Defining Creative Exchange Clusters at Newcastle

At Newcastle, our first two Creative Exchange labs will focus on building clusters around Performance, Liveness and Participation and Stories, Archives and Living Heritage.

These topics emerged from interviews carried out with each of our partner organisations to determine what areas that were interested in and how these interests might be explored by the Creative Exchange. They also draw upon Open Lab’s existing expertise generated through research carried out over the past few years.

Our first theme will ask questions about how technology can be used to augment both live and broadcast performances, and how this can affect the audience’s experience of the performance. Looking at some of our past work, Jon Hook’s research has led to the design of novel interfaces for VJs and electronic musicians. Whereas a laptop gives the audience little indication of what a performer is doing, Jon’s Waves interface was designed to make the VJ’s actions visible to the audience without ruining the magic, much in the way that an audience can appreciate the skill in playing a traditional instrument without needing to understand the instrument’s mechanics.

Our second theme will look at what storytelling and heritage means in the digital age. The digital public space offers unprecedented opportunities for the public to build their own representation of their personal and community heritages, augmenting or even contradicting traditional accounts. For example, Rachel Clarke’s My Great North Run was a digital museum installation that allowed members of the public to record their own memories of the Great North Run, building a crowdsourced exhibit inside a traditional museum.

Starting with our Labs in February and March, we’re looking forward to working with diverse partners including the BBC, Microsoft Research, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Opera North to deliver new projects that continue to innovate in these areas.