May 20, 2011

McArndale Rubbishthing

FutureEverything 2011 launched itself last night with free vodka, more free vodka and a smattering of free vodka.

I'm covering this year's festival from a non-geek perspective, and so far, I'm safe. The launch was friendly, personal and, when it came to FE founder Drew Hemmett talking about arts funding, thoughtful.

FE, you see, got a wad of cash while places like the Greenroom are closing: not for the first time, Drew's speech reflected Manchester's pain with great sensitivity.

FutureEverything has its own base this year. It's at Four Piccadilly Place, which you will spot if you stand in Piccadilly Gardens, stand on the tram tracks and choo-choo your way to the train station. You will spot the FE building as the track falls to the right as it takes you towards UMIST.

The launch was a great chance to catch The Data Dimension, a meditation on data visualisation that you can see in the space for the next ten days. I'll finish this blog post with some pictures from that exhibition.

Meanwhile, I have two days of being afraid of all things geeky as I become a proper FutureEverything conference delegate. Pop this in your bookmarks. I'll keep you updated, dear reader, but if I am arrested within the next 48 hours for feasting on the brains of unsuspecting computer scientists, you know it hasn't gone well.

This is Nathalie Miebach's chemistry-set take on a blizzard, taken from meteorological data

This is a map of Iraq expressed as the number of news stories in the Guardian, courtesy of the BBC.

Adam Nieman's morphing map of views about Manchester. I didn't quite capture a bubble that swung across the landscape declaring that the Arndale is rubbish.

Twelve still-life paintings analysed for their nutritional content by Nadeem Haidary. Van Gogh's onions provided a nice little punchline (oo-er missus).

Here's about half of the launch room. During a talk from someone from the Arts Council (probably: I wasn't listening), I set off a really loud exhibit and interrupted the speech.

Interior Design: Music For The Bionic Ear by Robin Fox. This is bloody brilliant and I could have listened to this for ages.

Beautiful and sinister, Kimchi and Chips' Lit Tree is a tree that lights up as you waggle your vodka and cranberry juice underneath a camera.

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