Boffins and bohos to brainstorm at the Barbican

Barbican Silk Street London EC2Y 8DT July 2013 ©

TO CREATE something of quality in technology, design or art within a day would be top brainstorming. The Barbican’s working on it.

The cultural centre on Hackney’s southern fringe has been bubbling with ideas lately and now it is to host the first London version of something entitled Rhizome’s Seven on Seven conference, which has brought together, the publicity states, “luminary figures at the forefront of art and technology to create innovative new projects together in a single day”. [Let’s hope the results are not as clapped-out as the phraseology. —  Ed.]

PR pic
Seven on Seven: Aaron Swartz

Over 24 hours, seven artists will work with seven technologists to develop something new. The seven pairs will then present their creations to the public.

The idea derives from a New York event that started in 1966, when artists such as Robert Rauschenberg were paired with scientists, among them Billy Kluver.

Participants in New York have included the founders of Foursquare and Tumblr and the tragic internet activist Aaron Swartz (1986–2013) as well as artist Taryn Simon.  The London version aims to demonstrate the similarities between the two cities’ art and technology scenes, a great idea given the nearness of Shoreditch, with its Silicon Roundabout and Tech City.

Leonora Thomson, Barbican audiences and development director, said: “Seven on Seven illustrates the Barbican’s growing commitment to interdisciplinary digital work, located, as we are, so near to the extraordinary local tech communities.”

She’ll be hoping to emulate the success of the New York sessions, which have sold out over the last four years.

As for the word “rhizome”, the definition embedded here says it roughly means something that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.

The word is now used in a metaphysical or intellectual sense, although there seems to be some dispute about ownership of the word because scientists want to hold on to it. Two speakers of Academese, that alienating postmodern language, argue their case here.

Great things can be hoped for from Seven on Seven, although it seems worrying that the full lineup of participants will not be revealed until 1 October 2013. Even creativity benefits from planning.

* Seven on Seven will be at Milton Court, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Silk Street, Barbican EC2Y 8DT, Sunday 27 October 2013, noon-6pm, £25 to £95 (sic) .

Hamish Scott 060913

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. Picture shows flats in the centre of the Barbican complex of buildings.

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