, their apprentice Rafe is the man for the job. Director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod collaborate on this outrageous farce.

The Knight of the Burning Pestle is performed in Russian with English surtitles.

The Damned (Les Damnés)
Wed 19–Tue 25 Jun 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wed 19 Jun 2019, 7.45pm

Crackling with intensity, this triumphant spectacle directed by Ivo van Hove depicts the disintegration of a society, undone through a venomous alliance, the drama finding unsettling parallels today.

Luchino Visconti’s screenplay is the springboard for a ceaselessly creative production, which follows a family of German industrialists – the corrupt and debauched Essenbeck clan. With echoes of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, their deepening collusion with the nascent Nazi regime puts them on a perilous path to destruction.

Invited to direct the illustrious troupe of the Comédie-Française for the first time, van Hove and his long-time collaborator Jan Versweyveld populate the Barbican stage with a company of 30 actors and technicians.

The Damned (Les Damnés) is performed in French with English surtitles.


Architecture on Stage

New Architects: OMMX, Gatti Routh Rhodes, Cooke Fawcett, Office S&M
Thu 6 Jun 2019, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

Anupama Kundoo
Mon 10 Jun 2019, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm                   

New Architects: David Leech, Apparata, Casswell Bank, If_Do
Thu 20 Jun 2019, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm                      

Thu 27 Jun 2019, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

The Architecture Foundation and Barbican in partnership present Architecture on Stage – a programme of talks by the world's leading architects. In June, eight of the UK's most exciting young architectural practices join us to talk about recent projects and the nature of their work over two New Architects events, Anupama Kundoo discusses her research focused architectural practice that develops new building technologies with socio-economic benefits, and Paris-based Bruther speak about their practice across architecture, research, education, urbanism and landscape.

Lee Krasner: Living Colour
Thu 30 May–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:


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.