The Digital Programmes’ big annual event as part of LDF is back and after months of planning and a few frantic weeks of preparations, we are looking forward to some exciting events this coming Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s theme and projects are focussing on citizen design, engagement and participation and it all started in Mexico!
Earlier this year, I had the great opportunity to join a team of brilliant people from across the UK and Mexico City. With the support of and in collaboration with the British Council, we started a very exciting journey connecting people across the Atlantic in a series of cultural exchanges, the Digital Futures UKMX, part of our monthly Digital Futures meetup that is an open platform for displaying and discussing work. Digital Futures UKMX took place as part of the Dual Year of UK and Mexico 2015; a year-long celebration of cultural, educational and business exchange between the two nations.
Digital Futures UKMX brought together communities in Mexico City and Dundee to explore, develop and co-design open collaborative tools and projects addressing issues such as the environment, climate, open data, waste, sustainability and more. Participants on both sides of the Atlantic joined with incredible enthusiasm to explore their cities in new ways and show how working collaboratively can influence, improve or change the civic design of our communities, cities, public space, the web and more.
Mexico and Dundee are not two cities that would be people’s natural first choice for a twinning exercise of this kind. However, when framed as an exploration of innovation coming from unexpected places, then inviting people from a huge city like Mexico City, with a population of 22 million, and Dundee, which has less than 150,000, starts to make more sense. To bring people together from these two very different cities was a great chance for thinking about common links and the challenges we face in both a megacity and a small one. What’s interesting is that since we’ve been exploring design across these two cities, we’re uncovering more and more unexpected connections; connections which are helping to form a deeper cultural exchange.
Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Centro de Cultura Digital, Laboratorio de Arte Alameda, Social Tic, Hacedores.com, Small Society Lab Dundee, Uniform and the Interaction Design Studio at Goldsmiths University of London were our great partners in this journey, and I am so glad that they could join us in London for the Digital Design Weekend to share the work we did in Mexico City and Dundee.
This weekend you can meet them at the V&A and hear all about our amazing journey and collaboration. But this is also a great chance to see many other brilliant projects and meet designers, artists, makers and collectives that explore and enable civic engagement.
The weekend kicks off tomorrow, Friday night with a screening of techno-explorer and futurologist Nelly Ben Hayoun’s new film “Disaster Playground” (66min), which will open with a performance by the TradAcademy Sea Shanty Choir.
Over the weekend we will be showcasing a huge programme of cutting edge, international projects, including:
Every Object by Prix Ars Electronica winner Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, a mixed media installation that explores an infinite, digital, 3D V&A collection that may soon exist.
Circular Knitic, an open source replicable circular knitic machine produced with digital fabrication and maker’s tools.
If You Go Away, an interactive, cinematic game from Invisible Flock which will lead you on a story you can direct around the V&A and the surrounding area.
Marginalia Machine, a drawing robot, Collidoscope, a musical microscope that allows you to zoom into sounds you’ve just recorded, and play and perform your sonic discoveries like an instrument, and Seven Seconds Ago, a live feed portal to wildlife at a watering hole in Africa.
There is also lots for young people and families to enjoy, including Young Rewired State Coding Challenge, a hack for young digital makers in partnership with the Met Office, and Family fun trails by Gamar, a mobile augmented reality app that allows families to follow clues, solve creative challenges and uncover hidden stories in our Paintings and Theatre and Performance Galleries.
And thanks to the valuable support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council we have an amazing publication designed by Uniform; a collection of writings from Digital Futures UKMX and a selection of projects displayed at the Digital Design Weekend this year.
The Digital Design Weekend is taking place at the V&A on Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 September, from 10.30 to 17.00.
Events are free and drop-in, but places for some are limited, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Most events are suitable for all ages.
For the full Digital Design Weekend programme click here.