Paul Squires, the founder of digital arts mecca imperica.com, invites PHOENIX readers to his latest mashup of tech and creativity
Many universities, I’m delighted to discover, still have Schools of Humanities. It’s “the humanities” that cover so many aspects and qualities of our life – the intangibles, the hard-to-quantify. Covering the visual arts, music, history, philosophy and much more, they help to define who we are, above and beyond the physical.
It’s this big tent of humanity which sprang to mind when I started to plan New Horizons. This one-day event based at the Proud Archivist in East London covers a wide range of disciplines, which overlap, interlock, and compliment each other (sometimes causing friction with each other too). It seems quite strange to me that creative careers, full of Humanities graduates, are so often pigeonholed into one discipline. Great creative directors at ad agencies often find their footing at art school. Publishers often come through an English stream, but not always.
Digital media has mashed all of that up. Now, digital artists, developers, commentators and producers can come from anywhere. Their education might indeed help, but they are going to need access to a broad intellectual pool of humanities theory and practice to get on in their careers. And, that’s where New Horizons comes in.
The Proud Archivist gallery/bar/event mecca. Image: Luke Hayes
The idea behind the event is to bring a wide range of people together in a way which traditional events often fail to do well. Events often pitch themselves as being solely for those in the arts, or in advertising, or in digital, or whatever. That’s too myopic a view for a multidisciplinary world. With New Horizons, we wanted to cast our net far and wide – in terms of both the guest speakers, and the audience that we hope to attract.
We haven’t stopped the innovation at the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter. Rather than be yet another PowerPoint “show and tell”, each speaker will be presenting for 10 minutes each. We shall then throw a discussion out to the floor, asking for comment and criticism on the speaker’s content. We’ll then round up with a Q&A at the end of each session. We’ll have speakers from disciplines including film, the visual arts, theatre, media theory, and even ubiquitous digital currency Bitcoin. We have aimed to offer something for everyone.
There will also be a stall from the brilliant Peckham arts collective Garudio Studiage, and music at the end of the day from chiptune maestro Matt Westcott (who makes music – live – with old computer music simulators) and Meta-eX, whose “live coding” performances have to be seen to be believed – have a listen below.
All in all, I’m hoping that we have a thoughtful, intellectual, critical, and fun day, with a range of speakers and people whose collective insight will be something unique to New Horizons.
I’d love to see you there.
New Horizons takes place on 7th March at The Proud Archivist, London. Tickets cost £87. PHOENIX readers can get 25% off by using the voucher code “phoenix” on checkout. For further information and to book, visit www.imperica.com/newhorizons.