Neon digital festival unveils expanded 2010 programme


LED bus-stop signs that interpret sound and hairy beings on roller skates will be among the sights at this year’s Neon international digital arts festival, which takes place in venues around Dundee from 8-14 November.

This is the second year of the Neon (North East of North) festival, which is run by a partnership which includes Interactive Tayside, Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre, Dundee City Council, the University of Abertay, Revolver PR and Hungry Boy Design.

This year’s festival will see last year’s two-day conference expanded into a week-long event, featuring moving image, performance, music and technology -driven arts.

Donna Holford-Lovell, cultural projects officer for the University of Abertay, says, ’This year, rather than preaching to the converted, we’re trying to encompass a lot more projects that are accessible to more people.’

She adds, ’It’s to celebrate what pre-exists in Dundee in terms of artists’ and digital output, and to bring in international artists and speakers to give people of the city the chance to see new things and expand their knowledge.’

Based around this year’s ’character’ theme, the festival aims to explore how visual art, information technology and media production can combine to expand digital development and knowledge.

There will be a two-day conference, from 11-12 November, which aims to open up new collaborations between art, digital media and games communities through debate on topics such as design and digital character play.

Among the speakers at the conference will be Chris Van der Kuyl of Bright Solid, Ian Livingstone from Eidos, Ian Anderson from Designers Republic and artist and entrepreneur Lars Denicke.

The conference will also host ’masterclasses’ from experts in digital design. Fraser McLean, who worked on the first Roger Rabbit film, will be giving an introduction to the illustration and design of animated characters, while Ken Perlin, inventor of the Perlin Noise software program, will also give a presentation.

The penultimate day of Neon will see the festival take over the seventh storey of a multi-storey car park with an evening of digital-based music and performance.

This will include ’Van Art’ – a series of digital installations in the back of a van – and a performance from ’chip tune busker’ Edward Shello, who uses old technology such as Nintendo Game Boy to create sound.

Ian Bruce, managing director of Revolver PR, says that he sees the festival as an ongoing, annual event. He says, ’I see Neon as an international festival that could grow into something really big.’

Neon in detail

  • Neon will hold film screenings based around the idea of cinematic innovation, including Metropolis and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The main conference will be preceded by an international app development event from 8-10 November
  • Part of the festival will see University of Abertays’ student centre transformed into an immersive digital playground
  • Exhibitions include shows from Japanese artist Akinori Oishi, graphics duo Tado and artists from Berlin-based project Pictoplasma (pictured below left)

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