FutureEverything festival: Where we’ll be

Polly Checkland Harding
Image of facial recognition technology at work.

Manchester innovation lab FutureEverything brings back its festival for the 19th year – here’s what’s in store.

It’s hard to say where will be in twenty, or even ten, years’ time. But art, music and tech event FutureEverything is one way of bringing the future a little bit closer – whether by showcasing some of the most progressive art installations and a speculative pop-up city, or by tuning in on Longplayer, a thousand-year long musical composition that still has 985 years left ahead of it. That’s 985 years, folks – it’s hard to even begin to image who’ll be listening to it in 2999. But here, now, from 27 March to 1 April 2014, Manchester’s FutureEverything is imminent – and it’s an event that you won’t want to miss.

3D printing, free facial recognition & a 3-course meal in a petri dish are all on offer

For instance – ever had a (sane) conversation with a lamppost? As part of the festival’s pop-up city, you can – the big difference being that, here, the lamppost will talk back. Sentient street furniture is just one part of City Fictions (29-30 March, 10am-6pm) in Manchester’s new NOMA district; a hypothetical development where witnessing 3D printing, experiencing a free anti-surveillance and facial recognition makeover and manufacturing a 3-course meal in a petri dish is all part of the daily routine. Many of FutureEverything’s other events are taking place inside RNCM, including Lumière by German artist Robert Henk, a new audiovisual live performance where three white lasers draw a succession of ephemeral objects, while the data used to draw them is translated into audible frequencies (28 March, 8pm-10pm).

Also for the ears is the world premiere of Martin Messier’s Projectors (30 March, 8pm-10pm), which creates sounds from everyday objects – such as alarm clocks, pens and sewing machines – thus reinventing their function. FutureEverything thinks about changes in how we perceive things, with scale and distance being the focus of Emmanuel Biard and David Leonard’s The Hall (29-31 March, 2pm-8pm), a new commission for the festival. The Hall uses two gigantic, circular and flexible mirrors to bemuse the eye and invites the audience to put themselves in the path of its light beams. The installation also features a live performance from electronic composer Evian Christ (of Kanye’s Yeezus fame), presenting his work in a more formal, concert setting for the first time (30 March, 6.30pm-7pm).

So, the future can be a murky, mercurial thing. But FutureEverything also offers a more straightforward way of predicting your own fate – simply by taking its rightful place in your diary.

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