Hull was in some ways a surprising choice for the 2017 City of culture, however the city is definitely taking the award seriously. This month a conference will be held exploring the different ways that technology are impacting art.
The organisation Digital Utopias who are currently funded by the Arts Council (with some funding from Google) will bring together a host of other arts based organisation and technology related specialists at the Hull Truck Theater on the 20th January.
So what’s happening there? Well there is an extensive programme of events covering all sorts of areas. From showcases of new technologies and debates on a variety of arts related subjects. One interesting exhibition is that of generative literature where the text is actually generated by a computer using a set of formal rules, there is also something that most children will be familiar with – the award winning video game – Minecraft.
All delegates will be able to meet and discuss matters with many famous artists like Thompson and Craighead, Mathew Fernandez and Memo Atken.
The finale is expected to be the immersive digital art piece by the Marshmallow Laser Feast and the Alexandra Whitley Dance company. This has been described by the organizers as a ‘duet between human movement and the digital world’.
The hope is that many people will make use of these unique networking opportunities with artists being able to meet some of the digitally creative businesses that are based in Hull and the surrounding regions. The hope is that Hull will become a hub for digital technologies in the run up and including the 2017 Year of Culture.
There is extensive investment with building already begun on the new Centre for Digital Innovation. This will be called the @TheDock and you’ll find it next to the old dry dock which sits at the mouth of the river Hull. This combined with some new modern office space represents a 13 million pound investment in the city’s infrastructure, which hopes to attract start up digital design firms and already established businesses seeking to locate in a ‘design friendly’ environment.
There is no doubt that Hull feels that technology is an important part of the City of Culture events, especially as they are most likely to bring more employment and investment in the area.
It’s not uncommon now, for areas like Hull to look to completely different areas in order to bring jobs to the area. It was traditionally an industrial town, which has suffered with the fall in manufacturing over the last two decades or so. Jobs related to technology and digital media by their very nature tend to be well-paid and are relatively easy to promote requiring minimal investment in infrastructure. The markets are huge and varied, many companies promote and sell their digital products like this online and can really base themselves in any location as long as there is decent internet access.
It’s an exciting time for Hull and hopefully 2017 will be a real success for the city and bring a welcome boost to an area that has had it’s problems over the years.
Digital Media Correspondent