This February, Scottish choreographer and curator Colette Sadler and Feral present Present Futures – a festival for 2021. Its fourth iteration, the festival brings together some of the best in digital creativity and explorations of both technology in practice and explorations of its impact on humans and the world we live in.
The festival is perfectly positioned to directly look to the unprecedented situation facing live performance and the arts. Presenting a collection of short film, artist moving image, immersive audio, online discussion and workshops the digital edition of Present Futures will highlight Scottish and International artists whose work operates between performance, film, visual art and sound.
Just some of the highlights include Feel My Metaverse – a gaming-engine CGI film about the world post-climate-apocalypse by Keiken. Keiken are a Berlin-London based collaborative practice, well-known for their installations and film work merging the physical and digital. Wong Ping presents video work Dear, Can I Give You A Hand addressing the tension – filled with wry and risqué humour – between an aging population and the relentless pace of the digital economy. Drawing on queer and bicultural ancestral mythologies, Australian artist Justin Shoulder presents his work Carrion, from 2017, exploring what it means to be human in an era of destructive influence over the planet. Transforming a moving body into sound – Tim Murray-Browne and Panagiotis Tigas’ world premiere of Sonified Body will be accompanied by a conversation about the new use of AI seen in the piece.
Sadler presents a collaboration with Mikko Gaestel & Heiko Tubbesing Re(Searching) BODY A – a sound journey with generated movement that toys with the overload of visual online information we all live with. This work is a follow up to her ongoing work Learning from the Future and Temporary Store.
Interactive phone-call 1-800-LONGING4IT by Mass Hysteria Collective and Leah Marojević is a one-on-one fifteen-minute performance right into your most often used piece of tech – your phone. Scottish artists Alicia Matthews and Robbie Thompson present AR piece Standstill of the Moon in the North – Part 1, which takes its inspiration from the cultures of the Western Isles. In a timely look at ideas of consent and ownership live zoom performance Be Arielle F sees videographer and visual artist Simon Senn share his experience of buying a digital replica of a female body online and his journey to find the woman whose body he was <virtually> inhabiting.
Samir Kennedy’s Death Drill will be available throughout the weekend – the 25-minute piece requires audience listen with headphones in a dark room. Death Drill is an intermediate military training procedure, all those taking part are junior military personal preparing for deployment.
Discussions will be led by a range of creatives looking both at the issues thrown at the creative industries in 2020. Dr Laura Bissell and Lucy Weir lead a discussion on the evolving situation for live arts in Performance in a Pandemic; Subverting the Dataset is an artist to artist discussion looking at AI bias with Jake Elwes and Libby Odai , Rejecting the Species Binary, chaired also by Dr Bissell looks into both connection and human’s separation from ‘nature,’ expect dynamic conversation from artists Soojin Chang and Hamshya Rajkumar.
Present Futures 2021 also features a series of works in progress including Associateship Artists Siri Black, Clarinda Tse and Laura Fisher. Glasgow-based Black presents 500NM, a film which documents the application of Moore’s Law into the implications of Moore’s Law – the speed at which tech works and responds and its availability to users. Hong Kong born Glasgow-based Clarinda Tse presents Textures Gestures Meshes Measures – a video collage looking at movement, dance and body along street-nature-scapes. The piece is in development for a future live performance. Laura Fisher’s Hot & Bothered: Utilising thermostatic imaging technology in the choreographic process, shares insights into their pain informed approach working with her body and sheet metal.
Creative technologies is a space Collette Sadler has long worked in; her expertise and artistic practice form a grounding for a very detailed exploration of digital in choreography and digital art. Present Futures is a festival from before ‘art went digital’ and now in a prescient space to speak to stories, fears and identity shared through a global pandemic. The reality of the digital relationship is explored looking back through human evolution and right up to the current dichotomy – accepting the climate crisis and the impact of COVID on lived experience and art making moving between the dichotomy of virtual and physical realities
The opportunity to hold Present Futures in early 2021 was an exciting one, as here’s this huge network of creatives who have got the work ready to go – alongside the Artist ships which we would ‘in normal times’ experience live in the same space – but all work that speaks to the intersection between our human experience and the digital world.
In constantly changing times Present Futures creates a platform for exchange and discussion on the expanded notion of choreography, digital, AI and performance art with and beyond bodies – set within a digital space.
Tickets are on sale now, visit presentfutures.org.