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FutureFantastic comes to HOME Manchester

Sat 25th - Sun 26th February 2023, 12:00-20:00

A weekend celebrating the collaborative work of artists from UK and India

This February, FutureEverything, Bangalore-based tech-art platform BeFantastic, and Manchester-based partners and venue HOME will deliver a weekend pop-up event and a programme of activity sharing artistic ideas, concepts and artworks created for FutureFantastic, India’s first artificial intelligence (AI) and art festival engaging with climate change, part of the British Council’s India Together UK Season of Culture.

The FutureFantastic pop-up showcase offers a prelude behind-the-scenes peek at two FutureFantastic prototype commissions before they’re presented in their final form at the Bangalore festival in March. These AI-enabled installations have been conceptualised and created by artists, creative technologists and performers from India and the UK, coming together through a mentoring scheme and programme spearheaded by FutureEverything and BeFantastic. 

Visitors to HOME will have the opportunity to explore artworks and attend a series of talks that highlight international collaborations and creative productions that amplify a global response to our shared climate emergency.  All this with the belief that we are capable of manifesting a radical, open and optimistic future as activated global citizens. Together.

About the Installations

Give me a Sign

A prototype for an interactive storytelling tool which uses Machine Learning and hand gestures – from ancient Indian dance practices – to trigger urgent and important conversations of multiplicity, climate crisis and the anthropocene.

Description: We are the stories that we tell ourselves. Give me a Sign invites audiences to interact with an illusionary AI entity called Shunya who responds to certain mudras, sharing facts, poetic insights, and concerns relating to our changing climate. In the tradition of Sci-Fi, it can be useful to unpack and digest and think about such difficult and overwhelming situations through fantastical means, probing into and confronting our insecurities about what change is coming and how might we live and respond to this new and potentially hostile environment.

The project highlights the significance and power of physical gesture, expressing meaning in relation to our physical environment. Repurposing Mudras to reconnect with nature and convey the climate concerns we face, building a bridge between human, machine and cultures.

Artists: Upasana Nattoji Roy (INDIA) | Diane Edwards (UK) 

Tech Collaborator: Shayekh Mohammad Arif (BANGLADESH)

Only A Game (?)

A locative embodied gaming experience based on movement arts explorations where the participants use body movements as the controller to race against time and offset changes in their environment. The aim is to convey non-intuitive concepts underlying climate science, the urgency and reality of climate change, and the role of the individual and of the collective.

DescriptionOnly a Game is an experience that aims to engage emotionally, culturally, intellectually invested stakeholders in climate action – to foster conversations on the idea of how our actions change the environment around us. Even though individual action rarely makes a significant impact, it is not futile – significant effects will only manifest from collective, directed, and informed action.

Through somatic and movement arts explorations, players can discover how powerful individual and collective embodied experiences can be for learning playfully while still being transformative; they co-create “emergent” tangible art-pieces that expresses these collective embodied experiences.

Artists: Pritha Kundu (INDIA) | Tiz Creel (UK) | Fabian Raith (GERMANY) 

Supported By: Tanya Saxena (INDIA), David McFarlane (UK)

Panel Discussion

Manchester to Bangalore: Art and technology at a time of climate crisis

Saturday 25th February, 2023 @ 15:00

From the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and the home of the first electronic-stored programme computer to the heart of India’s IT industry or Silicon Valley, Manchester and Bangalore are two cities at the forefront of digital innovation, development and technological investment. Both cities also have a thriving art tech scene and community, including artists who push technology’s boundaries and invite us to explore new perspectives and ways of thinking through their work. 

In this panel discussion, we are exploring how technology and art come together at a time when society, our world and relations are heavily mediated through digital technologies and capitalism, but also at a time of great challenges, such as the climate crisis. Can art help us rethink and reimagine technology and societal systems and enable us to engage with the world and ecosystems in non exploitative ways? 

This is a free ticketed event. Tickets can be acquired at the HOME box-office and via the HOME website HERE.

Speakers: Valentino Catricala (SODA), Hannah Andrews (Director of Digital Innovation at British Council), FutureFantastic Artists – Upasana Nattoji Roy, Pritha Kundu, Diane Edwards, Tiz Creel, David McFarlane and chaired by FutureEverything Creative Director Irini Papadimitriou.

More About FutureFantastic Festival

FutureFantastic is an ambitious project and festival conceptualised by Jaaga’s BeFantastic (India), in collaboration with FutureEverything (UK) scheduled for late March 2023 in Bangalore, India. The festival and its programming is supported by the British Council as part of the India/UK Together Season of Culture and aims to communicate the urgency of the climate emergency by bringing together art and creative applications of Artificial Intelligence.  

FutureFantastic is the outcome of a series of international fellowships fostering creative exchange and collaboration between emerging and established artists and technologists, each focusing on the thematic focus of climate action, through different forms of artistic practice like interactive installations and performances. In its curation, it hopes to further the discourse around climate consciousness while simultaneously informing its audiences of the possibilities augmented and artificial intelligence has to offer. FutureFantastic will feature artists and collectives whose practices have been pushing the boundaries of art and technology in recent years. 

Through accessible, participatory artworks, as well as a series of public dialogues and workshops that demystify artificial intelligence and focus on current topics and challenges, FutureFantastic invites audiences online and in Bangalore to take part and think differently about the future of our planet. 

The project has been developing over three strands including: 

  • BeFantastic Within: a fellowship programme, running between May 2022 and January 2023 bringing together Indian, UK and international creative practitioners to collaborate on a series of artistic commissions.
  • BeFantastic Beyond: a series of AI-art commissions bringing together artists from India and the UK, with leading climate change research institutions from India and the UK.
  • FutureFantastic festival in Bangalore in March 2023 to showcase all commissions and activity.