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Profile: Di Mainstone

Multi-disciplinary artist and international award-winning filmmaker

Multi-disciplinary artist, Di Mainstone collaborates with communities, scientists, historians, and musicians to develop installations and experiences that mix costumes, sculpture, music, dance, and technology. Radical Rooms, commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects, was an audiovisual installation that combined many of these elements. Created with architect Charles Holland, this immersive exhibition highlighted the profound role of women in the history of architecture. Di is a WIRED innovation fellow and was an artist in residence for the European City of Science in Manchester. The result of her residency ‘Soundpit’ is an audio-visual experience installed at the Southbank Centre for a sellout four-month run, returning the following year by popular demand.

Di is also a multi-award-winning filmmaker, incorporating her musical costumes and props into films that focus on issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and forgotten women’s histories. As a commissioned artist for London’s Tower Bridge, Di created an award- winning climate-inspired film called Time Bascule to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Her series of guerrilla art films, “Deeds Not Words”, were supported by WITCiH, ACE, British Council, and BFI to celebrate the centenary of the first women voters. Di is the founder of the acclaimed Human Harp, a digital musical device that transforms suspension bridges into giant harps so that people can play them. Lakes Ignite Festival commissioned Di to create Time Mirror, an interactive kaleidoscope for the public realm, installed at Blackwell Arts & Crafts House and later Grizedale Sculpture Park.

Di was an artist in residence at the iconic music venue Sage in Gateshead where she transformed the building into a giant musical instrument as part of a speculative design fiction film. For five years, Di was also a resident at Queen Mary University of London, where she collaborated with the School of Engineering to develop body-centric sonic instruments that transform physical movement into sound via digital technology. Di invented the term “movician” to describe the players of her wearable instruments; part-mover part-musician. Di’s work has been exhibited and screened extensively, most notably at RIBA, V&A, Design Museum, Barbican, The National Portrait Gallery, Tower Bridge, The Roundhouse, The Cannes Film Festival, Eyebeam NYC, and the Swedish National Touring Theatre. Di’s work has been featured by Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC World Service, New Yorker, New York Times, Time Out and The Observer, Financial Times, Wallpaper, Monocle and Architect’s Journal.