Connect the Dots – 20th April 2013

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Connect the Dots, an exciting visual arts and music exhibition took place at the Old Grain Warehouse on 20th April 2013. TBC was lucky enough to interview one of it’s curators, Abdullah Al-wali. Read on for the low down on this event:

Connect the Dots is coming to Sheffield. Tell our readers what this project is all about?

Connect The Dots is a celebration of new media and digital technology through a series of inter-disciplinary events. The digital age has made multi-media collaborations easier and more accessible, our aim is to showcase the best of these projects whilst re-emphasising the importance of off-line communal experience and human interaction.

Connect The Dots explore the visual arts, photography, technology and music scenes – inviting them to exhibit, perform, educate, inspire and share their artistic visions through solo, collaborative and interactive exhibitions.

This year, our events will take place in Sheffield, however, we wish to grow and host events in other cities then eventually other countries. We intend on making each event a strong reflection of that particular city’s contemporary artistic scenes that belong there and inspire the multitude of inter-connected working artists.

Our first event is on April 20th 2013 at The Grain Warehouse in Victoria Quays, Sheffield – a beautiful grade 2 industrial listed building. There will be solo & collaborative exhibitions from Shaun Bloodworth, Mattias Jones, Elliot Holbrow & Joel Barton, Tommy Marshall, Paul Boardman & many more along with pop-up shops from Warp Records, Bleep.com, Now Then magazine, Hantu Collective etc.

Why do you feel that this is important at the moment?

I think it’s important for visual arts and digital multimedia to bring people together in a physical space because as technology gets more sophisticated it’s increasingly more on-line based. Therefore having it in the real world engages people more, sparks conversation and hopefully will inspire them to be more creative. I hope that the Connect The Dots events will also invite interesting collaborations between different artists. For example, with the help of Arts Council England I was able to comission Elliot Holbrow & Joel Barton to make a collaborative zine for the April 20th Event: http://vimeo.com/65133110

You have some really exciting visual arts exhibitions in store, which are you most looking forward to and why?

It’s difficult to say as everybody involved is incredibly talented with his or her own unique style. I’m really looking forward to Mattias Jones’s ‘Production Line’ installation as it incorporates intricate patterns drawn by robots along with live art from him and a giant light box.

What about music? Will there be any live performances on the day?

Throughout the day there will be DJ sets from the likes of Beneath, Squarehead, Walter Ego & many more. Unfortunately there wont be any live music as we have noise issues due to the flats above the venue!

The only live performance will be from Trans/Human. They will be performing ‘Disposal’, a durational work in which the central performative focus is a repeated action that results in the production of a physical and musical structure. Throughout this piece, one of the performers will be wired up to a TENS machine, which will in turn be connected to the audio devices, acting as a body conduit to the sculptural work that’s unfolding. As the work progresses, the performers will become engulfed within the tent-like structure. As the barrier between performer and audience becomes increasingly physical, the composition will invariably alter, displaying the sonic and physical possibilities of TransCutenous technology.

How long did it take to organise such a big event?

I had the idea since summer 2012 but didn’t want to rush into it until I was sure exactly what it was going to be. I started organising it officially from January 2013 and it has been an on-going process since. I’ve been fortunate to receive advice and support from Deborah Egan – she has a wealth of experience in the creative industries and her fantastic project ‘The Port Of Sheffield’ is also an official partner of CTD.

The venue for the event is The Grain Warehouse, Victoria Quays. What made you choose this venue?

There were a few venues I checked out prior to the grain warehouse but once I stumbled across it (thanks to Mattias Jones) it became the obvious choice for the exhibition. It’s a lovely building and every artists involved was keen to exhibit in there. It’s also right by the canal – a great part of Sheffield that’s massively under-used.

Techno Breakfast Club are very happy that you have chosen Sheffield to host this event – what made you pick the Steel City?

Well I’m from Sheffield so it made sense to start the project here. I know a lot of talented artists from the north that deserve to have their work exhibited and there’s a lot of interesting disused spaces to work with in Sheffield.

Have you been pleased with the response from local artists and businesses?

Definitely! Thankfully it’s a project that seems to have interested a lot of people so I can’t wait to see how it develops over the next few years.

Who inspires the Connect the Dots crew?

There’s too much to mention so I’ll have list my current top three :

Earnest Endeavours (www.earnestendeavours.com)

Troika (http://troika.uk.com/)

Ken Robinson (http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html)

What’s next for Connect the Dots? Any more events in the pipeline?

There are a lot more events being planned for Connect The Dots as we speak, there will definitely be at least two more in Sheffield before the end of the year but I can’t give too much away right now. I hope that the project will get better each time and in 2014 I plan to move it to other cities in the UK and possibly abroad too! Watch this space and check our website at www.ctdots.co.uk.

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