Life Hacked – A spotlight on our final Saturday summit as part of Distractions

Saturday 20 July | HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN

Morning session: 10:00am–1:00pm 
Afternoon session: 2:00pm–5:00pm 

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In our final Interdependence summit, we examine how leaps forward in science and technology are enabling us to reconfigure our minds, bodies and relationships with each other. We’ll join the artists, scientists and thinkers who are reckoning with the big questions of our automated age: what are the ethical considerations around AI? Should Facebook be paying you? How can we make the web more democratic? Can machines help us rebuild the planet faster than we are using them to destroy it? Find out through talks, performances and interactive demonstrations in a unique event exploring our technological present and future.

Morning Session: 10:00am1:00pm


Introduction by John McGrath, Artistic Director of MIF


Machine Learning and Automation for the People

Are new ‘intelligent’ technologies a chance to create a more equal society, or will human stupidity mean they entrench existing inequalities?

With Aaron Bastani, founder of Novara Media, Dr. Subramanian Ramamoorthy, Associate Professor School of Informatics University of Edinburgh, data ethicist Abeba Birhane and Professor Dan McQuillan, Lecturer in Creative & Social Computing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Chaired by Lizzie O’Shea, human rights lawyer and author of Future Histories (Verso, 2019)

Demo: Anna Ridler

Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher interested in working with collections of information or data, particularly self-generated data sets, she is currently working with and researching the creative potential of machine learning, and how it relates to drawing and painting.

Expanding the frontiers of perception

The newest storytelling tool for creators offers the tantalising possibility of merging the physical and the virtual but can mixed reality ever match the power of great art or literature to move us? This panel takes a philosophical look at how the challenges of using the art form take us to the heart of what it is to be human and the nature of reality. With Jessica Brillhart (Vrai Pictures), Todd Eckert (Tin Drum), Eleanor ‘Nell’ Whitley (Marshmallow Laser Feast). Chaired by Sarah Ellis (Royal Shakespeare Company).

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Demo: MIF19 game commission Songs of the Lost walkthrough, with Paloma Dawkins and Dan Hett

Songs of the Lost is a magic-realist game odyssey through a surreal and absurd digital landscape. You’ll cross boundaries and traverse borders, roam hidden highways and meet enigmatic strangers, explore secret forests and enter the void on your journey to Apocabliss, the last safe haven…


Lost in a Good Game

Independent game designer Paloma Dawkins, digital artist and game designer Dan Hett and artist Hardeep Pandhal explore ‘good’ gaming. Paloma Dawkins has created a new game for MIF19, Songs of the Lost. Dan Hett is a BAFTA winning games designer, writer and digital artist who has created a number of experiences, including The Loss Levels, which explore his personal experience of the 2017 Manchester terrorist attack. Artist Hardeep Pandhal has created a festival commission inspired by Alfie Bown’s The Playstation Dreamworld, which argues that the left should occupy gaming and use it to subvert the capitalist norms of today’s society through joy.

Demo: TEM

Go behind the scenes of Skepta’s DYSTOPIA987 with TEM, a design studio that takes moving image to new spaces. Interweaving new developments in visual technology with spatial design, they create interactions and experiences that exist at the convergence of virtual and physical space to craft evocative experiences and tell meaningful stories. Their directors have worked with artists including Beyoncé, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, and James Blake. They have collaborated with Skepta for MIF19.


Afternoon Session: 2:00pm–5:00pm 


Introduction by John McGrath, Artistic Director of MIF


An Alternative History of the Internet

Internet pioneer Dame Wendy Hall and author and lawyer Lizzie O’Shea in conversation with Claire L. Evans, author of Broad Band – The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. They discuss the alternative internet that could have been and why the future will be decentralised.

Strange Chaos in the Atmosphere

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer discusses his MIF19 commission Atmospheric Memory with Verena Rieser, Professor in Conversational Artificial Intelligence and Professor Sophie Scott, Deputy Director and Head of the Speech Communications Group at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Can buildings think and dream? Expanding the possibilities of architecture through digitizing memory

As MIF prepares to open The Factory in 2021, media artist Refik Anadol talks to John McGrath about virtual architecture and his research into how buildings can think and dream, changing our relationship to space, time and the physical world.

Refik Anadol is a media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of machine intelligence. Anadol’s site-specific parametric data sculptures, live audio/visual performances, and immersive installations take many forms, while offering a dramatic rethinking of the physical world, our relationship to time and space, and the creative potential of machines.


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I see Infinity Room as a means of escape to a new dimension, an opportunity to be temporarily released from our habitual perceptions and culturally biased assumptions, to enable us, however momentarily, to freshly perceive ourselves and the world around us. Refik Anadol speaking about Infinity Room
Restorative design and rebuilding the world

How can technology and design help us rebuild our relationship to nature? And what is the role artists and more broadly, the imagination, can play helping conceive of existential realities such as post-societal collapse adaptation. With critical engineer and artist Julian Oliver, creator of the of Extinction Gong, environmental VR artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen and Vivien Sansour, an artist, conservationist, writer and founder of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. Chair Dr Alex Lockwood, Senior Lecturer at Sunderland University and author of The Chernobyl Privileges (Roundfire Books).

Demo: Marshmallow Laser Feast

Marshmallow Laser Feast is a creative studio that explores technology to make work which reinterprets the idea of human perception. Their work is responsive and spans kinetic sculpture, film, live performance and virtual reality.

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