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New arts programme to explore our relationship with technology

By charliewatts, Wednesday Sep 30, 2020

A new arts programme that is set to “demystify, reframe and transform” our relationship with technology is coming to Bristol.

Control Shift will see three weeks of workshops, exhibitions and events taking place online and across the city, from Friday, October 2 to Sunday, October 18.

The programme will open with This City Is – a projection of poetry onto the outside of Bristol Central Library – and close with The Departed – a digital seance at the Ashton Court Mansion.

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It is being curated by Martha King, Becca Rose and Rod Dickinson, who are part of the Control Shift Network – a local collective of of artists, producers and technologists.

Control Shift will offer us new perspectives on how we use technology. Photo supplied by Control Shift

Martha says the programme is open to everyone, regardless of how little or much they know about technology.

“If you’re an absolute beginner and you don’t know much about tech, there’ll be something for you”, she says. “If you’re actually a creative technologist in the field, then there should be other things that should be thought-provoking for you as well.”

The organisers are taking over an empty shop unit in The Galleries as part of the programme. This and The Vestibules at City Hall will be home to interactive installations such as Face / On – a playful exploration of facial recognition technology.

“You have to kind of trick a door in order to make it open, so that’s quite fun,” says Martha.

People will have the chance to add code into their knitting as part of the programme. Photo supplied by Control Shift

There will also be artist-led walks in places such as Brandon Hill and the Harbourside, while online Knitwitter will give people the chance to encode secret messages into their knitting.

Indigeneity & Digital Entanglements – a series of short films from Africa – will challenge the idea that technology comes from the West, and will be shown online as well as at Arnolfini as part of the programme.

Podcast Interwave by KASAVA – six young women who are part of the Rising Arts Agency – will also be produced over the course of Control Shift. This will look at the effect on our lives of ‘Zoom fatigue’, which is brought on by constantly being on video calls because of the coronavirus crisis.

The programme will encourage us to think differently about how we use technology. Photo supplied by Control Shift

Martha says that now feels like a good time to do the programme, as technology “can seem so out of our control sometimes”.

“That’s why we wanted to call it Control Shift, as we wanted to change who has the feeling of power when it comes to technology,” she says.

The programme is funded by Arts Council England, Institute of Coding, University of the West of England, SWCTN and Knowle West Media Centre.

Find out more and get involved by visiting the Control Shift website:

Main image supplied by Control Shift

Read more: How can Bristol’s creative industries lead an inclusive future for the city?  

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