NEoN Festival launches ahead of UK City of Culture decision

Dundee’s last arts festival before the winner of UK City of Culture 2017 is announced launches this weekend.

NEoN Digital Arts Festival is in its fifth year and brings together the city’s art and digital technology communities – a unique interaction that is one of the strengths of Dundee’s City of Culture bid.

The festival features audio art in a swimming pool, live dancers interacting with digital projections, and an art exhibition based on reclaimed demolition materials from the £1 billion Dundee Waterfront regeneration project.

NEoN Digital Arts Festival runs 3 - 9 November in various locations around Dundee.

The winner of UK City of Culture will be announced on Wednesday 20 November.

Clare Brennan, NEoN Festival organiser and Abertay University lecturer, said: “With the winner of UK City of Culture 2017 being announced so soon, we’re delighted to be putting on such a strong and distinctive programme for the NEoN Digital Arts Festival.

“Dundee is a really unique city, and the interactions between our creative communities have helped create this festival – and give us a glimpse of what we can all achieve, across our entire city, if we win City of Culture status.”

She added: “NEoN will be bringing members of the community together to create audio which is then played underwater in our Olympia swimming pool, discussing digital museums with the V&A at Dundee team and V&A Game Designer in Residence Sophia George, and showcasing the city-wide film project Wha’s Dundee.

“And for our finale, Forever Falling Nowhere, we’re taking inspiration from the Scottish invention of the kaleidoscope and reclaiming an industrial space to mix live dancers from Smallpetitklein, digital animation, projection mapping and audio-reactive visuals.

“It’s going to be a very special week of new art and performance.”

Stewart Murdoch, Director of Dundee’s City of Culture bid and Director of Leisure and Communities at Dundee City Council, said: “Dundee has put forward an extremely strong bid to be named UK City of Culture 2017, and superb festivals like NEoN demonstrate how our city successfully brings together different artistic communities to create new, exciting performances and workshops that are open to everyone.

“That focus on benefiting all of our residents is absolutely central to our bid for 2017. Dundee is genuinely at a tipping point where being named UK City of Culture can hugely accelerate our engagement right across the city, opening up new opportunities for many people not yet reached by the arts and culture, improving their lives and raising their aspirations.

“NEoN Digital Arts Festival showcases a lot of what is special and unique about Dundee and I’m delighted to see it growing from strength to strength.”

The key festival themes for 2013 include:

- Technology meets the arts: Forever Falling Nowhere incorporates live dance, digital animation and projection mapping in an industrial space, inspired by the Scottish invention of the kaleidoscope by Sir David Brewster in 1816

- Dundee’s regeneration: Liminal Cities is a new exhibition from up-and-coming artist Francesca Perona, using reclaimed demolition materials from the £1 billion Dundee Waterfront regeneration project, and the Liminal City Lights workshop involves building tiny origami light sculptures, then placing them in the changing urban environment

- Digital meets museums: V&A at Dundee Digital Mash, led by the V&A’s first-ever Game Designer in Residence Sophia George, looking at digital interpretation in the museum world – online, on-site and off-site

- Underwater audio: the Sound Narratives Creative Workshop will create the audio to be played underwater in the Olympia swimming pool at the Wet Sounds performance night

All events are free, but some require advance booking.

For full details please see

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