Creativate – Art, tech and creativity converge at National Arts Festival 2018

The Creativate Digital Arts Festival, which will take place at the National Arts Festival from 28 June to 1 July in Grahamstown aims to bring art, creativity and technology together through a unique experience.

Numerous workshops, installations, talks and performances will be open to visitors open to engaging in topics such as AI in the art space, animating futurist cartoon characters and exploring algorithms in performance art.

“Creativate seeks to explore the space where creativity, innovation and technology converge. It’s a playground for artists and audiences interested in how the digital age is helping to bring our imaginations to life, and who want to experience the creative tools of the future,” says NAF festival chief executive and co-curator Tony Lankester.

Creativate lectures

Some of the lectures that will be taking place at Creativate this year include:

  • Monika Bielskyte — Designing sci-fi worlds for the entertainment industry
  • Brett Loubser — Can AI replace artists?
  • Tom Gray — The worlds and opportunities created by virtual and augmented reality
Monika Bielskyte

Creativate performances

Festival goers can enjoy a Swiss production of Hamlet that’s been written and directed by Boris Nikitin. This contemporary production features a mix of experimental documentary play and musical theatre.

Doghouse, a 20-minute virtual reality play from Denmark that is experienced through headsets, will be another one of the performances on offer.

Creativate workshops

Organisers of the festival have selected workshops that are closer to playrooms than laboratories.

If These Walls Could Talk, which teaches participants how to use electronics to craft props and touch-sensitive surfaces for theatre productions, and The Games Play Room, which will showcase local computer games that have been designed and developed by the Wits Digital Arts Division, are two of the workshops on offer at the festival this year.

Rhodes University’s Alette Schoon will also be running a workshop on animating afrofuturist cartoon characters in a computer lab, while Thuthukani Ndlovu from Zimbabwe will be leading a poetry hackathon.

Visitors can also expect to hear from artists such as DJ Strat3gyBarry van Zyl, and Freshlyground bass player Josh Hawkes who will be touching on topics such as music’s past, present and future as well as how to produce 10 000 hours of live TV and serve a billion pages of content.

UK-based artist Rebecca Smith will work with local artists to create digital projections that will use the buildings of Grahamstown as a night-time canvas throughout the Festival.

Creativate installations

Installations at the fest will challenge audiences by presenting them with new techniques and approaches to the creative process.

Donald and Wesley Swanepoel’s exhibition, which incorporates a live discussion on Twitter, will explore the theme of #landexpropriation, while Paige Rybko’s exhibition, Self-made, draws a feed from Instagram and presents it in a gallery space.

Terrance Nzuza’s exhibition, Grafitti Hyper Realism, offers ‘live streaming grafitti’, with Finland’s MSHR showcasing an immersive computer music system in which audiences create sounds by moving through a room.

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