FREQUENCY International Festival of Digital Culture – a digital festival for everyone – returned to Lincoln last month, transforming the city’s rhythm over four days with a festival programme that captured imaginations, challenged perceptions and inspired change.
Despite the rain, the festival saw people from all walks of life visit events located in public spaces across the city, exploring a range of immersive and interactive digital experiences and performances; and discovering thought-provoking exhibitions while being inspired and getting involved in debates about digital culture that affect us all.
Fun and playful, yet balanced with timely debate, the biennial international festival of digital culture returned for its fifth year, as artists, creative technologists and visitors converged in the city of Lincoln to experience an extraordinary showcase of digital creativity that gave audiences something to think about.
Popular installations included ELEOS, produced by Threshold Studios in collaboration with Ashley James Brown and Bernadette Russell, and Funded through the Nesta Amplified programme and in partnership with the Campaign Against Living Miserably, was inspired by the rise in common mental health disorders facing us all. The 16bit arcade game, played in the real and virtual world, encouraged audiences to try their hand at this narrative game where kindness is key, and by helping others you can help yourself.
Artist Akeelah Bertram’s Return gave Lincoln visitors a chance to connect with audiences in Brighton through an interactive installation of parallel portals, combining audience gestures with audio-visual responses, to create a sense of presence between the two separate locations and reconnecting people to reawaken connectedness.
Layers of projections and screens created a transient cube of images in Lincoln Drill Hall in Small Global by D-FUSE. The immersive installation visualising data around global consumption and environmental degradation encouraged meaningful reflection on the unique ecological value of planet Earth.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Seers’ celebrated piece, Care(less) used Virtual Reality technology to give audiences the opportunity to feel what it might be like to be in the body of an older person. In this 360degree film work, the artist explores the hallucinatory effect of VR. Audiences were drawn into a state of the aged: a state in which we can quickly become invisible; shining a light on attitudes to ageing and the nature of relationships centred on care.
Frequency International Festival of Digital Culture and Threshold Studios Co-Director, Uzma Johal MBE, said:
“Culture is hugely important for a city and art in public spaces gives people the opportunity to be curious, often leaving a lasting impression. Lincoln is a city that is embracing culture and digital and we are delighted to have been back in Lincoln for the fifth iteration of Frequency, working with our partners to deliver this thought-provoking event as this beautiful, historic place looks to the future and stands proud.
“For 2019 we entered a new and exciting phase for Frequency. With the same ingredients as previous years but with a new shorter, sharper rhythm the programme was playful yet poignant as everyone was welcomed to explore and debate current issues and conversations with hope, optimism and a celebration of all things digital. We are also grateful to our phenomenal family of Frequency artists and contributors this year, demonstrating the wealth of creative talent out there, who are equally committed to making sure their work reaches beyond the gallery space and into the terrain of everyday spaces and people.”
‘Disruption = Cultural Reinvention’ was the theme for 2019, with a programme that tackled some of society’s greatest debates – from the environmental to the personal – and a new narrative, which was weaved throughout the festival as it responded to the changing city in a global and national context.
The international ambition of Frequency International Festival of Digital Culture and the festival’s producers Threshold Studios, is to be an agent of change. Harnessing the power of culture and creativity to have a social impact, championing hope and positive societies and places to reach democratically and positively impact people economically.
Samantha Lindley, Co-Director of Frequency said:
“Digital touches everyone in every walk of life in some way and we wanted to embed that spirit of openness and equality into the festival experience. Our festival covers all artforms and the people of Lincoln did us proud, once again grabbing hold of the events and moments happening throughout the festival, which is exactly what we wanted. This year we used new areas of the city as the stage for our festival, feeling like a tourist in your own town gives you the opportunity to rediscover your city; and what a city it is.”
Frequency, a biennial festival, has evolved into a unique, innovative offering, connecting artists and audiences in exciting new ways. Since 2011, it has been committed to nurturing the next generation of creative talent to develop skills and connect to industry in a way that is meaningful and mutually beneficial for students, graduates, volunteers, businesses and employers.
Produced by Threshold Studios, the festival is rooted in the city of Lincoln and driven by a dynamic city-wide collaboration. Frequency 2019, a free and accessible festival open to all, was supported by The University of Lincoln, Arts Council England, City of Lincoln Council, Lincoln BIG and Siemens.
A huge thank you goes to everyone who visited Frequency this year, to the festival’s partners, funders, artists and volunteers. Without them, this festival would not be possible.
In 2021 Frequency will be 10 years old. Discussions are already underway as Threshold Studios prepares for the exciting 10th anniversary of the festival in Lincoln in October 2021, considering a theme that will continue to inspire, challenge and resonate with society.