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Hack the Barbican: A playground of arts, technology and entrepreneurship
Comedy Lab: Human vs Robot. A session at Hack The Barbican by Tiernan Douieb, Andrew O'Neill and RoboThespian. Photo: ©Siddharth Khajuria.

LONDON.- Throughout August 2013 the Barbican foyers become home to 100 discipline-bending installations, performances, workshops and discussions for Hack the Barbican, a new collaboration between artists, technologists and entrepreneurs produced by The Trampery in association with the Barbican.

Hack the Barbican sees site-specific projects hijack areas of the Barbican’s interior and turn them into games, performances and installations run by theatre performers, computer scientists, sculptors, hardware hackers, teachers, musicians and everything in between.

The programme features coding, soldering, painting and fabrication in specially created hack-spaces in the Barbican foyers while even the Barbican’s publicity screens and audio announcement system may be prone to unusual behaviour.

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.

Projects in the programme include Penthouse 4C, a half-size replica of the Barbican Estate’s largest apartment reconstructed in the central foyer, confusing notions of private and public space whilst providing an iconic stage for workshops and performances; Unmoored, a weather station installed on the roof beaming data to screens throughout the centre to transform the Barbican into an airship in motion; meanwhile the Barbican’s lower level cloakroom will become the Ministry of Measurement whose bureaucratic functionaries will send members of the public scurrying off with instructions to recover data from around the centre and bring it back to be filed and processed.

Gini Simpson, Head of Learning & Participation, Creative Learning at the Barbican said “Hack the Barbican is an exciting opportunity for the Barbican to create a platform for creative entrepreneurship, allowing the Centre’s interior to be re-envisioned and re-interpreted in new and innovative ways. This is also a great chance for the Barbican to strengthen ties and cultivate working relationships with its creative neighbours in Tech City and beyond, building on the Barbican’s long history of working with organisations and communities across east London.”

Charles Armstrong, Director of The Trampery said “With the landscape for culture and the arts undergoing its greatest change for a century we have a historic opportunity to pioneer new models. This is the starting point for Hack the Barbican. Not only is it London’s largest ever collaboration between artists and technologists, it also tears up the rule book about how a major arts event is organised and resourced. Hack the Barbican is a taste of what can happen when we unleash the entrepreneurial energy of a new generation of artists and innovators.”

Members of the public are welcome to visit Hack the Barbican seven days a week during the Barbican’s usual opening hours. There’ll be chances to visit work in progress, experience completed projects, watch performances, join talks and meet the makers. Some projects are live for the whole month, others for shorter periods. Special events and workshops will put children and young people at the heart of the action.

Full programme and schedule:

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