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Festival Artists Announced 

NEoN Digital Arts Festival 10th-13th November 2021

Wired Women* 

WARNING: This article contains strong language


Under the theme ‘Wired Women*’, NEoNs annual festival will look to address the digital gender divide and highlight the contribution of female and nonbinary artists in shaping the digital and technology-driven arts sector. Its 4-day festival will be a hybrid mix of online and physical exhibitions, interventions, performances and talks celebrating new and past works by women and nonbinary artists. 

NEoN has invited female and nonbinary artists from across the world to investigate how we can bridge the digital gender divide in today’s world, how to connect our communities better and highlight the contribution of female, non-binary artists and technologists in shaping our digital and technology-driven lives. 

‘Wired Women*’ is inspired by the book of the same name by Lynn Cherny. Written in 1996, it is a collection of essays written by women looking at what women were doing on the internet. As today it reflected the complexities of our society, with just about every topic talked about; love, relationships, censorship, gender, including its hostilities. Sadly 24 years on, the anonymous online hostility still exists and is mostly directed at women. As digital transformations continue, they will provide new avenues for empowerment, contributing to greater gender equality, giving all complete access to opportunities, greater access to knowledge and platforms for creativity. d
This years programme has been co-curated with Artist/curator Ailie Rutherford. Ailie is well known for her work in exploring potential applications of new and emerging technologies within feminist and community currency. We are very pleased to announce the artists for 2021:
Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle
Padmini Ray Murray
Fannie Sosa
Rosana Cade
Roxana Vilk
Holly White
Rifke Sadleir
Camille Baker
Helen Pritchard
Femke Snelting 
Shannon McRae
Camara Taylor
Lee Weinberg
hidden route & Hayley Blakeman

* Inclusive of Trans and Intersex women, as well as non-binary and gender fluid people who are comfortable in a space that centres the experience of women.

Activities will begin in the first week of November, gearing up for the full festival programme over 10th-13th November 2021. Our full detailed programme will be released in the coming weeks. 

ARTISTS INFORMATION

We are very excited to be working with artist/curator Ailie Rutherford to help develop the programme and facilitate exploratory workshops. Well known for her work in exploring potential applications of new and emerging technologies within feminist and community currency, Rutherford launched the very successful project The People’s Bank of Govanhill. A long term social art project on feminist economics and community currency. A recurring feature of her work is the use of a playful and creative visual process to engage people in conversations about the social and economic landscape. 

Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle have created multi-media art projects about love, sex, and queer ecologies together since 2002. Annie was a sex worker from 1973 to 1995 and morphed into a feminist performance artist and sex educator. In 1994, Beth became a professor of sculpture and intermedia at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she still teaches and directs the E.A.R.T.H. Lab. These days the duo make environmental films with an ecosexual gaze; they also create theatre, performance art, eco-activism, and produce symposiums and workshops. Their Wedding to the Earth and the Ecosex Manifesto launched the Ecosex Movement in 2008. Notably, they were official documenta 14 artists, received a 2019 Eureka Fellowship, and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship. Their new book, Assuming the Ecosexual Position—the Earth as Lover, available at the University of Minnesota Press, chronicles their epic love story and art/life adventures. 

Padmini Ray Murray's research-led practice focuses on challenging acts of infrastructural and algorithmic violence and creating alternative digital spaces and imaginations that are characterised by feminist values, specifically ethics of care. To explore the possibilities of manifesting these spaces, Padmini founded Design Beku, a design and digital collective, that aims to dismantle expectations created by market-driven notions of design by following design justice principles, that advocate designing with, and not for. Padmini's work, both individually and with the collective, is invested in creating contextually relevant and nuanced artefacts that communicate complex concepts simply, playfully and with a sense of joy. 

image of Reclaiming Our Times by Padmini Ray Murry
Image Credit: Reclaiming Our Times (2021), Padmini Ray Murry

Fannie Sosa is an afro-sudaka activist, artist, and pleasure scholar, currently doing a France-Brasil co-directed PhD called Twerk/Torque: Anti Colonial Strategies for Thriving and Surviving in Web 2.0 Times. They create mixed media knowledge packages that span performance/video installations / circular talks / extended workshops, using pleasure and its transmission as a radical act of resistance for an embodied afro-diasporic evolutionary praxis. Their written work is set up to question binary epistemicides, scientific and institutional racism, and sex economical inequalities. They have been featured at the Tate Modern (UK),  MOAD Miami (US), le Centre Pompidou (FR), the Broad Museum (US), Wiener Festwochen (AU), Nitéroi’s MAC (BR), IMG Gallery (UK),  and Museo Reina Sofía(ES), among others. Sosa has collaborated with Tabita Rezaire, Navild Acosta, Bearcat, Miss Boogie, Ana Pi, and Julien Creuzet. Sosa’s current projects involve Pleasure is Power, a multimedia conference around healing bass, sexual autonomy and oshunality, and Black Power Naps, a series of non-mixed restful spaces around the world, in collaboration with Navild Acosta. They use their gender studies degree to pop their pussy even more severely than before. Fannie Sosa currently lives and works between Europe and South-America. 

Rosana Cade is a Glasgow based non-binary artist. Whilst the form of their work varies and emerges in response to the specific context or inquiry they are engaging with, it is rooted in queer discourse and straddles performance, live art, film, and activism. Almost all of their work is collaborative, and takes place in different contexts including theatres, galleries, urban public spaces, nightclubs and cabaret settings. For the past ten years Rosana has been touring their work across the UK and Europe with a range of organisations including the National Theatre in London, at Summerhall as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 and MIS and British Council Showcase 2019, Contact Theatre - Manchester, the Arches in Glasgow, Fierce Festival, Gessnerrallee in Zurch, Teatro Maria Matos in Lisbon, Frascati in Amsterdam, Kampnagel in Hamburg, Tanzquartier in Vienna and Gorki in Berlin. Rosana created their acclaimed interactive participatory performance, ‘Walking:Holding’ in 2011 and has continued to tour this work to over 40 locations, working with local participants wherever it's presented. In 2016 Rosana collaborated with filmmakers Claire Nolan and Charlie Cauchi to make a creative documentary about the project, funded by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Arts Council England. Rosana is also co-founder of Buzzcut - Glasgow who support live art and experimental performance in Glasgow with a strong community focused ethic. They have an ongoing collaborative practice with their life partner Ivor MacAskill as Cade & MacAskill.

Film still from Walking Holding by Cade & MacAskill
Image Credit: Walking Holding, Rosanna Cade

Roxana Vilk is a multi-disciplinary British/Iranian artist and performer working across genres, in music, film, and live performance. Her creative practise often explores the themes of human rights, cultural identity, heritage, inclusion and migration. She has been commissioned to create work for MTV World, Amnesty International, BBC, Al Jazeera English, British Council, Commonwealth Games, Literature across Frontiers and We the Curious. She is currently an Expanded Performance Fellow at Bristol and Bath Creative R + D, exploring ways in which new tech can support expanding performances in music and theatre. Circle/دایره is a collaborative project between Roxana Vilk/Vilk Collective and Squidsoup exploring themes of inclusion, immersive experiences and shared spaces. This project considers themes around liveness, togetherness, trust and empathy through an iterative, playful approach with an aim to unlock new experiences for audiences in the co-creation and composition of new and exciting work. 

Holly White is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Glasgow. She works primarily in installation, film, digital and text, utilising handmade craft processes alongside computer-based elements. Her work blends factual narratives with speculative science fiction. Recent solo exhibitions include Cordova, Barcelona; Almanac, Turin; and Jupiter Woods, London, and her work has been included in group presentations at Tate Britain, Bologna Museum of Modern Art, Serpentine Galleries and David Roberts Art Foundation. She is currently producing a video game. Holly also works with schools and community groups and has recently produced work with young people at Rumpus Rooms, Glasgow; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh; Hospitalfield House, Arbroath and Serpentine Galleries, London.

Installation by Holly White 
Image Credit: Installation by Holly White 

Rifke Sadleir is a creative technologist and one half of art direction and digital design studio, DXR Zone, alongside Daniel Baragwanath. Rifke’s work encompasses design, web development and illustration, often in collaboration with artists and clients across the arts, fashion and music. Rifke is a member of collective Digi-Gxl, an inclusive, 24/7 global community, support network and agency championing womxn, trans folk, intersex and non-binary people. Rifke’s clients include Google, Selfridges, Depop, Converse, Dazed, The Face, The Future Laboratory, Burberry, Climate in Colour, Bog Magazine, Beirut Re—Store, Keep Hush, Warp Records and Universal. https://rif.ke/ https://dxr.zone/ 

Camille Baker is an artist-performer/researcher/curator within various art forms: immersive experiences, participatory performance and interactive art, mobile media art, tech fashion/soft circuits/DIY electronics, responsive interfaces and environments, and emerging media curating. Maker of participatory performance and immersive artwork, Baker develops methods to explore expressive non-verbal modes of communication, extended embodiment and presence in real and mixed reality and interactive art contexts, using XR, haptics/ e-textiles, wearable devices and mobile media. She has an ongoing fascination with all things emotional, embodied, felt, sensed, visceral, physical, and relational.  

Helen Pritchard & Femke Snelting from The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest. (TITiPI) is a trans-practice gathering of activists, artists, engineers and theorists initiated by Miriyam Aouragh, Seda Gürses, Helen Pritchard and Femke Snelting. Together we convene communities to hold computational infrastructures to account and to create spaces for articulating what technologies in the “public interest” might be when “public interest” is always in the making. We develop tools from feminisms, queer theory, computation, intersectionality, anti-coloniality, disability studies, historical materialism and artistic practice to generate currently inexistant vocabularies, imaginaries and methodologies. TITiPI functions as an infrastructure to intensify these practices and to establish new ways in which policymaking around technology is organized in the public interest. 

Hidden Route is a theatre company based in Dundee and work across Scotland. They explore the unexpected and collaborate with people to make incredible things happen through exciting, engaging and empowering participatory theatre experiences and performance. Gemma Nicol & Lisa Williamson are co-Artistic directors of hidden route. Collectively they have been working within the participation sector for over twenty years.

COMMISSIONED WRITERS

Shannon McRae is an American Professor of English and Director of Film Studies at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She teaches literature, film, mythology, religion, queer theory, and popular culture. She is interested in bodies, pleasures, the semi-permeability of the boundaries by which we customarily define self and other, technologies of ecstasy, and tracing the cultural stories that instruct humanity in their use. She is currently writing a book about non-mainstream religions, spiritual tourism, and pop-culture paganism in Jazz Age America. 

Camara Taylor is an artist and _____ who lives and works in Glasgow. They work with their various selves, collaborators and organisations to produce still and moving images, texts and other things // Recent projects depart from rumour, gossip and ambivalent readings of historical matter | they tend towards the excesses of dominant discourse(s) and lower frequencies of objection - - in the context of ____. 

Lee Weinberg is a Senior Lecturer and Tutor at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London (Culture & Enterprise), and at the Royal College of Art (School of Communication). She also works as a senior lecturer and digital strategy consultant at Shenkar College of Engineering Design and Art (Ramat Gan, Israel). Lee is the Editor in Chief of Visual Resources Journal (Taylor and Francis). An active researcher and curator, Lee is interested in the intersections between culture, curation and technology. Her research looks at alternative historical narratives through which to re-examine cultural paradigms, deriving from colonialism, imperialism and systemic patriarchy, that define disciplinary divisions between art, design and technology; interested in the intersections of curating and the construction of cultural identity, as these are manifested within contemporary, digital spaces.  

Feature Image: Performance by Fannie Sosa

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