This year’s festival programme focuses on bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds, showcasing art, digital media and gaming, with several specially commissioned pieces on display for the first time.
Festival Organiser, Lyall Bruce, says, ‘Dundee is a very digital city, with a forward-thinking attitude to design. We’re playing on the quirkiness of Dundee’s past – it was the birthplace of the Beano and the Dandy – and looking forward to its new structures of creativity. Dundee has always been a city with a sense of fun, a sense of play.’
NEoN’s programme attempts a digital mapping of Dundee. Donna Holford-Lovell, curator of the festival says, ‘Every year we try to use more spaces across the city – from churches to car parks.’
Festival goers become city flaneurs with artist Jaygo Bloom’s augmented-reality app, Bom-Baze, specially commissioned for the festival. Bom-Baze (the Scots for ‘bamboozle’), allows the city-wanderer to encounter Bloom’s digital artwork as they wander the city.
Other highlights include artist Peter William Holden’s Finding Kinaesthesia exhibition, where robotic structures made from a gaggle of prothetic limbs are choreographed into tap dancers and sychronised swimmers.
Whilst metal legs are tapping in time, in another part of the city musical instruments made from pork will be squealing the ‘story of a single farm animal’s life, from birth to plate’. The finale involves a pork feast being served to the audience, all part of Matthew Herbert’s critically acclaimed production, One Pig, at Dundee’s Rep Theatre. Lady Gaga, take note.
The thoroughly anti industry-conference, short-format style of the programme comes into its own with Pecha Kucha Night Volume 4. NEoN’s version of Pecha Kucha is ostensibily a series of ‘talks’, providing 6-minute immersions in anything from a discussion of the microworlds of Lothian buses, to the art of making biscuit-shaped pillows.
Gaming plays a key part in the festival. True gaming dedicatees will submit to the pilgrimage of Gameplay, which follows a route around ‘secret locations’ in Dundee, on the look out for image-recognition game tags. Once located, the player will enable the Gameplay app to view and interact with the ‘3D augmentation’.
Let’s face it, NEoN is a bit of a geek-fest. But one for fabulous super-geeks, who crush the idea of ‘geek-chic’ in their all-powerful gamer claws.
NEoN runs from 4 – 10 November at various Dundee locations. For more information visit www.northeastofnorth.com