Fierce Festival and Millennium Point to stage arts event

Funding granted for Cyborg arts programme.

Millennium Point and Fierce Festival have been awarded £15,000 by Arts Council England to support a series of innovative arts events this autumn.

The award, from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme, allows a series of talks, short films and live performances to take place exploring the notion of the cyborg in contemporary culture.

Matt Andrews, Project Manager at Millennium Point explains: “A cyborg is a being with organic and cybernetic parts. We have a popular cartoonish idea of cyborgs as being like The Terminator but in reality many people live their lives with the help of technology. Our programme will look at the innovative ways in which body-based technology is being used now.”

Cyborg Days – curated by Fierce Festival – will see many of the UK’s leading cyborg experts come to Birmingham to discuss the cultural and scientific impact of cyborg cultures. Guest performer will include Neil Harbisson from the Cyborg Foundation, who claims to be the world’s first officially recognised cyborg. He will present a audio-visual performance via the Eyeborg, a mechanical device surgically implanted into his brain that allows him to ‘hear’ colours vibrating in his skull. Harbisson – who suffers from achromatopsia (a condition which makes him see the world in greyscale) – uses the technology in order to have a bodily response to the colours of the world in his everyday life.

There will also be a programme of cyborg-themed films, curated by Kino 10.

The programme of events will take place as part of Fierce Festival, Birmingham’s festival of boundary-pushing live art, this October. It builds upon Millennium Point’s Arts Strategy, which aims to place the organisation as one of the city’s major centres for the arts, science, technology and digital culture.

The festival’s artistic director Laura McDermott, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Millennium Point on this project – it will be a major collaboration for us. The Cyborg Foundation are asking urgent questions about what it means to be human as technology evolves and advances around us. Fierce is here to champion new art movements and we are delighted to be the only UK dates where you can see the Cyborg Foundation performing live in 2014.”

Peter Knott, area director of Arts Council England, added: “I’m really pleased that through our Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme the Arts Council is able to support Millennium Point’s ambition to introduce the arts into its programming. The Art Council’s aim is to invest in artistic activities that engage and inspire people, and I think the line-up of live performances, films and talks at Cyborg Days will be a great way for audiences at Millennium Point and Fierce Festival to explore how science and technology is changing the way people experience the world around them.”

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