- , 2016
Tickets cost £ various
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Sheffield is a city as famous for industry as it is for its contribution to culture, making it the perfect place to host Algomech – the first Festival of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement.
Algomech will host an array of events including talks, hands-on workshops, concerts, and a full-on algorave all exploring algorithmic and mechanical movement. From vibrating flowerpots to clog dancing and live coding, the festival will push boundaries and explore new weird and wonderful technologies. Here are some of the events taking place:
Kicking things off on the 12th November will be a talk on the emergence of e-textiles in Millennium Gallery from Becky Stewart. The talk will explore the future role of electronic textiles (imagine a chair with sensors woven inside the cover that let you know when you’re slouching too much or a piece of fabric that can be tapped or swiped just like an iPad.) Becky will look at how this developing technology could change the way we live and will lead into a "meet the maker" session where there’ll be a chance to ask any questions. This talk has already been awarded the annual Daphne Oram Lecture by the British Science Association.
DINA on Cambridge Street will host Dead Plants and Living Objects – a collaborative sound installation/concert by sound artists Rie Nakajima and Pierre Berthet. The event will focus on creating various ways to make objects as diverse as flower pots, bamboo sticks, ping pong balls and bones vibrate so that their acoustic shadows dance around the room and our view of the object is changed.
On the first Saturday and Sunday night, Millennium Gallery will host Crafting Sound – a concert featuring the diverse art forms of clog dancing, music boxes, embroidery and live coding, each of which will give a different perspective on the human side of mechanisms and algorithms.
If you’ve ever fancied getting involved in live coding, the Algorave Academy at Access Space will provide a hands-on beginners workshop where you’ll learn how to make music and visuals with text. All you need is a laptop and you can borrow one if needed.
As we all know, Sheffield played a starring role in the birth of electronic music during the late 1970s with acts such as Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, The Human League and Heaven 17 creating new and exciting sounds that would go on to influence millions across the world. Continuing in this pioneering spirit, the city is now a central player in the Algorave scene. An algorave is a combination of algorithms and a rave, where alien rhythms and expressive visuals are all created from code in real time. Described by The Wire magazine as "coding as improvisation and experiment" it’s something that has to be experienced firsthand to really appreciate. Hosted at Millennium Gallery, the Algorave will be a unique event. And you can hear more about live coding in a free lunchtime talk in the daytime.
The closing event will begin with a dance performance from Kate Sicchio – a choreographer, media artist and performer whose work explores the interface between choreography and technology. There’ll also be a DJ set from aggrobeat pioneers Blood Sport and a powerful performance from Chinstroke Records legend DJ Dadmagnet. All donations on the door go to the charitable work of Access Space.
In a city that’s never been known to shy away from breaking boundaries or a little bit of experimentation, the programme of events at Algomech looks set to further challenge and inspire audiences.
Photo: Shelly Knotts and Alex McLean.