We Are Now Festival at RichMix
We Are Now Festival was a weekend of theatre, interactive installations and immersive virtual reality experiences at RichMix in London. The event took place on the 1st and 2nd September 2017, where a number of artists used technology in performances and interactive experiences.
I attended the Saturday of the Festival and started by looking at a couple of student installations.
Installations from Jordan Wu and Joe McAlister
The first installation, called “Negative Space”, was created by Jordan Wu. He uses an Oculus Rift to create an experience which connects the physical world to a virtual one. The piece was fun to play with as you can see the movements of real people in a space which initially looks like the current room but then transforms to look like other worlds.
The second installation, called “A.M.I”, invited you to add your twitter details, so that they could be read by a machine which provides commentary about the large amount of personal information available online. Created by Joe McAlister, the work was visually intriguing as I looked upon seven brains. Each lit up as A.M.I reflected on my Tweeting history.
Buy a Revolver and Breathe
I then took part in one performance and watched another.
The first was a walking experience called “Buy a Revolver”, created by Produced Moon. A small group of us were first asked to download the Buy a Revolver app and put on our headphones. We were then asked to choose between two stories from Constance Markiewicz’s life, the first woman to be elected to British parliament. For the next 20 minutes, split into two groups, we would each go on an interactive audio adventure walking around the RichMix building, during which we found out more about one part of her life. The two groups then came back together to debate whether we should let Markiewicz into a list notable people. The debate was a little difficult as we did not really know the criteria to judge someone as notable, nor did we feel we had enough knowledge of Markiewicz to make an actual judgement. However, the “Buy a Revolver” experience was certainly fun to try and made for an enjoyable afternoon adventure.
After that, I watched a solo performance by Alicia Jane Turner, called “Breathe”. The 40 minute show mixed sounds of breathing, film footage, spoken word and a live violin performance to explore the relationship between our bodies and minds. I admired the performance and the ideas behind the work, but I felt like the show became a little repetitive. Yet, take nothing away from Turner, as her talent was clear for all to see and she was a compelling performer to watch.
Electro-Jazz and Chiminyo
The last performance I saw of the day was a live Electro-jazz dance fusion by Chiminyo. Chiminyo is a drummer, who has connected his drum kit to a laptop which plays music, composed earlier, each time he hits a drum. Chiminyo was joined on stage by Ben Moon, who created live visuals on a large screen which complemented his rhythmic music. For me this was the most exciting performance I saw at the festival and I’ll certainly be following Chiminyo in the future.
I really enjoyed We Are Now Festival and would love to see it become a regular event. These are the kind of events that are needed to engage the public with exciting pieces of art created with technology. So, thank you to everyone involved.
Top Photography by Gemma Bell for Here and Now.