Posted by on Aug 17, 2013 in Featured |

The Barbican in London (home to the Rain Room earlier this year) is trying something completely different: An open call to lots and lots of creative….whatever. Apparently the more random, the more hack-y the better. It’s on now through the end of August, which means that I’ll have to rely on others to tell me if the reality matches up to the rhetoric.

Here’s the description from the Hack the Barbican website:

Throughout August 2013 we are taking over the Barbican’s cavernous foyer spaces and filling them with 100 discipline-bending installations, performances, workshops and discussions.

A half-size recreation of the Barbican’s biggest penthouse provides a social hub and stage for performances and talks. Site-specific projects are hijacking areas of the Barbican’s brutalist interior and converting them into games, performances and installations. The projects bring together theatre performers, computer scientists, sculptors, hardware hackers, teachers, musicians and everything in between.

Marking a radical departure from conventional arts events Hack the Barbican has been organised without any central curation or commissioning.

Taking inspiration from hacker culture the project has been developed over a period of six months through weekly sessions open to everyone. The project community has grown to 300 people spanning all disciplines, ages and backgrounds. Each project hosted at Hack the Barbican is completely self-resourced, with its creators acting entrepreneurially to secure the materials and skills they need.

Think of it as a slowly growing city that is gradually taking over the Barbican’s public spaces, with many imperfections, but also many moments of unexpected magic.

Here’s the open call (now [mostly] closed):

Calling all artists, startups, musicians, hackers, dancers, film-makers, theatre performers, fashion designers and other creative types. What new work would you develop if you had your own workspace inside the world-famous Barbican Centre for a couple of days, a week or even a whole month?

Now’s your chance! Applications are now invited for project residencies at Hack The Barbican, which will run from 5th to 31st August 2013. No matter if you’re a world-famous artist, a web startup, an engineering student or an accountant who makes things in their spare time. Every project will be considered on the same footing. Projects can be put forward by an individual, an existing group or a newly-formed collaboration.
If the form below doesn’t quite suite your purposes or if some things aren’t clear: simply fill it out as best you can, we can figure out the details later.
We now also organise regular community meetups that offer an open and welcoming space to meet prospective collaborators for August, discuss project ideas, find projects in need of support, and have a tour of the Barbican’s spaces. For details on these meetups see Get Involved.

  • Projects selected for residencies will receive the following:
  • Free workspace at The Barbican
  • Contribute to event planning (if you’re into that)
  • Informal mentoring and technical support
  • Help finding additional skills and facilities your project needs
  • Promotion to high level media
  • Video and photographic documentation
  • Opportunities to perform and exhibit
  • Participation in  workshops, discussions and parties
  • Involvement in future exhibitions and events

Projects will be assessed on the following criteria:
Projects should involve the creation of a something new. It’s fine to build on an existing project but there needs to be a significant element of experimentation and new development.
50% of the residencies will be offered to projects that involve a specific “hack” of The Barbican. This can be interpreted broadly including hacks of:

  • Barbican architecture (eg lifts, cloakroom)
  • Barbican infrastructure (eg internal Tannoy system, CCTV)
  • Barbican data

While we’re open to exciting and challenging ideas, please remember that much of the Barbican Centre’s raw customer and other data, system integrity and public safety + security cannot be compromised by proposed projects. If you have any questions re the feasibility of your project, please do get in touch with us.
Preference will be given to projects involving collaborations between people from different disciplines, especially if they haven’t worked together before.
Preference will be given to projects which are open to additional people getting involved during the residency.

Project teams must make a commitment to work onsite throughout the period of their residency.

Limited bursaries may be available to cover materials and equipment (but not travel or living expenses).

Anyone gone? What was it like?

Maybe I’ll set up an Airstream full of perfectly-presented Persian miniature paintings outside the building.