Northern drive

Electronic, digital and kinetic art and design is having a bit of a moment.

Onedotzero and the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Decode: Digital Design Sensations is running to much appreciation until early April, last month saw Code: Craft open at Museums Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery, and earlier this month Kinetica Art Fair took up at London’s P3 venue. The North East is throwing its hat in the ring, as the biennial AV Festival 2010 launches across the region next month.

An ambitious programme of exhibitions, installations, symposiums, performances and film screenings will take place in venues and on the streets of Newcastle Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Among the projects are Sky Colour Wheel, a visual representation of the North East sky by Alec Findlay and Jack Lowe which will appear on bus-stop graphics across Sunderland; Buddha Machines, a sound installation by Simon Fisher Turner which uses 50 of the ambient music gadgets across the city’s Winter Gardens to create a hypnotic new remix; and a recycled film symposium that brings together film organisations and makers to discuss online access to film archives and the creative use of this material in the digital age, with an appearance by legendary film-maker Kenneth Anger.

Technology has developed by leaps and bounds in recent years, but according to AV curator Rebecca Shatwell, the festival is not just about new developments. ’It’s about how artists have used electronics creatively, looking back and exploring old technology and its relationship with new technology.’ The festival has grown since its inception in 2003, and this year’s sees two artists in residence for the first time, alongside 15 new commissions. There is no doubt, says Shatwell, that the festival ’reflects the vibrancy of the area’.

AV Festival 2010 takes place from 4-14 March at venues across Newcastle Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. For programme information, visit

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