Culture Shift Russia: Art Lab

russian and english (with translation)

This year British Council Russia joined the international Culture Shift programme which aims at the partnership development between creative and digital technologists. The first event in the framework of this programme was a weekend Art Lab that took place at Strelka from 27th to 29th September 2013.

The event was a 3-day hackathon that encouraged open collaboration with people who have different skills to develop creative ideas using open data provided by three cultural institutions. The programme culminated with a showcase of prototypes developed over the weekend and a chance to win a variety of prizes, including the grant from the British Council and partners.

Participants of Art Lab:

• coders, hackers and creative technologists
Culture Shift Russia: Art Lab provided them with an opportunity to meet, make and prototype with a new group of people who could add a whole new dimension to your work. At this event we had data sets available from 3 Russian cultural organisations. The cultural organisations released this data exclusively for this event and thus provided the opportunity to play and prototype with this new information.

• Artists and creative entrepreneurs (musicians, designers, film makers, festival managers, curators etc.)
Culture Shift Russia: Art Lab was particularly useful for artists who are interested in technology and how it can impact, influence or corroborate their work. Programming skills were not required to take part, only creative ideas and willingness to share them with a group of like minded individuals.

• Cultural professionals (representatives of museums, libraries, educational institutions, theatres, cinema halls, organisers of the events etc)
Cultural organisations understand the importance of technology in promoting the work they do, but this process is often a transactional one, commissioning someone to create a website or an app. Culture Shift showed a new way of working with technology and technologists that we believe would produce better results for your organisation. We have asked a handful of cultural organisations to provide their own data for this event. The technologists and artist were prototyping and creating with that data, showcasing some of the previously hidden opportunities that their data holds.

The participants of the Art Lab worked together with invited experts: organiser of the FutureEverything festival Tom Higham, director of MadLab Dave Mee, researcher of CultureLqab Tom Schofield and founder of MIGZ festival Alexey Shcherbina.

FutureEverything is an internationally recognised R&D hub for digital culture which presents industry conferences, innovation projects, artworks and live experiences showcasing a digital future. For almost twenty years FutureEverything has been at the heart of the digital debate, inspiring thinkers, city makers, developers, coders, artists and musicians to experiment and collaborate. In September 2014 FutureEverything took place in Moscow.

Tom Higham - Executive Producer at FutureEverything. He was leading and facilitating the Art Lab. You can find more information about Tom here.

Tom Schofield - artist, researcher and Ph.d candidate. He studies and teaches at Culture Lab, Newcastle, UK. He also works as a freelance interaction designer and developer and frequently works with other artists as a collaborator or consultant technologist. His research interests and art practice centre around materiality in media art and design practice.

Recent self initiated projects include Neurotic Armageddon Indicator, a wall clock for the end of the world, ‘null by morse‘, an installation with vintage military equipment and iPhones, and (with Guy Schofield) a video installation which warps computer models using the google translate api.

Dave Mee - founder of MadLab, the UK’s largest Maker space and in operation since 2009. He teaches Arduino and facilitates hack days and creative technology projects in collaboration with other agencies around the region, from the council to universities. Before founding MadLab, Dave has been a research fellow in IoT technologies at BBC R&D, an artist exhibiting at Ars Electronica and festivals around the UK, a video game designer and a dot-com entrepreneur. Dave loves the potential for the creative application of technology to have real social impact and sees this as the foundation for his many interests.


Culture Shift Russia: Art Lab, commenced with an informal drink. .

From 10 a.m. on 28th September to 16 p.m. on 29th September Art Lab was open for the participants all day long. The participants worked in teams, listened to talks given by the invited experts, made presentations, visited a number of workshops and even watched a film. The also had an opportunity to use a 3D printer or makerbot.

Art Lab also held a sleep over. The participants could stay at Strelka overnight.